Legalize It: 18+ Drinking with a License

For years now, I have been trying to understand the justification behind preventing American adults who can legally support themselves, make decisions about their own lives and even serve the country, from drinking. And today I finally feel as though I can say it—after all the hours of research projects, presentations on the subject, interviews, getting my bartending/TIPS license and turning 21, my opinion has not changed. While I understand the other side better than ever before, I stand by my decision: No matter whether you are 18, 19 or 20, you should have every right to drink as someone who’s 21.

Yes, it’s not good for you. Yes, it’s dangerous. But making it an illegal, forbidden fruit only drives young adults to find ways to consume more and more recklessly. And while this may not be true of every under-ager, step onto any college campus today and it’s clearly the vast majority.

What I believe in today is putting a system in place that provides young adults the option. Very much like getting a driver’s license, a huge responsibility in its own right, they would need to study the affects of alcohol and safe drinking practices before passing a test in order to get their license. Like a probationary license, if they were caught violating its terms (i.e. over-drinking, drinking while driving, providing for minors) it would be suspended for a time period, depending on the severity of the crime. Obviously if they were caught doing either of the last two in that list, for instance, they would be barred from reapplying for one.

Having a system in place like this though would be a huge step forward toward building a culture of fairness and awareness; one where abusing alcohol every time someone drinks is no longer the norm or expectation. I truly think it would be the best way to give 18-year-olds their rights while still demanding a high level of respect for the substance. Because when you look at the statistics that compare things like our drinking and driving rates to those in other countries with far lower drinking ages, the answer is clear: It’s not the drinker’s age causing the problem, but merely their choice to abuse it.

Anyway, that’s all for now. Agree, or disagree, I don’t really care. This is something I just think needs to change and if you feel the same, I’d love to hear from you.

10 Principles for Success

According to Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater Associates, “All successful people operate by principles that help them be successful. Without principles, you would be forced to react to circumstances that come at you without considering what you value most and how to make choices to get what you want. This would prevent you from making the most of your life.”

Well I don’t know about you, but I don’t want anything preventing me from making the most of my life, so I figured might as well come up with principles of my own. Let me know what you think.

10 Principles for Success

1. Do what ever is going to make you happiest. Take the job. Go on that trip. Spend time with the people you care about. Doing what you love is the pinnacle principle for both life-long happiness and success. It may not always be easy, but it’ll always be worth it. Don’t forget that.

2. See part of yourself in everyone you meet. This is also a big one. With everyone you meet, withhold judgement and instead keep in mind that you’d be in the exact same situation had you been through what they had. We are all only human. Give people the respect they deserve.

3. Be genuine. There is nothing worse than people who are dishonest in their interactions with one another. Remember, you are only as good as your word. Think about that next time before you start to put on a show.

4. Be grateful. We only get one life. Take little moments everyday to say thank you for what you have been blessed with, where you are right now, and keep hope for the future.

5. Play often. Go on new adventures. Play outside. Build blanket forts. Go skydiving. Life’s just a big game, anyway. Might as well have some fun with it.

6. Do the world (and your body) good at every opportunity. I’m serious. Your body is your greatest tool and the world our only home. Treat them both accordingly or you’ll have a lot more to worry about then just how to be successful.

7. Always make time to relax, reflect + plan. The sad thing is, you never realize just how crucial these things are until you neglect to do so for a while and end up completely exhausted and overwhelmed. Make the time now. Relax, reflect, and plan to maintain your sanity along the way to future success.

8. Always try to see things from the other person’s perspective. Mentally put yourself in their shoes, even if just for a moment. Understand where they’re coming from. See the world through their eyes. The more we all do this, the more we can achieve together and the better life will be.

9. Take advantage of every opportunity (and make your own). One thing all successful people do is take advantage of the right opportunities along the way. Plan and act accordingly, but don’t be afraid to change course when something truly great comes your way. And if the opportunity you need doesn’t exist yet, create it.

10. Live bravely. Take risks. Stand up for what you believe in. Do what you love. This is your life. Live bravely or resign to a life of mediocrity. The choice is up to you.

8 Reasons to Join Relay for Life at Northeastern

8 Reasons to Join Relay for Life at Northeastern

Walking into Matthews, I didn’t know what to expect. I had heard about the people. I had heard about the games. I had even heard about the music, but what I found in that arena that night was far more overwhelming.

There were massive group zumba lessons. Yoga sessions. Strangers introducing themselves and playing pick up games of cornhole, volleyball and four square. Live performances by our ICCA-winning acapella group and dance groups. Student groups selling baked goods, crafts, and photo opps to continue raising money until the last possible second. People waiting an hour in line just to donate their hair. An emotional ceremony at midnight, and free food and drinks the entire time.

That year we raised $210,000 and became the 7th largest Relay For Life college event in the country. This year we went even further and raised $239,000 as a community. This is the time to get involved. This is your chance to be part of something incredible.

Nearly everyone I know has been affected by cancer in some way. If you’re still on the fence about joining, just do it. I promise you won’t regret it.

Here are eight reasons why:

  1. You get to walk in memory of those you’ve lost to cancer.
  2. You can support your friends as they walk for those they have loved and lost.
  3. For twelve hours you are surrounded and embraced by a passionate community.
  4. And will share an experience unlike anything else.
  5. You will raise awareness for a great cause.
  6. You will be an inspiration to others to take action and join the fight.
  7. You will make a difference in honor of everyone you know who’s life has been affected by cancer.
  8. You will be part of the fight that finds the cure.

8 Reasons to Join Relay for Life at Northeastern

Don’t live in Boston? No worries! You can still show your support for our community by donating to our fight today.

22 Before 22

22 BEFORE 22

With the school year starting and everyone’s agendas already filling up, I thought I’d take a moment and think about what I’d love to accomplish this year. Of course there are the obvious things: building great relationships, excelling with the responsibilities and roles I’ve already found myself in, pursuing future careers, etc. But to make sure I don’t forget to have fun and keep exploring on the way, a list was definitely in order.

I’ll admit, I totally stole the idea from Millennial Abroad. As he said, “The reason I love this project is because Steph has set parameters for herself that fall perfectly in line with one of our favourite mantras: ‘be gentle with yourself’. The list is meant to be a source of inspiration and to put a focus on having new adventures, as opposed to stressing about ticking off every single box,” so that’s the goal. I’ll try to post about each one as they happen, but you know. I’m an ENFP and life happens.

Wish me luck!

  1. Volunteer
  2. Pay it forward
  3. Go on a road trip
  4. Try 3 new recipes
  5. Leave the country
  6. Read 3 new books
  7. Build a blanket fort
  8. Bartend a big event
  9. Help someone move
  10. Learn a full song on piano
  11. Learn a full song on guitar
  12. GoPro something really cool
  13. Start a great research project
  14. Produce a video I’m really proud of
  15. Help someone go vegan for a week
  16. Get Gainsborough to start recycling
  17. Go kayaking in a see-through kayak
  18. Learn what it takes to run a vineyard
  19. Speak only Spanish for an entire day
  20. Meet + interview a complete stranger
  21. Finally watch all the Star Wars movies
  22. Help organize a leadership conference or retreat

What’s on your list?

The Best Compliment

Last night, I was catching up with someone who I only vaguely remembered meeting at a party two years before, when suddenly he stopped, and said, “You’ve changed a lot since the last time I saw you.”

I could see the recalculating interest on his face and for a moment, could see myself from his eyes. Like actually seeing me for who I’ve become.

“Really? For the better I hope?” I asked.


And this was probably the single greatest thing anybody’s said to me this summer. Sure, in my own head I know I’ve been going to great lengths to be that person I’ve always wanted to be and live my life to the fullest, but to have that noticed by practically a stranger? This was big.

Every now and then you have a moment where you are able to zoom out on your life and see just how far you’ve come. Just how different you are today than you were a year ago, let alone four years ago. A moment where you genuinely stop and appreciate everything that has led you to where you are now. This was one of those moments.

About a year ago, I hit a turning point. I decided that if I wanted to be happy, like truly happy, I needed to step things up. So I did. I went completely vegan, instead of that 90% silliness I was at for four years. I pushed myself at work, in class, with friends to give them the best version of myself possible and be fully present everywhere I was, and it made all the difference in the world.

I took on every leadership opportunity that came my way. I was elected to the officer board for my sorority and became an admissions fellow who’s sole job was to give presentations to prospective students on what it means to go to Northeastern. Some times upwards of 400 students a day. I like to think that means I changed lives but who knows.

I not only took on twin littles in the fall but in the spring as well, when we had our first spring pledge class in over 10 years.  I made plans and had the best spring break of my life. Got offered a job on the spot at MIT Lincoln Laboratory. Did an entire research project on the phenomena of college dating today. Learned aerial and circus skills, got my bartending license, and went skydiving. Road tripped from Chicago to Austin and back. I did everything I wanted and more, so I guess you could say it’s been quite the year.

Honestly, I’ve never been happier. I’m studying at an incredible university, in an incredible city, living in an incredible apartment with some of the best friends and family a girl could ever ask for. I have a job that not only pays the bills but makes me excited for the future, and every day I get to be the best version of myself possible. I have goals and dreams and ambitions I now genuinely believe will come true. At this moment, I’m exactly where I want to be.

So this is my wish for you all: to find your happiness and never stop reaching for more. More great friends and relationships, more new adventures, more opportunities to be that person you’ve always dreamed of. And gratitude for who and where you are every step of the way.

If nothing else, fake it till you make it. Remember, we are exactly what we pretend to be.

Life’s just a game anyway, right? Might as well have some fun with it.


Love always,

31 Reasons You Should Go to Northeastern

Deciding where to go to college isn’t always easy. Every school may seem great for different reasons, and it can be tough to tell where you will really fit in from a couple pamphlets, brochures, or books full of statistics and dated opinions.

Enter this list. Maybe you’ve heard of Northeastern University before, maybe you haven’t. For the past few months, in between classes I’ve been giving the admissions information sessions to prospective students and families, explaining what going to Northeastern means in a quick 45 minutes before sending them out on tour. And while it’s a wonderful experience, not everyone always has the good fortune of being able to visit before applying, so for the rest, here’s 31 reasons why Northeastern could be right for you.

(Hint: Click on things. You never know where they’ll take you.)

1.  You learn best by doing.

2.  You think the city’s pretty great.

3.  But still want a gorgeous campus.
Northeastern Virtual Campus Tour

4.  And a sweet neighborhood.
Back Bay

5.  And to make money.
Average Co-op Salary

6.  And to start your career.

7.  Because you’re smart.
Northeastern Academic Profile Fall 2013

8.  And love to travel.
Northeastern Study Abroad

9.  And love the idea of having the freedom to choose what you want your education to look like.
Northeastern 4 or 5

10.  And wouldn’t mind an extra year of living the dream.
5 Years, 18 months on your resume

11.  Or having friends from all over the world.

12.  And 3D printers, the oldest indoor hockey rink in the world, the site of the first world series, and the only Taco Bell in Boston all on your campus.
Matthews Arena - Northeastern University

13.  You’re truly great at what you do.
Nor'Easters 2013 ICCA Champions
14.  You know exactly what you want to do in the future.
CEO, Bitch.

15.  You don’t know exactly what you want to do in the future.

16.  You want to get involved.
Campus Life

17.  And be surrounded by people studying engineering, business, health, liberal arts, and the sciences.
Majors at Northeastern

18.  You’re opportunistic.

19.  And cool with walking pretty much everywhere.
Healthy Walking Neighborhoods

20.  You like the idea of living 10 minutes from Fenway Park.
Fenway Park

21.  And everything else you could possibly need.
Nearby Northeastern

22.  You think you’re pretty green.
Northeastern Sustainability

23.  You connect on with husky puppies on an emotional level.
Husky Puppies

24.  You want to stay active.
Stay Active

25.  And be around tons of young people.
Northeastern Underwear Run

26.  And aren’t intimidated by cars. Or buses. Or trains.
Just Cross the Street

27.  Or never knowing exactly what ‘year’ you are.

28.  Because you solve things by thinking outside the box.

29.  And to deserve to get an education beyond the classroom.
21 & Over

30.  Because you want to be inspired by people around you who are changing the world.
Northeastern: Changing the World

31.  Because you’re going to change the world.
Change the World

Photos courtesy of the internet.

The Laws of Attraction

The amount of people in the past few weeks who have asked me to turn what I’ve learned in my current Sex, Relationships and Communication class with Daniel Degooyer into something they can study is amazing. Why is it we’re so fascinated with how relationships work? How to effectively flirt and draw in those around you? What truly makes someone attractive?

I think a lot of this, like everything in life, stems from our desire for power. If we can understand how these things work, we’ll be able to more effectively control the people around us, as well as the outcomes of our own social interactions. I get it. I also believe that the more effective communicators we are, the better the world will be as a whole, so I’ve decided to help you out. Full disclaimer though, I’m no expert, and all I am going off are these basic principles we’ve been reading about and discussing the past few weeks, a couple documentaries and my own life experiences. But hey, here goes nothing.

Q: What makes someone attractive?
A: There are many, many things that can contribute to the fact you find someone attractive. Obviously the most dominant factor is someone’s appearance, but personality and proximity also play a bigger role than you may think.

  • Physical Symmetry: Ever heard of the Golden Ratio? Believe it or not, someone’s physical attractiveness can be boiled down down to mathematics. Obviously this isn’t the only factor, but it’s the one of the most basic which influences how traditionally attractive we find someone to be. It’s also proven that we tend to like people with similar face shapes as our own.

  • Personality: If someone is warm, generally positive and shows concern for others, we find them more attractive. If someone is social and able to communicate easily among a group of people, we find them more attractive. And if someone is clearly competent, composed, smart and self-confident, we’ll find them more attractive too.

  • Proximity: How closely available someone is to you can sometimes outweigh similarity as a basis for attraction, which might explain why so many people find relationships in the workplace and other close-quarters experiences.

  • Biology:  On a certain level, it all comes down to genetics. How attractive someone smells to you might seem trivial but it actually is your body telling you taht your gene pools are different enough you could have healthy children. And ladies, we really do look subtly more attractive the closer to ovulation we are.

  • Physical Environment: The physical environment you interact with someone in can actually affect how attractive you find them. For example, think of the difference between meeting someone at a warmly-lit bar versus next to a dumpster. Even if subconsciously, it impacts how you perceive them and the experience as a whole.

  • Social Environment: Approval from family and friends definitely promotes attraction, but of course, there are exceptions to every rule. Ever heard of Romeo and Juliet?

  • Social Media: Who cares what my Facebook says about me, right? Wrong. Science has proven again and again that people with more engaging social media pages, with great pictures and more positive interaction from friends on them are seen as more attractive.

  • Culturally-Specific Values: Depending on the culture and environment you grow up in, you may find certain traits more attractive than others in an other. Some cultures value rounder women, pale skin, whereas others emphasize thinness and perfect tans, and depending on the one you grew up in you’re probably going to find those traits more attractive.

  • Personal Reward Perception: If we believe that someone will offer us more rewards than costs, we will be more attracted to them. Plain and simple, if you think your life would benefit by having them in it, you’re going to want to get them in it.

  • Personal Expectations: Ever heard of self-fulfilling prophecies? If you go into something expecting people to be a certain way, those are the things you’re going to notice first. In fact, most of the time the way we treat those around us in makes them more likely to confirm our expectations. Think the good looking guy has to be a jerk? Chances are, if he makes one slightly rude comment your expectation will be fulfilled and your mind made up. On the other hand, if they defy all your expectations, you may be so drawn to them it won’t matter how physically perfect they are. Personal expectations can work both ways as far as attraction goes.

  • Similarity (to a certain degree): Similar communication styles? Check. Identical food tastes? Maybe not. Things like similar music, tv and movie interests can make someone seem more attractive, but at the same time, for some it is actually more difficult to stay interested someone exactly like them. Variety is the spice of life, and typically makes for more interesting conversations.

Q: Are all feelings of attraction the same?
A: No. In fact, there are four distinct types of attraction, and while you may feel all of them for a person it’s also very possible to just experience one or two. There is power in being able to distinguish them for yourself.

  1. Physical Attraction: Being attracted to a person in the sense that you find their physical presence pleasing.
  2. Social Attraction: Being attracted to a person in regards to how they may fit in with your social group or you would benefit from theirs.
  3. Task Attraction: Attraction as a desire to work with them, to utilize and benefit from their skill set.
  4. Sexual Attraction: The most commonly thought of as ‘attraction’–a physical desire to be intimate with them.

The Laws of Attraction
: So Hannah, tell me how to flirt better.
A: Of course, reader. Surprisingly few people actually understand the basic principles behind how people flirt, so I’ve listed some of the most effective ways people show their interest for one another below. Study up, test them out, and let me know how it goes!

  1. The Laws of AttractionSay hello! You’ll never get anywhere if you don’t first introduce yourself. Be friendly, make an impression. Whenever you see them, make sure you show them you genuinely care about them. And if you’re really interested, put yourself out there and make the effort to see them again. Nothing great’s ever achieved without a little risk.

    The Laws of Attraction

  2. Listen to them. Like really listen. Don’t just hear the words they’re saying–take into account what they’re also not saying, what their body’s saying for them. Do their eyes light up when they talk about something? Are they more reserved in certain settings, or just slower to open up to people? How closely are they positioning themselves to you? How much eye contact are they making? There’s a lot more going in every social interaction  we have than most people realize.

  3. The Laws of AttractionMake eye contact. If you refuse to make consistent eye contact with someone, they’re not going to trust you, let alone think you’re interested in them. Plus, the majority of our communication with one another is non verbal, so use those eyes. They’ll say more for you than your words ever will.

  4. Use people’s names. Whether they realize it or not, everyone loves it when you do. It not only shows you specifically care about them but it immediately makes you feel a little closer with them. Don’t use it to the point of being obnoxious, but definitely throw it in there every now and then if you want to show you like them.

    The Laws of Attraction

  5. Get physically close. If you brush their arm, hug them, even just stand closer to them than you normally would it shows attraction and interest. Generally speaking, if your feet are pointing towards each other, you’re interested.

  6. The Laws of AttractionBe genuinely interested in them. The best way to keep people interested is to by being genuinely interested in them and what they have to say. Not only be a good listener but ask them questions, be engaged and in turn they’ll find you engaging. People love talking about themselves.

  7. The Laws of AttractionSmile! Again, things like warmth, joy and confidence are very attractive so don’t be afraid to use them to your advantage! Relax, be yourself, have a little fun and make the most of every situation and you’ll be a pro in no time.

More on this later.