A Shoutout to the 4 AM Friends

You know those days where you wish you could just hit the reset button? Well, this entire week has been like that. It was the first full week back to work with students, the first week of classes, and there was some personal drama. But the one positive thing that remained constant this week was the support: the friends that I know I can count on no matter what. So for that, I say thank you.

The challenging part about being a twentysomething (or honestly, just being an adult in general) is that all your friends are in faraway lands. Your biggest supports are hundreds of miles away. I’ve written about this before in my blogs, so again, no need to go into full complain mode, but Buffalo is just not the place for me socially. Most friends here just don’t click (or stick). And yet, because this week was such a doozy, that’s really what I needed the most.

I needed 4 AM friends. You know what I’m talking about, right? Those friends that no matter what time of the night it is, you can call them up on the phone and know that they will answer because they care about you, and vice versa. This week, I have reached out to a handful of my 4 AM friends, whether it was barging into their office at work, sending an email check in, writing a letter, texting long paragraphs, or picking up the phone and actually dialing.

Because of this, I wanted to send a massive thank you to all my 4 AM friends who were so especially awesome this week. Appreciation is something that is so necessary but oftentimes forgotten. So here are five (small, inexpensive) ways that you can reach out to show appreciation to your 4 AM friends, even if you didn’t necessarily need it this week:

  1. A spoken thank you
    • I was in staff meeting the other day, and during our meeting, someone turned to someone else and said, “I appreciate you.” The phrase stuck with me. Later in the week, when I was talking to someone, I wanted the other person to feel recognized and appreciated. “Thank you for listening, I appreciate you.” A small handful of words can be so meaningful.
  2. A thank you letter
    • As a writer, this option appeals to me. And I don’t mean a text message. I mean a real, genuine, hand-written thank you letter. Maybe that friend doesn’t even know how much they mean to you, and you expressing that could be the thing to brighten their day and bring your friendship closer together.
  3. A small gift 
    • I know all of our budgets are tight. Side note, my credit card company sent me my first ever notice the other day that I had almost reached my credit line. Yikes, talk about a mini heart attack. ANYWAY, a small gift. If you know they start their day every morning with a grande vanilla latte, send them a five dollar Starbucks gift card. Or maybe you find your favorite photo of the two of you, frame it, and send it to them as a reminder of how much their friendship means to you.
  4. Spend time together 
    • I know this is counter-intuitive to the part about your friends potentially being hundreds of miles away, but follow me for a minute. If your friends are physically around, get coffee. Grab lunch. Spend time together. If not, carve a chunk out of your day to make a phone call, to actually catch up with a person, as opposed to just saying it.
  5. Reciprocate
    • I always say that friendships are a give and take. Ideally, it’s 50-50. But sometimes, it needs to be 70-30. And that’s okay. As long as you make sure that when the other person needs to be at 70, you reciprocate and are also there to be their 4 AM friend. And don’t forget to ask “How are you?” when you are done…it shows you care about them as a friend and as a person, not just as a sounding board.

How else do you show appreciation to your 4 AM friends? Share your thoughts below!

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#AlumniStatus

This past weekend, I visited my alma mater-SUNY Geneseo-for Alumni Weekend. And I have to say, it was pretty incredible.

Before I get into the “twentysomething” part of this post, a brief preface: I graduated in 2013, much to my dismay. I was excited to move onto the next step of my life, until the first time I went back to visit my now ex-boyfriend. I felt completely out of place. I didn’t have a home anymore. I knew I had outgrown Geneseo, and Geneseo had outgrown me. When my ex-boyfriend and I separated, I was even more hesitant to go back. By going back to campus, I was plagued with old memories, throwing my mind back into a place I did not want to be in.

Before this weekend, I hadn’t been back to visit in over a year. I stepped away from Geneseo, stopped donating, and didn’t really know anything about the campus anymore. But as a twentysomething, I felt that it was important for me to go back this weekend. So many good friends were going to be there, and it was only an hour away. All the signs were pointing towards Geneseo.

So I went. And much to my surprise (even though I guess I’m not surprised at all), I fell in love with the campus all over again as soon as I turned on to Main Street. The quaint college town, rows of trees and beautiful flowers lining the campus, the community feel, and of course, the people. All of the positive memories started flooding back and I knew I had made the right decision.

Something was different though. Yes, I had graduated, the new social science building had opened, and the dining hall had been renovated. But there was something else. Two years after graduation, I was finally able to appreciate my time at Geneseo without wishing I were still there, and recognizing that although I may not love where I am in life right now, I really have grown past the Geneseo phase of my life and am excited for what the future holds. Geneseo will always have a special place in my heart, yet, I realize now that it is a time of my past that I am removed from (except maybe on Alumni Weekend). An old chapter of a scrapbook.

So being a twentysomething. How does this all relate? Michael, just get to the point!

Okay, okay. Sorry.

Being a young alumni is just as problematic as being a twentysomething. There are so many conflicting emotions! Do I chain myself to the College Green hoping that I never have to go back to work? Do I go out and pretend like I’m 19 again and get plastered with my friends? Do I donate to a college that is constantly begging me for money when I barely have enough of it for myself? These are hard questions. And if I learned anything this weekend, the twentysomething spectrum for young alumni is NOT the same for everyone.

What kind of young twentysomething alumni are you?

The Alumni on Memory Lane
“Do you remember when we did this here?” “Do you remember when we had this event there?” “Oh my gosh look at that tree where we sat one time!”
These alumni are great when conversing with other alumni. They can bring back great memories, good times, and certainly lots of laughs from previous years. The only problem is when they are having these conversations with current students, they can come off as annoying and too old to be there.

The Hot Mess Alumni
It’s fine. We’ve all been there. This person goes back for Alumni Weekend because they want to pretend for just one or two nights that they are in college again. They might forget their tolerance has decreased a little bit since graduation and they still think they can pound shots like nobody’s business. They may or may not wake up the next morning feeling like a complete train wreck. This is okay maybe once a year, maybe. But just remember, you’re no longer a young college student.

The Out-of-Touch Alumni
This person thinks they know everything about the campus, but in reality, knows nothing. A perfect example that is totally hypothetical and not real at all: Someone who says, “I’ll meet you by the big tree.” And then the other person proceeds to go looking around for literal big trees, completely forgetting that The Big Tree was a restaurant on Main Street. This kind of alumni needs to give their brain a little shake and dust it off a bit.

The Washed-Up Alumni
The former student leader. The one who used to be involved in everything. Over-involved. And now, life post-grad isn’t nearly as good. Maybe they have a good job, maybe going to grad school. But really, they miss college life. A lot. They may or may not realize that they are that alumni, but regardless, they haven’t acknowledged that the campus has moved on past their graduation date.

The Never-Leaving Alumni
“Well, I’m here now, so I’m never leaving.” Nope, sorry. You do have to go back to work on Monday. Real-life does exist outside of the college campus, and you need to go back to it. This person is all over social media with pictures of their beautiful campus. I wish I was a student again! Look how beautiful this building is! These were the best years of my life! etc.

I think everyone is probably a little mix of all of these. I feel like I’ve gone through every type at least once. Where do you all fall on the spectrum? I’d love to hear some other young twentysomething alumni experiences!