Most recent grads can agree that no matter how prepared we try to be, the world is pretty tough to make sense of after leaving the cozy confines of campus. When best friends Jessica Pan and Rachel Kapelke-Dale graduated from Brown University, they had no idea what to expect from post-college life, and on their last night on campus before setting off for opposite sides of the world, the two made a pact to send each other honest weekly accounts of whatever adventures came next. Their emails zigzagged between New York, Paris, Beijing and Melbourne as Jess and Rachel faced the thrill and confusion of life in the “real world.” Among the ups and downs of new jobs, relationships and time zones, the one thing that remained consistent was their weekly letters.
Now, the two have compiled those letters into Graduates In Wonderland, an addictive and wildly relatable memoir of the roller coaster that is life in your early twenties. From the very first page, it was hard not to wonder whether Jess and Rachel had taken a peak inside my own mind. In between their fast-paced adventures and mishaps, they share quiet doubts and questions with the kind of honesty that only exists between close friends. Not only does this book serve as a reminder that none of us are alone in feeling lost every now and then, it’s also a gentle nudge to stop what you’re doing and give your best friend a call. Jess and Rachel spoke with me about some of their thoughts on living abroad, youthful idealism, true love, and the importance of quality friendships.