by | Alexandra McLaughlin ’16

Besides sharing the same name, Hannah Pollard-Garber ’16 (Rockville, Md.) and Hannah Currens ’16 (Frederick, Md.) grew up 45 minutes apart, have the same high school mascot, and came to Macalester with the identical pair of red Toms, size seven. “We’re eerily similar,” says Pollard-Garber.

They were matched as roommates their first year at Mac and have lived together ever since. “It could have worked out really well or really badly,” says Pollard-Garber.

Upon discovering they were roommates, they chatted a lot on Facebook. “We looked at the old Facebook messages a couple of days ago,” says Currens. “They’re very embarrassing.” Says Pollard-Garber, “There were a lot of ‘lols’ and ‘hahas’ thrown in as padding to relieve the awkwardness.”

“We found out that we both loved Harry Potter,” says Currens. Though Currens lied about being neat on her roommate application, the duo matched up in every other regard. “We both stay up late and we both listen to music while studying” says Pollard-Garber.  

Seniors Brian Utz ’16 (Rochester, Minn.) and Long Tran ’16 (Hanoi, Vietnam) were also matched as first years and have lived together ever since.

“I never told Brian this, but I put in the roommate application that I wanted to live with an American athlete from Minnesota who likes basketball,” says Tran. “And they matched me up perfectly.”

“I didn’t have a ton of exposure to international students in high school, so when I got someone from Vietnam, I didn’t really know what to expect,” says Utz. “But we clicked right away.”

Both men are economics majors, with Tran also majoring in applied math. Through taking the same classes and working on problem sets together, the two became fast friends.

Currens, for her part, was determined to bond with Pollard-Garber. “I can’t comprehend how people aren’t friends with their roommates,” says Currens. “One of the first nights we had a heart-to-heart and I was like, ‘Let’s talk about something deep.’”

Utz and Tran attended Minnesota Timberwolves basketball games and explored restaurants together. “Brian introduced me to American burger places, like the Nook, and I introduced him to some Vietnamese restaurants,” says Tran.

Both pairs of roommates say that it just made sense to continue living together. “We definitely have routines, and a lot of times before  bed we pick out our outfits and talk about our days,” says Currens. “We used to be much better at that—picking out our outfits,” says Pollard-Garber. “Now we just wear sweatpants all the time,” says Currens.

While Currens and Pollard-Garber are close, they also have other friends and interests. “It’s not like we spend every waking moment together, even though some people are convinced we do,” says Currens. Pollard-Garber plays soccer, runs track, and is majoring in political science. Currens is on the swim team and majors in geography. “We have our own circles,” said Currens. “It’s like our lives are Venn diagrams.”

“True,” said Pollard-Garber. “We ultimately share things to the very core, but are comfortable enough to branch out.”

Pollard-Garber and Currens often visit each other in Maryland over breaks. “She went to the aquarium with me and my family over winter break and it was lovely,” says Currens. Their families have even gotten together for Christmas brunch.

“I’m pretty sure her little brother likes me better than her,” says Currens. “That’s definitely true,” says Pollard-Garber. “He gives her more Facebook attention.”

Tran has gotten to know Utz’s family, too, through visiting their cabin in northern Minnesota, where he tried both waterskiing and s’mores for the first time.

Next year Tran will work as an investment banking analyst with J.P. Morgan in New York City. “It’ll be fun to visit him there,” says Utz. “And I’d also like to visit Vietnam.” “That’s the ultimate goal,” says Tran. “Getting Brian to Vietnam.”

Pollard-Garber will work in Detroit next year with the American Civil Liberties Union. She’s trying to convince Currens to move there with her.

And it just might happen. “She’s great,” says Currens. “She’s the best person I know. Well, second best behind my dad. But no one can touch him.”

March 7 2016

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