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Penpalling for Beginners: A Resource List


In my four years at Geneseo, I’ve revisited the art of letter-writing. Between bugging my mom to drop off my drawings into the mailboxes of our elderly neighbors at four years old, passing elaborately-penned notes during classes in … actually, most of my schooling career and making it a point to send letters home to my parents every few months from Geneseo, I’ve really taken a shine to the handwritten letter. I know we’re tired of hearing our grandparents use the old millennial-shaming technique of “in my day, you couldn’t just pick up the phone and text your friend to hang out! You had to write them four days in advance!” There’s some real advantage to texting over passing cards back and forth (see: emergencies, not paying 55 cents per letter, not waiting four days to hear back from your friends, etc). But that doesn’t render letter-writing out of date.



A lot of articles written about modern day letter writing focus on how awesome it is to receive something other than the regular adult nonsense we come to expect in the mail, which is completely fair. I know my day is better when there’s a bright, shining letter to be plucked from my Wegman’s circulars and Spectrum billing statements. But there’s also something to be said about snail mail’s ability to allow you to express yourself—such as through “mail art,” calligraphy, collaging and frankly just being able to pour out your heart and soul in ink that is very healing. 


Why not get started with penpalling yourself? You don’t have to go in swinging, looking to pull the U.S. postal service out of its slump or making intricate masterpieces that may or may not be crushed by the mail sorting machines. You can start small, with simple letters on lined notebook paper. Maybe you can even make your own postcards.



Maybe you can start sending mail to your friends at other colleges or to your family. Maybe you’re comfortable enough to start branching out to strangers. Whatever you’re interested in, check out the following resources below to help you get started.


Mail Art Resources:





Places to Find Penpals (use at your own risk, stay safe!):




Have fun out there!

Jessica Bansbach is a junior psychology major who has more campus club memberships than fingers and toes. In her spare time, if she's forgotten that she's a college student that has more pressing matters to attend to (like, say, studying), she enjoys video games, thrift shopping, and ruminating. She was elected "funniest in group" by her summer camp counselor when she was nine and has since spent the next eleven years trying to live up to the impossible weight of that title.
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