Rainesford Stauffer

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Rainesford Stauffer is a freelance writer and Kentuckian. She is the author ofAn Ordinary Age (Harper Perennial, 2021) and All the Gold Stars: Reimagining Ambition and the Ways We Strive (forthcoming from Hachette Books, May 2023). 


Cover Photo: This photograph shows a black pen lying next to a A+ grade marked on a paper, which is in red.
Letting Go of My Toxic Ambition

I was agitated by the sensation that saying yes to everything and no to nothing, rising to the occasion, going above and beyond, was supposed to be the worthiest thing about me.

Cover Photo: A girl with long dark hair, wearing a green graduation cap and gown, faces away from the camera and looks out over a railing.
What to Do With Your Twenties When Your Life Plans Fall Apart

It’s a strange sort of self-reliance, thinking you can out-plan the grief, and heartbreak, and confusion of growing up.

Cover Photo: Photograph by Artem Ivanchencko/Unsplash
To Every Woman Who Spent Her Twenties Apologizing

I squeezed myself in around other people’s priorities and problems, all the while saying: Take up all the room you want. I will make myself fit.

Cover Photo: Production still via Freeform/Jonathan Wenk
Your Friend Group Should Look Like the Cast of a Twenty-Something Drama (and Other Myths About Millennial Friendship)

New responsibilities clogged up phone lines and changed what used to be lifelines—how were we supposed to maintain our relationships?

Cover Photo: Photograph from Canva/Illustration by Leah Johnson
Setting Boundaries is the First Step to Becoming a “Real Writer”

I wanted to be a writer, and I thought my work-life balance was the price I had to pay. I couldn't have been more wrong.

Cover Photo: Photograph by Jordan Whitfield/Unsplash
My Mom’s Pandemic Piano Taught Me You Can Always “Find Yourself”

It was the first time I’d ever noticed growth or newness this way: reclaiming, or returning, rather than overhauling and chasing.

Cover Photo: Photograph by  Joshua Hoehne/Unsplash
The Obsession with “Getting Ahead” in Your Twenties Is Failing Young People

Why do we need measuring sticks like college and marriage and leaving home to track our worth?

Cover Photo: Photograph by Kaylah Matthews/Unsplash
To All the Coffeeshops I’ve Called Home

I drove past the third places that I’d grown up in and, through the eyes of an adult, saw a person shaped by spaces that are in-between.