The Move

Yesterday I moved into a new apartment and starting writing in a new notebook. Both beginnings were equally unnerving. Each rent check, each pen stroke, each gesture toward planting roots feels so direly permanent. How do I know if this move will be the right one? How do I know the words on this page will ever become meaningful enough to warrant the ink spent on them?

I’ve noticed this train of thought appear in many aspects of my life. Whether I’m telling my friends a funny story or preparing a rebuttal in a class discussion, I don’t like to open my mouth until I’m sure whatever comes out will be bulletproof. In general, I don’t like taking a first step until I have the next six or seven planned out. 

Perks: well, I think I’m really funny–because I don’t talk unless I have something really good to say. I’m also objectively good at (CW: RESUME SKILLS) project management and planning ahead. 

Drawbacks: conversations don’t wait for perfect comebacks. And more often than not, there’s absolutely no way to know where a choice will lead you. You simply can’t plan ahead all the time, and that shouldn’t hold you back from making a start.

My brand of perfectionism even has layers to it: I’m reluctant to even call myself a perfectionist because I’m not THE perfect example of one. You hear that word and think of surgeons and drill sergeants. Not unemployed college grads.

Needless to say, perfectionism hasn’t gotten me where I want to be in life. So I think that means it’s time to start making some mistakes. Get scammed* by a summer sublet. Write something frivolous in permanent ink. Put all your faults and shortcomings on a blog for twelve people to read. You can’t know for sure that they’ll all be mistakes. But surely doing something is better than doing nothing.

So that’s why I’ve chosen to embark on a path of mistakes, because it’s always prudent to choose movement over stagnancy. Even if you don’t know where you’re going or if you’re headed in the right direction. If you fall, you’ll fall forward. And you never know–you might benefit from seeing things from the ground. It’s a new vantage point.

Okay so I realize that up until now, this post has all been about reframing bad decisions and mistakes. I think that’s helpful because they are prevalent in this time of our lives, and that’s okay. We’re young, and there’s no better time for them. But it’s worth noting that this line of thought only makes sense if you’re betting on your own failure. How can you be so certain that each move is a mistake?

It probably has to do with what I talked about in my first post, about adjusting to life without a curriculum. But remember, there’s no reason to believe you can’t do it. You literally haven’t had the opportunity to suck at life after college because it just ended like a month ago?!!! There’s no record of failure.

Besides, even if there were, there’s a whole laundry list of things that I’m bad that I would try again. I once visited the ER after epically failing at jumping on my bed (my life is a string of cautionary tales, if you couldn’t already tell). But after the stitches healed, I went back to jumping. I eventually went on to tackle the daunting terrors of bounce castles, trampolines, zip lining, ice skating (literally walking on knives!!! because it looks pretty???), and rollercoasters. Any one of those things could have gone majorly wrong but I did them anyway.

This comparison is, without a doubt, imperfect: situations of perceived physical risk are not really on par with decisions that may shape the rest of your life. But I’m glad it’s here because inside this mistake, there lies a really interesting truth. Roller coasters are easy and new apartments are hard for the same reason. We’re still young and dumb enough to think that we’ll live forever. Probability is no match for a young person’s belief in their own invincibility. Just last week, I looked at a roller coaster and thought, 

There’s no way that a mechanical failure will claim my life on this Spongebob ride; I’m too young AND too old for that sh*t

I think most recent grads apply the same reasoning to the decisions we’re faced with now. We’re too young to decorate our lives with something that looks permanent, and too old for our freshman year dorm rooms. (Insert nostalgic interlude here). But behind every mistake is a person with a lot to learn, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. 

*Note: just in case you care, I did NOT get scammed! The move was a success, and I love my new apartment! 


About a week and half before graduating last month, I visited an on-campus psychologist to talk about my immense fear of interviews. And yeah, I realize it may have been helpful to do that sometime before May, but I’ll expand upon that in a later post.

We talked for awhile, and she asked me questions to the bottom of the issue. Interestingly enough, the conversation was awfully similar to how interviews typically go for me…which is awful. I tensed up because I didn’t know how to answer her questions correctly, and my eyes began to hyperventilate.

Yeah, you read that right. It’s part of my meticulous formula for freaking out while sitting still. Here’s the trick: when I feel anxious and short of breath, I focus on any body part other than my chest. I often imagine that the air trapped in my lungs is escaping through my eyes, when in fact I’ve averted my focus from the issue and calmed down enough to breathe normally. Try it, and see if it helps! If it doesn’t, don’t judge mmkay?

Anyway, we continued talking and despite the fact that I wasn’t being particularly helpful to her endeavor, she attempted to give me a tip for next time.

“Perhaps it may be helpful to imagine that you’re holding your own hand throughout the interview. You can even do so literally, in–”

Before she had even finished her train of thought, I emitted a dramatic and audible shudder.

“What was that?” she asked.

“I don’t know. It was involuntary,” I said. After some reflection, I added, “I guess picturing myself as a support system wasn’t comforting.”

Red alarms went off in my head as I said those words, and again as I type them now. 

The endearing, self-deprecating humor that permeates my writing turns into ruthless, self-critical savagery during an interview.  

For the time being, it might be helpful to imagine that Beyonce, Jay, Blue, and the magical twin Geminis are behind you, smiling and cheering you on. But in the long run that’s not realistic. I hate to say it, but the fact of the matter is that most of us will never meet Beyonce–let alone have her divine spirit and good wishes with us in an interview for an entry-level job. At some point, you are going to have to be the comforting image that your mind conjures. Because you’re the only person that you can take into a stressful situation, and the only person that’ll be by your side every day for the rest of your long and fruitful life. 

How fun! Can’t wait. 

Maybe it doesn’t seem that way right now. I know these words aren’t going to instantly silence that persistent little voice in your head. Like all gratifying and worthwhile things, it’ll take lots of time and concerted effort to become comfortable with yourself. You might not ever get to the yogi level of calm self-assuredness that it takes to not get nervous in an interview, and that’s fine! Interviews are stressful, and being nervous is natural. But make a pledge to start trying. Right now, I’m personally in the habit of imagining a wiser and more-employed version of myself chuckling next to me and saying, “No matter what happens, I’m sure it’ll be pretty funny in retrospect.” 

Perhaps not the best sidekick to bring into an important situation, but it’s a start. 

Failure to Launch: An Introduction


Last month, as I huddled over an episode of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, I heard this line for the 1,754th time: 

“People come from all over the world to go to Columbia. You get into a place like Columbia, the world is your oyster.”

Despite having graduated from Columbia just one week prior, this world didn’t feel like my oyster. That feeling had, in fact, led me to Netflix, where one can queue up other worlds to escape into. I had reached the end of an important episode of my life and the next was still unwritten.

I didn’t have a job–and though I use the past perfect tense to make myself feel better, I still don’t. If the words of Tina Fey, and my college counselor, dentist, and several family members were to be believed,  something wasn’t adding up. I had to figure out what went wrong and what to do next. 

I still don’t have a clue. But what I have recently realized is that even at the most challenging universities in the world, you can take comfort in the fact that you’re acting out a template. Which is not to say it has been easy: you’ve lost plenty of sleep over assignments and taken classes that have tested your limits. But at the end of the day, you’re sticking to a script. Each step in the road, despite having its unique difficulties, feels inevitable. 

By the time you finish college, you’ve been funneled from one reputable structure to the next for the majority of your life. But when you finally make it to the finish line and get to throw your graduate cap into the air, there’s no one left to ask for guidance or permission. You alone are there to catch it. You’re free to write the next episode of your story, and that’s equal parts thrilling and terrifying.

Well, typically it is. When you graduate without a job lined up, it’s mostly terrifying.

After 21 years of following a syllabus, I could find no reason to stop now. As my final months in college came to a close, every impulse was telling me to find some other template to follow. Luckily, I came across something equally as comfortable and inevitable as the requirements of a pre-professional track: horoscopes.

I know what you’re thinking. I’ve heard it, said it, and thought it before. The belief that the position of the planets in relation to patterns flaming rocks millions of miles away has any influence over our personalities and life paths is absurd. But the study of astrology has been around for thousands of years, and the stars for much longer. Who am I to question the authority that comes with their permanence?

And yes, I’m aware that stars burn out. But not nearly as quickly or easily as a college senior. So why would I argue when an astrological assessment tells me that, despite my deepest fears and insecurities, I am destined to do something great? Destiny weighs far more than a diploma. Especially when that diploma has yet to earn itself an office to hang in. 

Though it’s rarely talked about outside of meme form, there’s a powerful and consuming feeling of inadequacy that comes with being unemployed directly after college. It can manifest in a number of ways: feelings of hopelessness, depression, lowered sense of self-worth. I personally didn’t tell anyone other than my immediate family that I was graduating college because without a job lined up, it didn’t feel like much of an accomplishment. 

There’s so many things wrong with that mentality, though. Firstly, I robbed myself of a lot of graduation gifts. And a good cake opportunity, too. But more importantly, the idea that everything I’ve accomplished this far is rendered null and void just because I don’t have my life figured out at age 21 is COMPLETELY absurd.

More so than horoscopes, wouldn’t you agree?

Nevertheless, something tells me I’m not the only person with this mindset. And I’m definitely not the only person in this situation, even though it often feels that way. That’s why I decided to start this blog.

I want it to serve as a template for those currently living without a template, which is a poetic way of saying “being unemployed after college.” Its title references the mascot of Columbia University, a lion, and the fact that I was born under the astrological sign of Leo. 

Clever, right? My horoscope says so. 

The ‘on the Loose’ aspect refers to the fact that for the first time in my life, I don’t have a schedule or track to follow. And that’s okay. Or so I’m told by people that have already made it through this phase in life, or those who have skipped it altogether. But those voices aren’t always the most comforting to hear from. So if you’re in the same boat, take it from me instead: it’s okay. 

I know it’s not typical to take advice from someone who has no answer to the problem you wish to be rid of, but–wait, actually it is rather typical. If you went to college and had an RA, it’s the same concept. And I should know, because–cw: jobs, resumes–I was a freshman RA for three years. 

I’m hoping that, for people who are currently in the thick of it, my weekly…wisdom? will come as somewhat of a relief. If one person reads this and thinks, thank God, so it’s true! I’m actually not alone in this, then my goal will have been met. If you’re reading this and thinking, whew things could be a lot worse. At least I’m mentally stable!, that’s fine too. As long as you’re reading. If there’s one thing to know about Leos, it’s that we live for the spotlight. 

Now, onto some logistics: I’ll be posting 2-3 times a week–Tuesdays, Thursdays, and once over the weekend. My goal is to address the many job-related topics that I’ve Googled, from the perspective of someone who doesn’t have all the answers yet. From time to time, I’ll also be writing about topics of interest to me other than myself: mental health, entertainment and culture, race and ethnicity, and more. After all, this blog is intended to serve as writing samples for j** applications. Eventually, I hope to be contributing to a publication larger than this one and in order to do that, I think I’ll need to demonstrate depth. 

Thank you for reading! Please like and share this post if you enjoyed it, and comment to let me know what you think. If you’re a currently unemployed Bachelor (of Arts or Science), I’d also like to hear about your experiences post-graduation, related to the job search or otherwise. 

In closing, thank you again for your time and consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you. 🙂