Just a laptop and giant duffel bag

A little more than a year ago, I flew from San Francisco to Washington, DC with my Toshiba laptop and giant red suitcase in hand. I took a taxi to Falls Church, where I would be moving the following day, to stay in a Best Western for the night. Though I’d secured a place to live, my situation was unsettling at best. An unemployed new college graduate, I still believed that applying for jobs on Monster.com and JournalismJobs.com would actually get me somewhere, so I emailed my resume and cover letter to the listed DC area position openings that night.

The hotel

Meanwhile, the hotel was poorly lit and without an elevator, so I yanked my large rolling bag up the stairs step by step until I got to the end of the hall. Once I reached the hotel room, I called my mom, who hadn’t stopped crying all day.

She wasn’t sad that I’d moved across the country, but experiencing guilt for forcing me to do it alone. A few weeks earlier, I’d asked her to accompany me on the trip, but she said she was too busy to offer a hand. This was uncharacteristic for my eager mom, so I assumed outside sources had advised her to take the tough love approach. Nevertheless, I was a little hurt, not because I was incapable of pulling off the move alone, but because I’d wanted someone around for moral support. When it came time for me to fly to DC, she felt awful about refusing to join me on the stressful endeavor.

Though a little nervous that evening, I knew I’d be fine without her assistance and could always call friends for some words of wisdom and pep talks. What I really needed, though, was some food, so I looked out the hotel window to see if there were any eateries nearby. Of course, there was nothing in sight, so I resorted to the hotel Mexican restaurant, Miguel’s.

My burrito was marginal at best, but I should have expected that. I’d known since 2008 that the east coast produces awful Mexican cuisine. I could barely stomach half the meal, which was making me nauseous, so I paid my bill and headed back to the lonesome room. Though exhausted from my early morning wake-up and cross country flight, I couldn’t sleep that night at all. I was nervous, uncertain, and worried about my choice to move to the DC area. What if I couldn’t find a job by December? Would I be able to afford my rent? What if I had to settle for something outside of journalism? Would I ever have the chance to write again?

A while back, one of my co-workers said her younger sister always makes last-minute, spontaneous choices that seem to work out no matter what. She waits until the last second to find a place to live or a job, but somehow she makes both of these things happen. In some ways, I’m a lot like my colleague’s sister. Everything comes together. When I graduated college with zero job prospects in May 2010, I felt as if my younger friends couldn’t fathom my decision to go to France and take a few months to figure out where I’d like to move. Some said my Europe trip was irresponsible, but I’m so glad I had the opportunity to stay in the south of France for a month and a half after graduation. I began working when I was ready and somehow landed an amazing first post-college job. As I’ve said a million times, I’ll never, ever be able to thank Tucker enough for taking a leap of faith and hiring me before Christmas 2010. No matter what critics say about him, he gives young, hard-working individuals jobs when most places wouldn’t even return the phone call of an entry-level applicant. I was beyond lucky to have been employed there right out of college. Anyone is lucky to be part of TheDC.

Considering the thrilling whirlwind of the past year, I’m not too concerned about tomorrow. With my laptop in one hand and red UA duffel bag in another, I’m boarding a train for New York City to start working at The L (L) office, get a feel for the city, and finalize my living situation. There are tons of uncertainties ahead and I’m nervous, but my mindset is much more relaxed than it was a year and several months ago when I landed in DC as a jobless, inexperienced, bright-eyed 22-year-old. I’m off to a much larger city and an amazing position, so there’s less to fear. I’ll produce great content consistently and continue bugging friends of friends about getting together for coffee, so exciting things are bound to happen.

This time around, I didn’t think twice about the fact that I’d be tackling this alone without my mom. It’s probably better that she stayed home last year during my DC relocation because now I’m calmer and more prepared to move to NYC alone.Of course, I’m not completely alone in any of this. My Brooklyn buddies Emily and Hillary have offered to take me under their wing in the event that I need some help, my colleagues have been 110 percent supportive and patient with my move, and many of my college and DC buddies have hooked me up with their NYC contacts. Besides, ten of my close DC friends showed up to my goodbye happy hour tonight, so I’m immeasurably grateful for those who care enough about my accomplishments to see me off the evening before I leave DC. Thanks to those who showed up tonight: Joey, Evan, Lisa, Alec, Boyle, Will, Derek, and Josh, many of whom joke about popping up in this blog. Well, you’re in here again, and you’re all here to stay <3Lisa and Laura!”

Boyle, Nikki, and me in May!
With Joey at First Friday!
Lisa and Laura!

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