The Plunge

The month of August was a total, utter flurry. It was a perfect storm kind of situation. In a matter of days, my life completely changed. In short, I made the decision and the arrangements necessary to move to New York in less than a week.

Monday, August 6

It all started when I got an interview for a job at Simon & Schuster. I applied on a Friday and, since HR had already hired me for the internship program, I heard from the hiring manager for the role on Monday morning. She asked if I could come into the office that week, preferably Wednesday, and this whole crazy month was set in motion. After a lot of back and forth, I booked a round-trip flight and threw my things together.

Tuesday, August 7

The next night, I arrived at my friends’ apartment and explained what, exactly, I was doing in the city on such short notice. I also asked for advice on what to wear because sure, your qualifications and experience are the most important, but you also want to look good.

Wednesday, August 8

In the morning (after a nice breakfast at Bluestone Lane), I met the two publicists looking to hire a shared assistant. They were smart and sincere, and even though there were things I said (or didn’t say) that I would overanalyze later, I thought it went as well as I could’ve hoped. Shortly after returning to Ali and Rachel’s apartment, I took a cab to LaGuardia, where I spent hours trying to standby for an earlier flight because I was supposed to go to Disneyland the next morning and, after abruptly leaving home, I’d still need to pack.

Here’s where things really picked up. I sent a quick thank you email to one of the S&S women and she responded almost immediately asking me to come back early the next week to meet the head of the Publicity department. I was supposed to return from Disneyland that Sunday, and somehow I was now supposed to be back in NYC again on Monday? Oh, man.

I sat there and let my mind run a million miles a minute and came to the conclusion that I needed to go back to NYC for the second interview and I needed to stay there. Luckily, a scary perfect housing opportunity was just waiting for me to accept it: Maddie, a girl who lived in the Williamsburg apartment with three of my good friends (including my best friend Ali), needed someone to take her room in the apartment, and despite some initial hesitation, I decided living there would be the best move even though I’d wanted to live alone. It just felt right. I knew the apartment, I knew the neighborhood, I already loved the roommates. Right away (well, once I had hurriedly talked it over with my dad), I messaged Maddie and told her I was 100% in. I’d take her room, and furthermore, I’d be taking it in a week.

I think I was probably breathless for the whole day.

Originally I was supposed to go from Disneyland to home in Texas, where I would stay for another few weeks. Now it was looking like it’d make the most sense to go straight to New York. My dad booked me a new flight from LAX to JFK on frequent flyer miles and we cancelled my original return trip. At this point I was messaging a dozen friends, sending them real-time and frenzied updates at approximately 120 words per minute (little exaggeration there). And to make things really, extra difficult, my flight was very delayed. Of course it was.

By midnight, I was finally home. I had to wake up around 7:00am the next morning and I had to pack enough to start me off in my new apartment. I knew it was going to be a challenge.

Both of my parents were still awake and my mom had an even earlier flight to catch the next day (she was going to Mexico for a wedding). That’s the part I feel worst about—my mom got a few hours notice that I was moving out and she had about half an hour to see me before saying a very late night goodbye. It was a true whirlwind for everyone involved, but I already knew that I would try to come back for Labor Day weekend, so that made things a little easier.

Thursday, August 9 – Saturday, August 11

I had, as per usual, a wonderful time at Disneyland with my dad and sister. The highlights included the new Fantasmic! show, the new Pixar Pier, the new Guardians of the Galaxy themed ride (formerly Tower of Terror), the new Incredicoaster. Basically, there are a lot of new things, and while I have mixed (and many) feelings about all of the change, this post is not about Disneyland.


Sunday, August 12

On my last morning in California, we had planned to have brunch off Disneyland property. Since my flight had been rescheduled, I had to go to the airport earlier, so I took a highly indulgent cappuccino muffin with me instead. It was no bougie brunch, but it didn’t disappoint.

Saying goodbye to my dad and Megan was hard — I wish I’d had more time to get used to the idea of moving out for good. Again, I knew I was coming back to Texas soon, so that, at least, was some consolation.

Later that day, I arrived at the apartment I’ve visited (even lived in one summer) so many times over the years. Maddie wasn’t leaving quite yet, so I would stay one night there and two nights at my friend Alexis’s apartment in Greenpoint while she moved out. Even though I was still bouncing around, I’d arrived. A week before, I had planned on spending all of August and probably part of September in Texas — I thought the job search would take a while to pick up speed. Now I lived in New York City.

Monday, August 13 – Tuesday, August 28

My second S&S interview was scheduled for Monday morning, so I made the trip back to Rockefeller Center on a very gloomy, muggy day. I met the head of the Publicity department, and while it went well, I didn’t end up getting the job. It was a disappointing email to read, but I knew it didn’t mean I was a bad candidate, it just meant someone else edged me out this time. I passed the news onto family and friends who were under the impression that I’d moved to New York for that specific job and I let them know that I was still optimistic, which I really was.

The rest of the week was quiet; there weren’t a lot of Publicity jobs that came up, and that was my first choice. I probably would’ve been more scared if I didn’t have so many other things to do. I spent the week ordering and assembling furniture, shopping for room décor and professional clothes, seeing movies courtesy of my MoviePass. I even took a little trip to Baltimore to visit my friend Sonja, who was doing research at Johns Hopkins. Without the unwavering support of my parents, I would’ve been terrified. I consider myself so fortunate to have been able to move to New York without a job knowing that I could pay rent and I wouldn’t starve. Every day, I reminded myself how lucky I was for that.

There was also the fact that I didn’t have time to get too nervous. The following Monday, about a week after I first arrived, I heard from several publishing houses (one of which contacted me before I even saw their job posting). That week, I had interviews at HarperCollins, Hachette, and Macmillan. It was equal parts exhausting and exhilarating talking to so many people about the different openings they had. And it turns out that a few of the people I met while interviewing at S&S had sent my info to friends at different houses! Again, I felt very, very lucky.

At the end of that week, I was feeling pretty good. With three possibilities, it was looking more and more like I’d have a job soon (though I tried very hard not to get my hopes too high). Sure enough, I got an offer from St. Martin’s Press (an imprint of Macmillan) on Tuesday afternoon. After getting the call from HR, I was elated. The opportunity was an awesome one, and I had really liked the woman who would be my boss when I met her a few days before. Having already worked at Macmillan (even under St. Martin’s Press), I could really see myself there. It was so exciting to picture myself in my new role after so much uncertainty.

It’s been a few weeks now, but it’s still hard for me to believe how (and how quickly) this all happened. A lot of things just came together at exactly the right time — the apartment, the job. While I could’ve taken longer to get to the city, I know I made the right decision by taking the plunge and just going. I’m living in a cute, light-filled (and teeny tiny) room in a pretty spacious apartment with wonderful friends, I have a job that I genuinely want to go to in the morning, and I’m in a city with an energy that is completely unique. I’m so excited about the life that I just dove into here, and now that the dust of the job search has settled, I finally get to breathe and enjoy it.



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