Jason's FAQ

Over the past few months I’ve been getting the same questions over and over again. So I’m going to post the questions and answers here so All Y’ALL LEAVE ME ALONE… I mean… love you guyz.

Did you like living in New York City? How was it?

New York City was absolutely amazing. There are tons of posts/ articles about what it’s like to live there, the love/hate relationship residents have with the city, and how it’s like no other place. All true.

NYC is certainly a home to me. There were lots of highs and lows (High: Graduating from Columbia. Low: Bed bug infested apartment. High: Getting my dream internship. Low: Having $0.11 in my bank account and not eating for 24 hours. High: Meeting friends I hope to have for life. Low: Getting my heart broken a time or two).

There is a difference between *living* in New York and *existing* in New York. Much of my time there I felt I was existing. I didn’t have money or time to experience the city for all it’s “worth.”

I eventually came to realize there’s a difference between what the city is “worth” when you’re well-off financially and what it’s worth when you’re broke. (I’m reluctant to even look at it that way because there are so many people in New York who are truly, truly poor. Some of whom I reported over. But that’s a whole other post…).

When you’re a struggling 20-something in the city, experiencing the city for all it’s worth is taking the L train to Smorgesburg on a Saturday morning. It’s walking the High Line on a Sunday afternoon with a good friend and a coffee in hand. It’s going to a dive bar on the Lower East Side and waiting 20 minutes at 2 a.m. for the next train to take you uptown. It’s not always broadway shows and rooftop parties and galas. It’s rarely that. 

I was recently trying to describe the charm in the struggle - and people who hadn’t lived in NYC didn’t understand. How would being broke and constantly struggling be charming? Because I was working toward something. I was chasing my dream. I hadn’t let myself settle into a life that was comfortable, but not fully what I wanted. People tell me they admire and respect that I’m chasing my dreams and tell me they wish they could do the same. They can. Plain and simple. They can.

I look at my life as an investment and I view my entire experience in New York City as such. 

How was grad school?

Grad school was good but hard. I guess that’s how it’s supposed to be. I’m very glad it’s over! But the Columbia Journalism School was great.

Overall I had a wonderful experience. I feel truly blessed to have had the opportunity to attend. Never in a million years did I think I’d actually get in. It was the one school I applied to because I knew I’d get rejected, then I’d attend somewhere else.

People assume I’m really smart because I went to Columbia. That bothers me for some reason. I don’t consider myself book smart.

In high school I was in the resource room and some basic-level courses,  a year behind many of my classmates. But I’m a hard worker, and I’ve learned just how far that can get you in life. Never underestimate that. Hard work, luck, and a support system of people who care about you can get you anywhere. I didn’t make it through NYC or Columbia on my own - there were a whole lot of people behind me.

Why did you leave NYC?

I left New York City because I wanted to gain work experience in a smaller place. I figured if I was in a smaller newsroom I’d get to do more and gain experience faster. That and the fact that even though I’m really glad I had two and a half years of being that struggling 20-something, I was ready for it to be over!

Did you leave forever? It kinda seems like you gave up on the city…

LOL. No. I didn’t.

I give up on things like diets and gym memberships and “not dating for a while.” I think I could have stayed in New York with an entry-level job in journalism. I worked full-time while in school so I had work experience and then in May I had a degree to match. I didn’t looked for jobs in the city for after graduation outside of meetings from the career fair and my internship.

A few friends told me, “I don’t think you’re ever gonna live here again,” but I don’t think that’s true. At least I hope not. I love the city, and I miss it dearly, but I do plan to make it my home again someday. Maybe in a year, maybe in 10, maybe in 20. I’m not sure, but my career goals and aspirations bring me back there.

Oh, you’re working on a book?! How neat! What’s it about?

Why yes, I am! The working title as of now is "One and the Other.” It’s the two narratives about how my Christian faith brought me to reconcile with my alcoholic father, but hindered me from forgiving myself for being gay in a Christian community. 

It’s a long story (hence why it’s becoming a book hopefully). I have lots of thoughts about it and reasons for pursuing it. If you ever want to ask me about it, do so.

Hey, did you know your hair is thinning a little on the top of your head?


Do you wanna go on a date?