Go Ask Lev #5: Grad School, Wannabes, And Serial Daters

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Crazy, Stupid, Love
Crazy, Stupid, Love


Dear Lev,

I am terrified of applying to graduate school to the point where every time I try to be productive in the application process (writing statement of purpose, scholarly writing, ect) I just stare at the screen and want to cry.

I know I have good grades and experience for my field (theatre) but I don’t know what to do. I am graduating a year early but I still do not feel proud of myself. Parents are out of the picture and have been my whole life so paying for my undergrad has been stressful. I want to go to a university that’s across the country but I do not see how it is feasible. I feel like a failure before I have even tried.

How do I believe in myself? How do I afford to live or go to graduate school?

Violet G.


Hi Violet,

First, you should know: everyone freaks out about applications.

There’s a paralysis, but remember: these schools want you! You are not sending to the cold, genius pile of buildings in the brochure. You are sending yourself to smart men and women who desperately want smart people like you.

That might not help that much, but it should help a little. So should knowing you’re as good as any other applicant, and not uniquely bad, and that everyone else is going through this exact process too.

Next, it might help to know that I have found throughout my life that the people with the most to be proud of are the least proud of themselves, because they succeed because of a workmanlike focus and attitude that doesn’t make excuses. It sounds like you have that. You’re graduating college early, you’re paying for it yourself, and you are a human being worthy of love and admiration like any other.

You have so much to be proud of, and I don’t even know you, your friendships, your kindness and quirks. Violet, you’re the bomb.

Third and lastly: I don’t know enough about the finances, but I’d look into scholarships. A lot of schools have giant piles of money they’re supposed to give out to the deserving. Don’t take yourself out of the running before you try!

The scholarships might not come or might not be enough, but that’s the place to start.

Good luck Violet. I’ll be rooting for you.


Dear Lev,

What advice would you give to aspiring advice columnists? Where do you get your advice inspiration? Do you have advice on advice that we should give?




Dear Hannah,

Stay out of my territory.



Dear Lev,

Like many others, I need dating advice. I am rather inexperienced at dating because I have been the epitome of a serial-relationshiper since I started dating as a teenager. My last boyfriend and I were in a serious relationship and lived together for over three years. We broke up a year ago. I was determined not to jump into another relationship. I wanted to allow myself proper time to heal and as cliched as it sounds – I wanted to focus on me for awhile. Honestly, this is probably the longest I have ever been single.

Now I am ready to date, but I don’t know how. I am not interested in a relationship or even anything serious for that matter. In case you’re wondering this is because I have a lot of projects in the works, higher priorities, and frankly – I don’t have a lot of time to devote right now. I would just like to simply enjoy the dating experience every now and then. My question is this: is there such a thing as casual dating that does not involve sex? Or does casual dating = booty call, by default? I also do not want to make the mistake of falling into the “leading him on” trap. Should I just give up the notion of dating altogether?



Hi Fern,

What a great question!

I’d like to distinguish the binary you have. You ask…

“Is there such a thing as casual dating that does not involve sex? Or does casual dating= booty call, by default.”

There is so much between these concepts!

The important things for you to be are clear, kind, and respectful about what you do and don’t want. You don’t want to feel like a booty call, and you also don’t feel ready for a true relationship right now. That’s fine. There’s a lot that fits between those two extremes; casually dating a nice, fun guy who’s similarly not ready for commitment, for example, or seeing a fun guy who clearly respects and enjoys you while also, you know, being clear about what you are and are not.

There is a world of nuance in between the two extremes you listed above and you shouldn’t be afraid to explore it. Just keep a clear head and be honest to your partner (and yourself) and you’ll be set.

Don’t force yourself to extremes for the sake of simplicity. Don’t over-think or over-stress if you can manage to, which is easier said than done, I know.

Other than that? Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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