Following Your New York Dream: Tips for Relocating to the Big Apple
Many dream of becoming New Yorkers, whether they want to do so permanently, or just for a few years when they’re young. It can feel like a real victory to move to one of the biggest and most exciting cities on the planet and thrive. To paraphrase the old song, if you can succeed in New York, you can succeed anywhere. However, New York can also be challenging.
The reason that thriving there can seem like such a victory is because many people do not; they go home after a few months or a few years, broke and dispirited. How can you stop this from happening to you? Whether you want to become a denizen of the Big Apple for the rest of your life or just the rest of your 20s, the tips below can help you prepare for and enjoy this relocation.
Getting an Education
New York is expensive. If you aren’t careful, you could end up in an apartment the size of a postage stamp or in a place you share with half a dozen roommates you don’t even like. Plus, you won’t be able to take advantage of all the city has to offer if you’re broke. You’ll need a good job to ensure that you aren’t miserable, and the first step to landing a good job is getting a good education. One of the best ways to ensure you’re pursuing an education that ends up in a job in the city is by going to school there in the first place, and this is absolutely an option you should consider.
While it’s not the easiest place to be a student, the opportunities for networking and internships are unmatched in most industries, and it can be much easier to transition into working full time from a local college or university. However, plenty move there after graduation each year as well, so if your heart is set on a school elsewhere, this is entirely doable. What’s most important is that you study something that will allow you to get on a well-paid career ladder.
Wherever you choose to go to school, it probably won’t be cheap. In addition to funding from scholarships and any savings you have, you can take out student loans. It’s important that you get the best rates so that you are able to comfortably repay them. One way to do this is by visiting a marketplace that allows you to shop for and compare the best offers from top providers.
Do Your Research
Don’t just show up one day at JFK or Penn Station. Visit beforehand if you can. Talk to locals online. Find out what the different neighborhoods are like and the housing market. Know what rent is going to cost you. Understand why it may be more trouble than it’s worth to own a car. Be ready for hot summers and cold winters and know what you’re getting into.
It can be hard to start in a new place where you don’t know anyone. You’ll need to be assertive about getting to know people, and it can feel a little strange sometimes, particularly if you’re coming from the place where you grew up or straight from college, where you’re constantly meeting new people. You might suddenly realize that you don’t know how to make friends when you don’t have a ready-made social group. This is one reason some people end up with a lot of work friends, but that’s not ideal for everyone and it can also make it tough to leave a job that’s not right for you.
To make friends, think back to what you used to do as a kid. You asked people to do stuff with you. That hasn’t changed, whether you’re seven or 27 and whether it’s your elementary school or New York City. Don’t hesitate to connect with people and ask them to join you for coffee, museum visits, bar crawls, a run in the park or anything else you enjoy. If they say no, ask someone else.
Choose Your Neighborhood Carefully
One important thing to keep in mind about living in New York is that while the world is at your fingertips, it can be an awfully long subway ride to get to those fingertips. Mixed metaphors aside, you’re going to be much happier if you don’t have a long commute for both work and fun. If you can’t have a short commute for both, take the longer work commute and live somewhere fun. Pick a neighborhood that feels like you and you’ll greatly enhance your quality of life.
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