How to adjust to living in a big city when you go to college

How to adjust to living in a big city when you go to college

New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles are some of the largest cities in the United States and home to some of the country’s top universities. Attending college in a bustling, busy city is an exciting opportunity to learn and grow while immersing yourself in a new culture, but there will be unique challenges that may take some time to get used to. However, college in a big city is a great chance to get to know your likes and dislikes before you decide where your life will take you. These tips will help you make the most of out of spending your college years in a large city.

Live Like a Local

No matter what city your university is in, there will be many opportunities to live like a local. Skip the Starbucks and find a local coffee shop that makes you feel at home. Research local eateries and other locations where you can get a feel for the city. Volunteering with local non-profits is a great way to get more comfortable and make new connections in your new home. Spending your spare time in the vibrant communities that surround city universities can open your eyes to a new side of your city.

Be a Tourist

If you are living in a large American city, you live where other people vacation. Whether it’s visiting the Empire State Building in New York City or taking a tour of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., acting like a tourist in the city can be a fun way to see your home in a new way. Viator is an excellent resource for finding tours and activities in large cities. Take the time to learn about the history of your city and the United States by taking tours, such as a Revolutionary War Tour if you are attending school in Boston. Understanding the past and present of your new home can help you decide if you want to be part of its future after graduation.

Learn to Navigate

Living in a large city means you will be sharing space will millions of other people, so you’ll need to learn your way around quickly. Learning to navigate local public transportation can save you time and money. Some cities offer free bus lines, but you may also want to buy a metro or subway pass to get from one side of your city to the other efficiently. When class is over, grab a friend and take the time to explore different areas of the city that you aren’t as familiar with. This is a great way to get acclimated, and you may stumble upon your new favorite spot in the city.

How to adjust to living in a big city when you go to college

Make a Budget that Works for You

Living in a big city can often be more expensive than attending school in a small town, which can be difficult on a college budget. The cost of living in some American cities can seem overwhelming at first, but creating a budget that works for you can help avoid financial stress. It is helpful to slow down and space out expensive outings to fit within your budget. Also, avoiding large purchases can help save money for exciting adventures or nights out with friends. If your apartment is unfurnished, furniture rental allows you to save money, move with ease and change your style as you go.

Getting comfortable in a new place can take time, but these tips can help make attending a university in a large city feel like the perfect fit.

It’s common for people to move in search of new experiences, opportunities, and change. That whole cliché about finding yourself? Relocating can help with that discovery.

But the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Moving to a new city should be a well-thought out decision rather than a rash one, in which you truly consider the pros and cons of what you’re giving up in exchange for what you’ll be getting in your new life.

It can be tempting to pack up your bags when you see your peers posting about their “new chapters” in new cities on social media. But what’s right for them may not be right for you, and that’s OK.

Before you decide on a fresh start somewhere else, think about you why you want to move. If any of the reasons below apply to you, it may be a sign that it’s not the right time to relocate.

You’re bored with your job

If you’re unhappy at work, talk to your boss about taking on new projects or moving into a new department to switch things up before taking any drastic steps.

If that doesn’t help or you’ve exhausted the job search in your current city, relocating for a job can be a great decision if it means you’ll be in a place or at a company where you can build a career you feel you wouldn’t have been able to elsewhere.

But while relocating can expand your opportunities, you need to make sure they outweigh any other effects moving might bring, and whether a job offer in a different city is truly worth the move.

Alexandra Levit, author of “Blind Spots: The 10 Business Myths You Can’t Afford to Believe on Your New Path to Success,” told Forbes that you need to make sure the job is a great fit or that employment prospects are better in the new city.

Career coach Deborah Brown-Volkman also told Forbes you should relocate only “because you want to, and not because you should.”

You’re stuck in a rut

If you’re bored with more than just work, you might just be in a rut. A change of scenery may seem wise, but it likely won’t change how you feel — at least in the long term.

Try to expand your horizons locally before expanding them even further — the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

Is there a new park or restaurant you haven’t checked out yet? If you’re feeling bored with your everyday routine, switch it up: Take a new route to work, pick up a new hobby on the weekends, or stroll through a new neighborhood to see if you can find anything to inspire or stimulate you.

Even if it doesn’t seem like it now, homesickness is inevitable for many following a move. It might be even worse if, once gone, you realize you haven’t soaked up all the experiences you could have in your former city. New experiences are crucial to growth, but before you search for that elsewhere, make sure you’ve taken full advantage of where you are now.

You feel like something’s missing, but haven’t made enough effort to find it

Many people relocate because they feel that there’s something missing and think they’ll find it elsewhere. But before you move in an attempt to fill that void, make sure you’ve exhausted all of your options in your current location.

If you feel like you’re lacking a strong social circle, have you attended networking events or joined a local club or sports team to make new friends? If you’re in a dead-end job, have you truly put in the time and dedication a job search warrants? If you’re seeking more culture, have you looked into the showtimes for local plays or researched nearby art galleries and upcoming art fairs?

Put in all the effort you can before you decide to pick up your life and move. This is especially true if you’re relatively new to your area — give yourself time to explore, evolve, and adjust.

You won’t have a support system in a new city

For some, moving to a new city where they don’t know a soul is an exciting challenge to branch out and make new friends. For others, expanding their social circle is a huge effort and the loneliness of not being near a support system isn’t worth it.

Some prefer stability and comfortability — if you identify with those characteristics, there’s nothing wrong with that. You just have to weigh what factors are most important to your life — if being in close proximity to your friends or family is high up there, and most are currently located where you are, moving may not be in your best interest.

You can’t afford it

Sometimes, the feasibility of a move lies in its practicality, especially when it comes to finances. While it can be argued that there’s never really a “right time” for anything, it can also be argued that there are better times for some things when money is a factor.

From packing and shipping to security deposits and broker fees, moving is expensive, especially if you want to relocate to a city with a higher cost of living. Sometimes it’s best to wait until you’ve built up a small nest egg to put towards moving expenses.

Don’t let stories of people moving to a big city with $400 in their pocket, a suitcase in their hand, and dreams in their head fool you. The ride can get rough and you don’t want to flounder for a few years while trying to get your feet on the ground.

You’re running away from your problems

Moving to a new place may seem like it solves your problems, but it really only numbs them until they resurface. Your problems don’t lie in a place; they lie within you and won’t go away until you learn how to resolve them on your own.

Psychologist Elizabeth Stirling told the New York Times , “No matter how much you move, you still take yourself with you.”

While relocating can be a means of growth, it won’t magically conjure up a new, better you. Only you can do that.

You’re moving for a loved one

Moving for a loved one is a big step. It’s not a bad reason to move, per se, but it’s important to make sure you’re doing it because you want to.

A survey by Homes.com found that 43% of people who moved for love wouldn’t do it again.

Look at the bigger picture — if you subtract your significant other from the equation, is there anything in the new city that will make you happy? Are there good job prospects, friends you know, or activities you will enjoy? If not, it may not be time to move just yet.

” You can’t make someone happy unless you are happy,” wrote Natasha Koifman in a blog for Huffington Post. “A relationship will not fulfill you unless you fulfill yourself.”

It’s a huge commitment to take on a new city with someone, especially if you’re relatively early in your relationship. You don’t want to make a big move for someone else and not get your happily ever after — it’s even worse if the city does nothing for you.

How to adjust to living in a big city when you go to college

I am someone who breaks up with states more often than Taylor Swift used to break up her famous boyfriends, but every so often, your life will force you to take a look at your surroundings and just know that you are 600% done with where you are and what you’re doing there. Sometimes it is as simple as changing your point of view, or maybe moving to a new apartment in the city you already live in. Different points in your life will necessitate change to come in different ways, to varying degrees—a radical upheaval of your entire existence isn’t always necessary But just as often, it might be your gut telling you that you need to get yourself straight out of the state (or time zone or country or. ) you are living in. Even if there’s nothing wrong on the surface of your life where you currently are, you know yourself well enough to know when you are in the right place, and when it might be time to consider a major change.

Having lived in—*takes deep breath*—Tennessee, Washington, California, Virginia, and New York, I have, if nothing else, seen a large spectrum of how people, attitudes, and circumstances shift from state-to-state. Change is not as far out of reach as it can sometimes feel. If you are feeling out of place right now, there is undoubtedly somewhere you could be living where you wouldn’t feel that way anymore. So how do you know if that feeling in the pit of your stomach is telling you to pack up and bail out? Luckily, there are a lot of signs:

You get major FOMO living where you live now

This is the very same circumstance that helped Taylor Swift lure Selena Gomez to New York: If all the cool things are happening somewhere else, quit moping around and being jealous—just go.

You went on a trip and were sad to leave

Someday in your life, you will have an experience where you visit a city and love it so much that it will feel weird going home. It’s different (although confusingly, annoying related) from the feeling of just having loved a vacation and being bummed to return to real life. If it feels weirdly like you’re leaving home, rather than heading back to it, listen to that feeling. If somewhere else seems more attractive than the nice warm bed and Netflix subscription waiting for you at home, that’s nothing to ignore.

There are too many bad memories attached to where you live

Sometimes moving to another state isn’t a matter of something pulling you toward the new place, but pushing you away from the old place. Maybe it was a particularly rough break-up, or a series of terrible job experiences, or a death. I’m not advocating adopting a habit of running from your problems, but if bad memories are genuinely affecting your ability to feel happy and healthy and functional where you live, moving to another state might be what you need to get that bad taste out of your mouth once and for all.

You are constantly asking your friends who moved away what it’s like

Even before you consciously understand it might be time for you to move, your unconscious self is starting to consider it by harassing all your long-distance friends, particularly the ones who live somewhere you might want to live.

You are hesitant to make long-term commitments where you live now

You’ve stopped looking at new jobs on LinkedIn. You never open the e-mail blasts telling you what’s going on in your neighborhood. You’ve even stopped swiping right. If you find yourself oddly reluctant to plant your roots any deeper than you already have, it might be because you are looking to make a getaway, even if you haven’t come to terms with it yet.

You have talked about moving before

Nobody likes the person who cried “move.” I know this because I am that person. Half the time when I say I’m moving, I put it off a kazillion months and then lurk off randomly because I’m embarrassed it took so long. It’s. awkward. The important takeaway here is this: If you’re talking about moving, it’s going to happen. You might think it’s a matter of “if,” but at the point when you talk about it all the time, it’s really a matter of “when.”

You have major road rage where you live now

OK, I know—you can get road rage anywhere, anytime. But one of the number one symptoms of not being able to even with a place is getting disproportionately worked up on your drive. Sure, traffic sucks no matter what, and it’s not like you’re going to LOVE gridlock somewhere else, but let’s have an honest moment right now: All that yelling and fist-shaking? Is it REALLY about the traffic jam, or are you just kinda done with this whole city right now?

Your career goals would be better served elsewhere

No matter what industry you’re working in, there is likely at least one city that is the figurative Mecca of that field. For my sister and her fellow tech nerds, it’s Seattle and San Francisco; for my actor friends it’s Los Angeles; for me, it happens to be New York. You don’t necessarily have to move to reach peak success in your career, but it certainly helps, and it’ll be a relief to live near people who actually know what you’re talking about for once.

You want to be closer to your family

It doesn’t matter how old you are or how long it’s been—if you feel like you want to move and be closer to the humans you love, there’s no shame in that.

Or, alternatively, you want to move further away from your family

Not everybody gets merrily along with the ‘rents and sibs. If you’ve got the guts to strike it out on your own, more power to you. Even if you do get along with your family, sometimes it’s nice to get a break and get a sense for who you are on your own.

You don’t agree with the typical points of view of your state

This is a biggie: some areas, for instance, are such a mix of progressive and traditionally-minded people that you really never know which you’re talking to until you’ve accidentally offended someone. My experience in Nashville was very much this way. There is a huge divide in the city on important social issues, and sometimes the intolerant half is louder than the tolerant one. And although I’m all for sticking around and fighting the good fight where it most needs fighting, it can be too upsetting to live in a place where people have drastically different views than you, or where you’re surrounded by mindsets and moral codes that feel unshakably problematic to you. Just because someone is entitled to their opinion doesn’t mean you have to stick around and hear it.

You are too cold/too hot/generally can’t take the weather anymore

I am the whiniest person ever when it comes to the weather, so I’m the last one to judge people for moving somewhere where the sun shines or somewhere it doesn’t. The weather can have major effects on your health and psychological well-being. It may seem drastic to move because you’re chilly every now and then, but once you consider how it will weigh on you over time and it doesn’t seem so crazy anymore.

You just need a change

Human beings are actually alive for a really freaking long time, compared to other animals. And who wants to spend it all experiencing the same things in the same town over and over until they’re dead? There are so many things to experience and eat and talk about that are beyond where you’re living now, and if you want to be a part of it, there’s no better time to go than right now.

Ask yourself these questions to know whether you’re making the right decision.

How to adjust to living in a big city when you go to college

How to adjust to living in a big city when you go to college

Whether you’re serious about packing up and calling an entirely new city home—or simply daydreaming about a fresh start somewhere far, far away—there are a few questions to consider before you start looking up moving companies and plunking down deposits (or down payments). These gut checks can help you decide whether you’re making the right choice.

What Type of Environment Do I Thrive In?

Do you like bustling cities or do you need a little space between you and your neighbor? Think about the places where you feel the most comfortable, so you can narrow down whether you should live in the heart of a city, out in the suburbs, or way out in the country. (This list of the top 10 cities to move to right now may help you on that front.)

What’s the Weather Like There?

Fixer Upper may have made you fall in love with Chip and Joanna Gaines’s world, but before you move to Waco, imagine 90+ degree temperatures for one third of the year. If you can handle the heat, keep it in the running.

How Close Do I Need to Be to the Water?

Or mountains? Or just nature in general? Think about how much the landscape impacts your mood.

Can I Find a Job There?

So you’ve narrowed it down: You need your own private island! Perfect! How will you pay your mortgage on this beachfront dream? If you work remotely, you can skip ahead. For everyone else, check out one of these top 25 cities for jobseekers.

If you’re planning on finding a job after you move, experts recommend having at least three months’ worth of expenses (rent included!) before you load up that U-Haul.

How Much Does it Actually Cost to Live There?

Some of the most desirable places to live come with the least desirable price tags. Do a sweep of sales listings in the area to see what you could get for your budget—and get a sense of how long your commute may be to get the square footage (or setting) you crave near the area you’ve been dreaming of. Just because it’s pricey doesn’t mean it’s off-limits; just check out our roundup of the most expensive places to live in the U.S.—and the most affordable neighborhoods nearby.

How Noisy Will It Be There?

That question may seem odd at first, until you consider that 17 percent of people struggle to sleep after moving due to the noise pollution in their area. If you’re considering moving close to the highway—or from the country to the city—pay close attention to how loud it is while you tour a potential home. Is it something a fan or white noise machine can fix, or will it slowly drive you insane?

What Are the Schools Like?

As you zero in on a neighborhood, it’s a critical question to consider—and not just if you have kids or plan on raising a family. If you don’t have kids, you may find that moving to worse districts works in your favor: On average, homes near high-ranking schools cost 49 percent more than the national median, the Chicago Tribune reported.

What Are the Property Taxes Like?

If you’re buying a house, this can make a huge difference in your annual expenses. Don’t gloss over it.

How Safe Will I Feel There?

While it’s worth asking people in the area about the neighborhood, you can also use sites like CrimeReports and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Sex Offender Search to get a sense for what types of crimes have been reported in your area, how that compares to the national average, and how close you’ll be living to a registered offender. Additionally, sites like Niche offer a snapshot into crime in neighborhoods nationwide, providing an A through F grade for each.

Why Do I Really Want to Move?

Ah, the deep, soul-searching question that only you (or you, with the help of a therapist) can answer. Are you trying to escape your past? Is your family driving you nuts? Are you running away from a problem. that will likely follow you wherever you go, until you get to the root of what’s bothering you? Knowing your true intentions behind a big move can make it a lot easier to adjust to a new area, and prevent that “I gotta get out of here!” feeling from creeping up again, once you’ve settled in to the minutiae of everyday life.

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How to adjust to living in a big city when you go to college

Nothing screams “adulthood” more than packing up your bags and relocating to a new city. But what people sometimes forget to mention is that after the liberation high wears off, it can be quite challenging to adjust and find your “new normal” — especially if you’ve made the decision to move out on your own. Unlike college, where you lived with people who were going through the same transitions as you, you’re now dealing with roommates, coworkers, and friends who are all at very different points in their lives. I’ve been living in Manhattan for a few months now, and I’d be lying if I said there were never moments when I didn’t feel completely lost and alone in this city of eight million people.

Whether your move is taking you to a big city like New York or just the town over from your childhood home, loneliness happens. But, in my experience, you can use your loneliness as an inspiration to explore your new home and feel yourself fall in love with it over and over again, every day. Here’s what worked for me.

1. Bring Indoor Activities Outside

Once a week, I make a conscious effort to bring my favorite books and magazines to the park for an outdoor reading session. Set up a picnic blanket and enjoy your favorite quiet activities; like reading, writing, or playing guitar surrounded by others. If it’s too cold or rainy, go to a coffee house or nearby bookstore. Besides being a source of creative inspiration, you’re bound to chat with at least one or two people when you’re outside.

2. Befriend Your Roommates (Or Neighbors)

If you’re starting out on your own, a roommate is more of a necessity than an option, especially in expensive cities. Instead of making a checklist of things they do that irritate you, try and embrace living with someone new — while my roommates and I don’t socialize outside of the apartment all that much, we do make an effort to check in on one another and ask about work and life in general. Sometimes, after a long day of battling coworkers and messing up at the morning meeting, a simple “how are you,” or “do you want to order pizza tonight?” can completely alter your mood.

3. Find A Routine

As a self-proclaimed Type A personality, the biggest way I fought loneliness in a naturally overwhelming city was by creating and maintaining, a basic routine. Days in New York are never boring and are hardly ever the same, so having a few small tasks you can depend on every day can be more comforting than you even realize.

4. Utilize A Guidebook

Find a guidebook or travel blog you love, and use the author’s recommendations as starting points for your adventures. It’s so easy to get lost in basic and bland tourism traps, especially in big cities, so I tend to shy away from mainstream guidebooks and instead listen to recommendations from travel bloggers or writers who target more than just the “essentials.” The next time you’re bored and looking for something to do, think of a random number, flip to that specific page in your guidebook and go visit the place on the page — no questions asked.

5. Phone Home

Seriously. Whatever your definition of “home” is, call someone from there. Laugh, cry, and complain about life and the responsibilities that come with growing up. The simple act of talking to someone who knows your past experiences and can share them with you will help you feel less alone.

6. Go It Alone

Fighting loneliness by going out alone exploring your new city on your own is both exciting and empowering. Want to spend four hours at a museum? Do it. In the mood to go on an obscure walking tour or eat out at restaurant that serves interesting cuisine? Then go! When you travel alone, you’re completely in control of your itinerary, and you only have to worry about making yourself happy. Consider yourself a traveller in your new city. You’ll not only be developing a deeper relationship with your city, but with yourself, too.

7. Sign Up For A Class Or Club

We all have passions and hobbies we don’t always get to nurture because of our chaotic work lives and commitments to family and friends. By signing up for a class or club, you’re not only going to meet people with similar interests, but you’re promising yourself some time each week to do something that you truly enjoy. My coworker takes comedy improv classes once a week after work; I’ve been cycling and am looking forward to taking ballet and cooking classes with friends this summer.

8. Find Your Own Central Perk

Having a “spot” (other than your apartment), can really help your city feel like home. There’s a sense of security in having a go-to place in town to escape the stresses of everyday life. Try and find a local coffee shop, bar, or bakery that reflects the character of your city. Order their most popular dish, people watch, and invite your friends to join you so you can make your own sitcom-worthy memories.

9. Go Antiquing

There’s no better time than the summer to check out your city’s flea markets and antique shops. You’ll naturally engage with people as you learn about the culture and history of your city (and score some one-of-a-kind gifts and apartment finds, too). Get there early, when you’ll have the biggest selection of items to pick from, and make a day of it. If sifting through other people’s old items isn’t for you, farmer’s markets are a great alternative. Use your fresh fare to host a food and wine pairing party with your friends and roommates that evening.

10. Just Say ‘Yes’

When you say yes — to dinner, a date, a spin class, a concert in the park — the opportunities are endless. By saying “no,” you shut down any chance of something spontaneous, unexpected, or serendipitous happening to you. Predictability can be nice, but it can also be stifling. I’m not telling you to say yes to everything (that might be dangerous) — but whenever you have to pause and think about what your choices, try just saying yes a few more times than you say no — and see where it leads you.

It’s common for people to move in search of new experiences, opportunities, and change. That whole cliché about finding yourself? Relocating can help with that discovery.

But the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Moving to a new city should be a well-thought out decision rather than a rash one, in which you truly consider the pros and cons of what you’re giving up in exchange for what you’ll be getting in your new life.

It can be tempting to pack up your bags when you see your peers posting about their “new chapters” in new cities on social media. But what’s right for them may not be right for you, and that’s OK.

Before you decide on a fresh start somewhere else, think about you why you want to move. If any of the reasons below apply to you, it may be a sign that it’s not the right time to relocate.

You’re bored with your job

If you’re unhappy at work, talk to your boss about taking on new projects or moving into a new department to switch things up before taking any drastic steps.

If that doesn’t help or you’ve exhausted the job search in your current city, relocating for a job can be a great decision if it means you’ll be in a place or at a company where you can build a career you feel you wouldn’t have been able to elsewhere.

But while relocating can expand your opportunities, you need to make sure they outweigh any other effects moving might bring, and whether a job offer in a different city is truly worth the move.

Alexandra Levit, author of “Blind Spots: The 10 Business Myths You Can’t Afford to Believe on Your New Path to Success,” told Forbes that you need to make sure the job is a great fit or that employment prospects are better in the new city.

Career coach Deborah Brown-Volkman also told Forbes you should relocate only “because you want to, and not because you should.”

You’re stuck in a rut

If you’re bored with more than just work, you might just be in a rut. A change of scenery may seem wise, but it likely won’t change how you feel — at least in the long term.

Try to expand your horizons locally before expanding them even further — the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

Is there a new park or restaurant you haven’t checked out yet? If you’re feeling bored with your everyday routine, switch it up: Take a new route to work, pick up a new hobby on the weekends, or stroll through a new neighborhood to see if you can find anything to inspire or stimulate you.

Even if it doesn’t seem like it now, homesickness is inevitable for many following a move. It might be even worse if, once gone, you realize you haven’t soaked up all the experiences you could have in your former city. New experiences are crucial to growth, but before you search for that elsewhere, make sure you’ve taken full advantage of where you are now.

You feel like something’s missing, but haven’t made enough effort to find it

Many people relocate because they feel that there’s something missing and think they’ll find it elsewhere. But before you move in an attempt to fill that void, make sure you’ve exhausted all of your options in your current location.

If you feel like you’re lacking a strong social circle, have you attended networking events or joined a local club or sports team to make new friends? If you’re in a dead-end job, have you truly put in the time and dedication a job search warrants? If you’re seeking more culture, have you looked into the showtimes for local plays or researched nearby art galleries and upcoming art fairs?

Put in all the effort you can before you decide to pick up your life and move. This is especially true if you’re relatively new to your area — give yourself time to explore, evolve, and adjust.

You won’t have a support system in a new city

For some, moving to a new city where they don’t know a soul is an exciting challenge to branch out and make new friends. For others, expanding their social circle is a huge effort and the loneliness of not being near a support system isn’t worth it.

Some prefer stability and comfortability — if you identify with those characteristics, there’s nothing wrong with that. You just have to weigh what factors are most important to your life — if being in close proximity to your friends or family is high up there, and most are currently located where you are, moving may not be in your best interest.

You can’t afford it

Sometimes, the feasibility of a move lies in its practicality, especially when it comes to finances. While it can be argued that there’s never really a “right time” for anything, it can also be argued that there are better times for some things when money is a factor.

From packing and shipping to security deposits and broker fees, moving is expensive, especially if you want to relocate to a city with a higher cost of living. Sometimes it’s best to wait until you’ve built up a small nest egg to put towards moving expenses.

Don’t let stories of people moving to a big city with $400 in their pocket, a suitcase in their hand, and dreams in their head fool you. The ride can get rough and you don’t want to flounder for a few years while trying to get your feet on the ground.

You’re running away from your problems

Moving to a new place may seem like it solves your problems, but it really only numbs them until they resurface. Your problems don’t lie in a place; they lie within you and won’t go away until you learn how to resolve them on your own.

Psychologist Elizabeth Stirling told the New York Times , “No matter how much you move, you still take yourself with you.”

While relocating can be a means of growth, it won’t magically conjure up a new, better you. Only you can do that.

You’re moving for a loved one

Moving for a loved one is a big step. It’s not a bad reason to move, per se, but it’s important to make sure you’re doing it because you want to.

A survey by Homes.com found that 43% of people who moved for love wouldn’t do it again.

Look at the bigger picture — if you subtract your significant other from the equation, is there anything in the new city that will make you happy? Are there good job prospects, friends you know, or activities you will enjoy? If not, it may not be time to move just yet.

” You can’t make someone happy unless you are happy,” wrote Natasha Koifman in a blog for Huffington Post. “A relationship will not fulfill you unless you fulfill yourself.”

It’s a huge commitment to take on a new city with someone, especially if you’re relatively early in your relationship. You don’t want to make a big move for someone else and not get your happily ever after — it’s even worse if the city does nothing for you.

How to adjust to living in a big city when you go to college

I have always been someone who associated the

with professional advancement. I grew up in the suburbs of Vancouver, and as a teenager, I was captivated by the thrill of crossing the harbor into downtown to coexist with the seemingly endless flow of impressive business people with perfectly-tailored suits and black umbrellas (it rains a lot in Vancouver). Downtown meant all things exciting, especially because I was cut off from it. The only time I’ve lived in a small town (much smaller from the suburbs my parents live in) was when I worked on a small island, and rode my bike to work. I worked at a bakery, and spent a great deal of time thinking about how much my faster my career would move if I lived somewhere else. (This was all contemplated while I hauled compost bins outside.) Recently, I moved from my parents’ house in the suburbs to the downtown area near my university. I couldn’t wait to move: I thought that if everyone wanted to live somewhere, it must mean that it was a better idea. I thought that being

would naturally just be better for one’s career, no matter what that career was.

Many contributors on TFD have written about rejecting the narrative of the “big city dream” and moving to smaller cities and towns where the rent prices are much lower. Small towns can be a viable alternative when it comes to smart financial planning in your 20s, but for many people in specific industries, big cities are the only option. However, as someone nearing their college graduation, I am personally learning that small towns can provide more professional value than I initially thought.

It’s difficult to offhandedly guess the ratio of job seekers to available positions in a city, but I decided I wanted to consider it from the perspective of the laws of supply and demand. In classical theory, when the availability of people is greater than the demand for labor, wages would fall until the market cleared. When we factor in a minimum wage and the fact that real-life job markets are actually imperfect beasts, this complicates things even further. Of course, this is just speculation, but it does stand to reason that many post-grads search for months before finding a position because, in some fields, the demand for labor is less than the supply of people looking.

I thought that post-grad anxiety was a common state of affairs until a few recent experiences piqued my interest. My friend who graduated from college in Nova Scotia recently told me that she spent only a week and a half unemployed after being suddenly let go from her post-grad summer position. She didn’t have any specific leads or connections, but happily fell into her first ‘career job’ after finding a perfect online posting. She’s now working in the administrative and sales department for a real estate company, and making $42,000 per year (Canadian) right out of college. I asked her what she attributed this to, and she told me she was in the right place at the right time.

My thought is that in a smaller town, you have a good chance of getting hired because you have a smaller applicant pool to beat, which could also translate into moving up quicker, or having more opportunities to prove yourself. According to Chartered Accountants, this is called “downsizing your competition” and “upsizing your skills set.” Indeed, my friend pointed out that the town’s growing real estate market is likely to create opportunities for her. She’s happily plugging away at building a life for herself in a smaller, less “glamorous” city than the rest of the graduates I know. Not only does she have a good professional opportunity, but she is renting a nice one-bedroom for $850/month (again, Canadian) in Halifax, which is a decent chunk less than what she might pay in Vancouver.

Forbes.com interviewed expert Sarah Fuller, who published a book called Job Search Beyond The Big Cities. When discussing starting her career in a smaller city, Fuller says, “I started as media relations coordinator and ended up as associate director of media relations supervising three people within the three-and-a-half years I was there. I was only 23, and I never would have gotten that big opportunity in a larger city. I was working with celebrities and such large publications. There’s no way I would have been able to do that if I was one of so many people in Atlanta or New York City.”

While her interview is slightly dated, I think the lesson still rings true: for some, a smaller city can really be the smart financial and professional move.

Less than two days after I spoke with my friend in real estate, I had an informational interview with a lawyer who graduated from the same university I go to, and now works about four hours away from a major city. We were chatting about government positions, and he told me that, contrary to popular belief, smaller municipalities were desperate for lawyers. Government jobs often require moving, he pointed out, and there are currently more opportunities because less young people are willing to move to take positions as older lawyers retire. He said that in Northern Canada, the perks to take a job are sometimes even better; there are government subsidies offered to those who move to more remote areas.

I was very interested to find that both people I talked to supported my theory about supply and demand in major cities versus small towns. Of course, a lot of this depends on what career trajectory you want to follow, and my opinion is by no means an expert take on the situation. But more and more, I think the demand for jobs in major cities is what sets post-grads back, and that small towns could sometimes have a greater surplus of opportunities. After all, when I think back to those summers at the bakery, I was making more per hour than friends who worked retail jobs in downtown Vancouver. Yes, there is no doubt that moving to a city after graduation can be a career-boosting move. But I don’t think it’s the only way to make a career. I’m learning that in the career-building process, a flexible, innovative approach (and the willingness to move) can go a long way.

McKenzie is an international relations major in Vancouver. She likes applying economics to everyday life and pulling out the popcorn every time there’s an election.

How to adjust to living in a big city when you go to collegeWhat is that I hear outside my dorm room? Are they birds chirping or leaves rustling? Are they sounds of students on the quad or lawn mowers preparing the grounds?

Probably not if you choose to indulge yourself in what many consider one of the best learning environments in the country… an urban one. Instead of birds whistling or leaves rustling, outside the doors of your urban campus is an extended classroom that enlivens your college experience like no other.

Whether you choose to study in New York City, Boston or Chicago, an urban college experience is exciting and dynamic, and unique in a multitude of ways: endless internship opportunities, providing an excellent jump start on your career, dynamic professors who bring their careers into the classroom, and a score of cultural activities.

One of the most significant educational experiences with which an urban environment will provide you will be your exposure to diversity in every sense of the word – the richness of different peoples, cultures, beliefs, and circumstances!

Classes are over for the day; will you visit friends across campus, will you relax in the student lounge, or take that desperately needed nap? Well, you might do all of the above, but as a student studying in an urban environment, your options outside the classroom are endless! You might take advantage of the myriad of internship opportunities at a leading business, cultural arts center, communications facility, court systems or more! The hands-on approach to applying what you learn in the classroom in an internship will not only help build your resume, but also give you options when you graduate, with insight into multiple careers.

Expert Faculty with Real World Experience

That’s not my professor, isn’t that the producer, market analyst or author we talked about last week? In addition to being taught by your full-time faculty, don’t be surprised to walk into class to be taught by a person who is an expert in his or her field. They would not have to be flown to campus’ or have to take considerable time off of work to share their expertise with you. Instead this expert might come to you from right outside the doors of your campus. For example, a leading film producer might teach your Communication Arts class about the process of transforming a movie from the germ of an idea to reality on the big screen. Not only can you, as a student, take advantage of the opportunities outside the doors of an urban campus, your faculty can. Just as you are feeling and living the pulse of the city, the professionals at your college are, too.

Diverse Off-Campus Options

Should I go the movies, go bowling or go to the local campus hang out? Or, should I go to an off-Broadway show, see the latest band, explore a new museum exhibit, or visit a gallery that features emerging artists? Culturally, an urban environment can round out your education and keep you busy in ways those campuses set apart from the city might lack. To be able to walk out the doors of your college or university and soak in the culture of a city can broaden your senses, widen your scope of possibilities and compliment your formal classroom education.

Cultural Acceptance and Interaction Leads to Growth

Something many of us strive for in education is to prepare students to live in a pluralistic world and provide them with an education that exposes them to people, a variety of situations and intellectual stimuli, and which feeds their interest and commitment to contributing to the society at large. At the root of this goal is for students to know, get along with, cooperate with and appreciate differences, whether it is differences in backgrounds – in terms of ethnicity, religion, age, disability, etc, or differences in beliefs and philosophies. An urban college environment can act as an important laboratory for a student to be exposed to a wonderful variety of people who quite possibly will introduce them to the differences inherent in different cultures, generations and religions. Some might even say that an urban college environment acts like a microcosm of the world that the students will be a part of upon graduation.

Urban Campuses Come in Different Sizes

As a student in a big city, you’re almost guaranteed a rich, diverse and exciting experience. You’ll never be bored. There will be many different careers you can try out through an abundance of internship opportunities, before even graduating, and you’ll be exposed to industry experts in and out of the classroom. Some might assume that to receive this type of experience and be schooled in a major urban environment, you would have to choose a large school, but just as there are all types of institutions in rural settings, there are also variations in the cities. Marymount Manhattan College nestled right in the middle of NYC’s most thriving borough is a prime example – to some it’s “the best of both worlds” – a small, intimate liberal arts campus in the heart of New York City.

As you envision yourself in college in the next few years, you might want to swing by an urban college or university and see if you feel the excitement of a bustling city. If you like the idea of getting a jump start on your career, and if you love to learn from those who are different from you, you just might have begun to narrow your college choices!