How to Establish Yourself in a New City
If there is one thing my impulsiveness has helped me with, it would have to be the ability (and recent track record) of moving quickly and often without a second thought. Over the past year, I have lived in five different locations, four of them being in different states even, and I have loved… almost every second of it all.
Moving is hard. It can especially be tough emotionally. You get super excited to go on a new adventure in a new city! You want to meet people, see the sights, and eat the cuisine of a new home, however, it can be hard to establish yourself in a new place. I’ve learned from experience that it can be lonely and stressful at times, however, it is absolutely worth it when you find yourself faced with a new life in a new area that is all your own new adventure!
So, don’t let these fears hold you back! I have compiled a little guideline of tips that have helped me and things that have hurt me while I have recently been moving about the United States!
Guideline to Being an Impulsive Mover
*highly recommend you try it :)*
1. Make the move without breaking the bank.
Moving can be very expensive! With the travel expenses, new furniture, rent, possibly
clothes for a new job, the bills can pile up very quickly! My tip to save money while moving is look in the places no one else does! Goodwill has TONS of pieces that are usually in pretty good condition and are definitely more affordable than the big box stores! One thing I always focus on is affordability and minimalism when moving. Buy an affordable bed, you don’t need anything extravagant especially when you plan on spending most of your time out making memories in your new city! Buy the least amount of furniture you really need. You don’t need seventeen posters for your wall, so save that money to instead get to be a fun-loving foody in your new city! Facebook is a great place to find online sellers with highly discounted pieces to help you decorate your new place on a budget! There are always people selling furniture online, but just make sure you are only buying what you truly need at the price you can truly afford.
Another great way to save money is to search around your city! Don’t go to Whole Foods
just because you were told that it is the closest option for groceries when there could be a much cheaper grocery store one block further down. When I moved to DC especially, I made sure to travel around, get to know your new town, this will help when you need to go grocery shopping, clothes shopping, even when you find yourself in need of a new haircut! Knowing what and where places are will definitely help you move and not break the bank at the same time!
2. Stay in touch with friends and family
Moving can make you feel very lonely at times. You have just uprooted your life, left your
friends and family possibly behind, and shipped off to a new place filled with new faces. None of which you now recognize. Making friends takes time. You are new, so go easy on yourself if you feel lonely at times! What helped me was always staying connected to friends and family from home, college, past jobs, etc. Today, with social media and that buzzing thing in your pocket, it is easier than ever to stay in touch, so do it! Make time each week to call a friend or Facetime a family member, this helps you feel less alone while you find your tribe in your new home.
3. Step outside that comfort zone
One of my favorite things about moving is trying the new activities that each place has to
offer! In Illinois, it was camping with my family or going to a concert with friends. In DC, I found myself at jazz nights, free museums, and walks along the monuments. Now in Boston, I find myself trying new foods and checking out the street art that is found all over this beautiful city! Each place has new things to offer and putting yourself out there will for sure help with you acclimating to your new home. My top tip for this step is Groupon. Groupon is an app that helps connect you with discounted shopping items, events, gym/fitness packages, etc. They have all sorts of promotions from discounted yoga classes to money off at nail salons. This app has helped me save a lot, but also try new things I never would have even known about or thought about before! It really will open your eyes to what’s out there and help save a few bucks if you want to try something new!
4. Reach out to online communities or groups and join the pack
This step is a great way to make those friends and find those new hobbies! There are
tons of online communities and even Facebook groups geared towards connecting
people with similar interests or backgrounds in similar locations. I, for example, joined an online organization in Boston focused on volunteering in and around the city! It’s almost always free to join these types of groups, especially if they are mostly based online, and helps you find hobbies you enjoy while meeting new faces in an unfamiliar town. Fraternity and sorority groups, for example, usually have local chapters or you could even look into joining a fitness or weekly yoga class to help get yourself out there and meet people outside of your apartment building!
5. Make money in the awkward moving phase
When you move to a new place you will most likely have to begin job searching. Job
searching is super exciting, but can be super stressful at times, as well! It can take weeks to sometimes months to land that new gig in a new town, so my advice to you is finding an in-between job. Coffee shops, retail stores, even online coaching or tutoring can be easy change straight into your pocket while you search for the next career move! Moving is stressful enough, but not having an income after spending all this money to move can definitely put a damper on your new adventure! Even check out online babysitting websites or dog-walking apps, making some money is better than making none and will also allow you to do more fun activities in your new city when you have some sort of an income!
1. Be Shy
Everyone has had to start making friends somewhere, sometime in their lives, so don’t be shy to step out of your comfort zone and introduce yourself first! Whether it be the girl you sit next to at work or the guy you always see working out at the gym at the same time as you, really be confident in yourself and try to meet those new friends you want in your new city!
Another great way to make connections with others when you have just moved somewhere new is through social media! Facebook, Instagram, even LinkedIn can all be great online platforms for connections. You can simply search a hashtag related to your city or see posts where people have tagged locations near you, and message them asking to get coffee or grab dinner sometime because you are new to the city! I have met up with multiple women in Boston who are also bloggers or who share similar goals as I do from online connections. It helps you establish yourself by finding a friend group who supports your passions and may know the ‘lay of the land’ in your new city better than you do just yet!
2. Take that first job
Moving can be tough and landing a job can feel even tougher, but I urge you to not just
‘take the first thing to fall into your lap.’ Take time to really job search. Find what you want to do, where you want to do it, and for what type of company you see yourself working for. I’ve made the mistake in the past of selling myself short. I was worried I would never be hired, that I was not good enough for my dream job(s), that as soon as an offer landed in my lap, I accepted within the hour.
You are worth a good job that you enjoy. Find a job that is going to suit you emotionally,
financially, and around the lifestyle you want for yourself in your new town. I highly recommend using a local agency or checking out temp jobs at first! Local employment agencies are a great way to have someone in your corner during your job search. Big cities especially have tons of agencies filled with highly-qualified recruiters who can help you really figure out where you see yourself and then connect you to those specific opportunities in your area. My agency in Boston helped me focus in on what I was looking for and reached out to those positions that I was actually passionate about. They take a lot of the guesswork out of job searching and they are usually TOTALLY FREE! On top of that, they can help with negotiations and questions down the line once you crush that interview that you really wanted to get!
Temporary jobs are another great way to sort of take a job for a test drive. They can be anywhere from working there one day to six months and they allow you to see what the company is about, the location, the job title, etc. without being contracted to a job right away! They also give a nice little paycheck in your pocket, while you are searching for THE job with your agency or online!
Bottom line, don’t sell yourself short when job searching and jump into a job right away, only to realize a few weeks in that this was not the job for you.
3. Dwell on the past
Moving is similar to the transition from high school to college. You want to stay in touch
with old friends and I encourage you to do so in this very blog post! However, you also need to somewhat disconnect yourself and begin your new life. It can be really tempting to sit in your room alone on the weekends and just Facetime old friends from home, but you need to go out and start living here and now. You made the move to make new changes and growth in your life, and shutting out the newness because you are scared of the discomfort is not the way to go when moving to a new place. Stay connected with those you care about, but also make new connections. Staying in touch does not mean holding onto your old life. You need to be uncomfortable, you need to meet new people, and you need to work on establishing yourself in this new place and not trying to hold onto the old you that you left miles behind.
4. Question yourself when you hit bumps in the road
You are going to question why you moved a lot especially after the deed is done. I
remember hitting my first bump in the road when I moved to DC. I felt so sad and so lonely and I kept worrying that I had made a grave mistake. You moved for a reason, so support yourself, believe in yourself, and honor your choice. It may take some time to really feel settled in your new place and routine. It may be hard to always stay positive and excited for the big move you made, but I promise you if it was on your heart back then to move, then be proud that you did it and enjoy it.
It takes time to fully establish yourself in a new city, but that’s half the fun of it! You can be who you want to be and do the new, cool things you have always wanted to do! Just be yourself, support your decision to move, and in the end, this new place will feel like home in no time!