May 4, 2017

Relocating to a New City



You might be heading to a new location for a job, for a significant other or because it’s just where you want to be. In any case, moving somewhere new can bring up a lot of emotional and logistical worries. Be ready for the ups and downs with some encouraging advice.

You’ll make friends.
You may have the most amazing apartment and a great job and even a decent roommate who willingly takes out the garbage. But if you don’t have a good friend or two, a new city can feel pretty lonely. So where do you meet people? Not sitting on your couch. Join an Alpha Phi alumnae chapter in the area, take a class, join junior league, attend a free concert in the park, volunteer and check out meetup.com for people with similar interests (just remember to be safe and follow your instincts if anyone seems suspicious). Then make a connection with someone who seems like a potential friend. Exchange phone numbers and know that you might need to be the one who makes the first call. Bottom line: Be proactive, take the initiative and get off your couch and start exploring.

You’ll feel settled.
It’s a weird feeling moving from a place where you were the expert to a place where you don’t even know where the nearest Starbucks is. Don’t panic and don’t be paralyzed by fear of the unknown. It’ll take some trial and error to find what you’re looking for, and when you do, give yourself a pat on the back because you did it! You can always ask around too—and if you don’t know anyone, start by connecting with the Alpha Phi alumnae chapter in the area. Mostly remember, it’s a learning curve and all part of the adventure. Pretty soon, you’ll be showing around visitors like you own the place.

You’ll learn how to get around.
One of the best ways to learn a new city is to get lost in it. Just be aware of the sketchy neighborhoods so you don’t end up in a dangerous situation. Invest in a city map that you can actually hold in your hand—GPS does a great job of directing us places, but it falls short on presenting the big picture. Study the map to understand where your apartment is in relation to work, to the gym and to the nearest train or bus station. Traveling by public transportation through a new city also gives you a great perspective on how close or far everything is. Taking the bus might be slower than a train, but sometimes that’s a good thing because you can catch street names as you roll by. Never hesitate to ask a train attendant or bus driver which way you should go—in some cities (New York, we’re talking to you), they may not be cheerful, but they’ll be helpful.

You’ll have enough money. Moving costs a lot, between the security deposits and the new cleaning supplies and the trip to IKEA for a new bedspread (and a few other things), it just does. Plus, there will be unexpected costs, like that parking ticket you got because you didn’t know the street cleaning schedule. In other words, you might be feeling a financial pinch for a little while. It’s expected, but it doesn’t have to last long if you listen to your inner accountant and reign in spending enough to feel sturdy again. Do your best to keep away from credit card debt: It’s a nasty lesson to learn the hard way that racking up debt and its interest only benefits the bank, not you. Be smart about it and you’ll hit that financial balance between splurging and paying your rent on time.

You’ll be challenged and be OK.
Without a safety net of people you know, everything will seem a little harder. Just know that it gets easier, but it also takes some time and patience. After a few weeks of floundering, you might think you made a huge mistake, but push through it. Give yourself at least a year to acclimate. It might not seem like it, but life will fall into place. Call your Alpha Phi sisters for a venting session and then get back to making your new city your new home. In the end, you’ll have faced your fears and learned valuable life lessons, including how strong you are.

You’ll keep in touch with your Alpha Phi sisters. You’ve likely realized by now that graduating is bittersweet. One of the incredible aspects of being a member of Alpha Phi is that, no matter where you go and where you are, your sisters will always be there. You might not be able to share breakfast, lunch, dinner and midnight ice cream runs with them quite as often, but you’ve already created a bond that stretches across state and even country lines.

You’ll see how it goes!
If you’ve done everything you could and muscled through the hard parts, and you’ve been in your new place for more than a year, but you just aren’t feeling it, you can always chalk this up to Plan A gone wrong and work on Plan B. We all make mistakes and then we learn from them, right? We might laugh about it or cry, but it’s OK. You only get to the great things in life when you take a risk or two, and sometimes that means falling on our faces a few times. Dust yourself off, take stock of what worked and what didn’t, make a graceful exit and move on.

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