New City

Relocating to a New City

Are you heading to a new location for a job, for a significant other or because it’s just where you want to be? No matter the reason, moving somewhere new can be stressful. Read the advice below and breathe….you’ll be great!

Random buildings

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 use Meetup to find 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 start exploring. Read more here.

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. Keep calm and be brave. 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 backt! 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 context and 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 and neighborhood scenes 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 trips to IKEA for that extra lamp (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. 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 taco runs with them quite as often, but you’ve already created a bond that stretches forever.

You’ll see how it goes! If you’ve done everything you could and muscled through the hard parts, and, after a year or so, you just aren’t feeling it, you can always chalk this up to Plan A and work on Plan B. We all make mistakes and then we learn from them, right? Laugh and cry as much as necessary, and know you only get to the great things in life when you take a risk or two. 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.