In American culture, most young people idealize the thought of picking up our life and moving to our “dream” destination. This is especially true for those who have recently graduated from college and are ready to start life on their own. Once the initial excitement of moving wears away, navigating life in a new city can be challenging and lonely for those who make this move. Whether moving for a new job, chasing childhood dreams, or acting on a whim:
Be proactive and patient to turn “stress in the city” into “success in the city.”
In September 2013 I decided it was time to move to a new city because my year-long internship in North Carolina was ending in December. I was ready to write a new chapter in the story of my life. I picked up my southern roots and planted them in Washington, D.C. The fast-pace environment combined with its rich history convinced me that D.C. is my “dream” destination.
I have been in D.C. for a little over two months. In my short time living in here, I have experienced many ups and downs. I have learned that cities are great for young adults, but moving is no walk in the park or the National Mall. Financial stability, effort, and confidence are all key components to making the most of a new city. As important are social skills I put into this list:
Haley's 4 Social Skills to Turn Stress into Success
- Network "Authentically": Be genuine when you are networking so you don't come across as a "user." Follow up with your new contacts the next day because that professional can be the person who gives you your next job. For me, body language is important because of its power to communicate attributes people will want in a co-worker. Instead of slouching or looking down at the ground which screams lack of confidence, smile and make eye contact which says confidence, inviting, and approachable.
- Join a Club: As soon as I moved to D.C., I joined a running club which is how I met Viviana Hurtado, Ph.D. and founder of The Wise Latina Club. Book clubs, intramural sports, trivia nights, and alumni groups are great ways to widen your circle of contacts beyond work through a shared interest.
- Find a Trustworthy Mentor: Seek out someone seasoned professionally and in life to challenge and give direction. In addition to learning the ropes, she may open doors--crucial for attaining professional, social, and financial success.
- Be Patient: Finding friends and feeling comfortable in a city do not happen overnight. Remember we each reach success at our own pace. Keeping in mind that often times it's not the destination but the journey, celebrate the small victories such as making a new friend or joining a new club. As the days, weeks, and months pass, your new city will begin to feel like home sweet home.
Moving to a new city is a time to be challenged and grow. Enjoy it. Walk confidently, knowing that many others have been through the same life transition and succeeded.
A food enthusiast and native Georgia Peach, Haley recently graduated from Appalachian State University with a Bachelors of Science in Sustainable Development. Currently interning in the office of Congressman Sanford Bishop, she is passionate about the outdoors, improved access to quality education for all, public policy, and documenting "from stress to success in the city." Click here to read more about and connect with Haley.
Edited by: Viviana Hurtado, Ph.D.“What have you found helpful when moving to a new city?”