This summer a dream internship with Lucky magazine moved me from Austin, Texas, where I’ve spent all 21 years of my life, to New York City for the summer. Come along for the ride and follow me through this column as I take on all that the city has in store for me. I’ll share tips I’ve picked up along the way about everything from how to pack (stop, drop and roll people!) to dating to fitting in (or standing out) and so much more.
Tip #1 – If you have the means, go where your industry takes you during your undergrad years to prepare yourself for post-grad life.
The wisest advice I’ve ever been given was from one of my professors my freshman year of college. He pushed up his elbow-patched sleeves and sternly looked me in the eye and said, “Go where your industry takes you, even if you’re scared out of your mind — Go.” As a journalism major aspiring to work in women’s magazines, I put my college education to good use and figured that at some point my industry would take me to New York; I guess I just didn’t think it’d be before graduation.
Tip #2 – If you’re relocating, plan a free week before you start working.
I found out about landing my dream internship with Lucky early spring and though I’d known all along it would entail moving to New York for the summer, it didn’t really sink in until I was on the plane headed to Laguardia. I remained calm though the flight, flipping through the glossy pages of the magazine that I would call “work” for the next three months.
However rewind to the night before my flight and I was freaking out, calling everyone whose opinion I valued on my contacts list, and asking them if it was crazy to move into my New York place a week before my first day at my internship. I thought I’d just be twiddling my thumbs in my subleased space, bored for a week. Finally one of my best friends convinced me that going to New York was something I needed to dive into and that I would appreciate having that week to explore leisurely. He was so right. In that week, I got the chance to master (well, almost, thanks to the HopStop phone app) the subway system and find my favorite neighborhood slice of pizza. This week was the first week I’ve ever really had to figure everything out on my own and that feeling of independence was worth the nerves going into it. Even something as simple as figuring out what days to take the trash out, kept me preoccupied long enough to realize I was too busy making it on my own to be crippled by my nerves.
Tip #3 – Change your Groupon, Living Social and Yelp locations.
Even if you don’t ever use the emailed daily deals, you’ll learn what’s around your new place.
Tip #4 – If you’ve got a smartphone, add the Hopstop app (or any public transportation map) for step-by-step instructions on getting from place to place.
You still might look like a tourist, but at least you’ll like a tourist who knows where they’re going.
Tip #5 – If someone suggests you meet a friend of theirs who’ll be in the same city as you, reach out and meet with them. The worst case scenario is you don’t get along and you never have to talk again but in the best case, you could find a new friend.
When my friends caught wind of my internship in the city and plans to move, it seemed everyone had a friend or two in the city for me to call and meet up with. The first three days I spent in the city was with a friend of a friend who I’d never met prior to being in the city. I met her in Times Square and since we were both new to the city, we explored (and got lost a little along the way) and ended up getting along really well. I normally brush off the people that friends suggest you meet simply because you’re both going to be in the same place, thinking it will unbearably awkward. But I’m so incredibly glad I reached out because now I’ve got a great new friend in a city that’s completely new to the both of us.
Fresh from my move, in the last week, I’ve accomplished more than learning to anticipate the walking man sign on the crosswalk, I’ve realized that I can move a time zone away from the city I grew up in and love so much and I can do it on my own. And I can’t wait to see what’s next. Stay tuned every Friday as Anjli learns her way around the big city.