NYC’s population hit a record 8.6 million in 2018.
That’s higher than it’s ever been, and those numbers are expected to increase as the year continues.
For many, moving to a big city like New York is a dream. It’s part of growing up and establishing yourself.
You move to the city because you’re looking for a sense of purpose, you want to start your career, and you need something different from your regular life.
But, even though moving to places like New York City feels like the next, necessary step in your own personal and professional growth plan, that doesn’t mean it’s easy.
Transitioning from a small town to a big city is a huge adjustment.
And, if you’re going from living at home with your family to living alone in the big city, you’re in for an even bigger wake-up call.
When you take that next step, it’s important that you expect the unexpected. It won’t be easy. And, it won’t all be fun and games.
There will be ebbs and flows. And, these ebbs and flows will help you to decide if this decision really was the best.
But, I encourage you to stick it out. The transition is hard, but it doesn’t have to send you back to your childhood bedroom either.
If you’re transitioning from small-town life to big-city adventures, keep these tips in mind to make the process a smooth one.
How To Transition From Living In A Small Town To Living In A Big City With Ease
1. Connect With Old Friends
The best way to acclimate to a new city is to connect with people you know.
Go through your contact list, scroll through your Facebook friend feed — you’re bound to find someone from your past that has also made that move.
Reach out and make plans! Grab a coffee, catch a movie, go to dinner. This will make the move easier by giving you a piece of your past life to hold onto.
And, it will also help with the inevitable homesickness you will feel by giving you someone else to connect with.
2. Make Your New Place As Homey As Possible
Another way to make the transition a smooth one is by going all out with your apartment decor.
This is your new home, so you should decorate it as such.
Buy things that make you happy and make your space feel like one you want to spend time in.
This includes hanging up photos, posters, and more from your previous space.
It also means taking some creative liberty and creating a space that feels uniquely yours.
3. Plan Regular Calls And Visits Home
Whether you live within driving distance or have to jump on a plane, it’s important that you do have a plan to visit.
In the excitement of it all, you might forget how important it is, or how much you will miss home, but keep this in the back of your mind.
Buy a return ticket so you and your family have something to look forward to months down the line.
Have your family come visit so that you can feel a little less alone.
Plan calls where you can talk with your family and maybe even see them with FaceTime or Skype.
This will make it easier for you to feel comfortable because you know you’ll always have your family by your side when you need them.
4. Say ‘Yes’ To Everything
This is an important one. If your classmates, coworkers, or roommates ask you to get brunch, go to a concert, listen to a lecture, and so on, say ‘yes’.
This will keep you from sulking around your own apartment all alone. It will also expose you to new people and new experiences.
This can expand your friend group, your interests, and your knowledge of the city.
It will make you feel more like a local and more like you belong.
And, nobody likes FOMO.
5. Join Groups, Classes, & More
This is a great way to immerse yourself in your new city.
By joining classes and groups that interest you, you can connect with new people and strike up new friendships.
This also makes you feel more comfortable in your new environment because it gives you something to look forward to.
These activities get you out of the apartment and immersed with other individuals who are looking for the same things you are.
By taking this initiative, you’re securing your place in your new home.
6. Get Lost
Take a weekend to just get lost.
Jump on the train, go for a walk, and lose yourself in your new city.
Don’t follow a map, don’t plan out a route — just go.
This will help you learn about your new city and discover hidden gems along the way.
The best way to acclimate yourself to a new place is to get lost in it. This makes it easier going forward to navigate yourself and feel like you belong.
And, that could be the thing that makes you stay even when everything else is falling apart.
7. Take It One Step At A Time
Don’t give up on yourself. It’s a process and you’re going to be both happy and sad at times.
That’s why you have to take it one step at a time. Set small goals and work to achieve them.
This will give you a sense of purpose and help to foster a sense of community.
You can’t expect it move to a new city, find a job, make new friends, and find a partner all in the span of a few weeks.
These milestones take time. Once you accept that, the transition will feel less like an uphill battle.
8. Accept & Embrace Your Alone Time
Lastly, it’s important to remember that you’re going to feel alone.
Sometimes, a big city can be the loneliest place. It’s full of unfamiliar sites, people, and experiences.
You might not have any strong friendships yet. And, you might not feel like you necessarily belong.
You’re going to feel alone. You’re going to feel isolated.
But, you have to embrace these experiences. Because they will make you stronger once they’re over.
It’s okay to be alone. And, once you accept that, you’ll start to understand why you wanted to move away to a big city in the first place.