This time three years ago, I attempted to become a New Yorker, but failed miserably. My meals consisted of frozen meals and Dominos pizza. My weekdays consisted of going to work, and coming home to watch Love & Hip-Hop. Honestly, I just didn’t feel like I fit in.
When people think of NYC everyone sees the bright lights, the storylines from Sex and The City, the shopping, and the nightlife. But what most people don’t know or fail to understand is that NYC is fast paced, it’s ambition driven, and it’s overwhelming. It’s all things pretty and ugly, which somehow magically makes it the beautiful place that it is.
After not just my first year, but my second, I began to adjust to the NYC lifestyle. You know, get a hang of this here fast paced life while battling social anxiety, a shopping addiction, and the fact that I am indeed a germaphobe! Now that I am on year three and loving it, I’ve had time to reflect on things I was doing incorrectly or was simply just not privy to!
Here are eight tips to surviving the concrete jungle:
1. Learn to budget your moola!
Living in the city is not cheap. A box of cereal is damn near $6 or $7, the $1 dollar menu is scarce, and the subway fare goes up every year without fail. Living in the city without a budget is the quickest way to Broke-City, and aint nobody got time for that! Get creative, COOK your own meals, and take advantage of all the free summer events.
2. The weather is extreme. Seriously!
Be prepared to commute in extreme weather. You can never have too many umbrellas or snow boots!
3. Embrace the crazies, this is their home too.
You will encounter the mentally unstable at least once a week. If you’re an empathetic Scorpio like me, seeing them may tug on the strings of your heart every once in awhile, but you really ought to keep your distance. Politely, of course, because some do attack. I learned this the hard way.
4. Set your own pace.
NYC is that go-getta city. Everyone walks and talks fast. It’s comprised of ambitious energy, budding creatives, technical geniuses, and much much more. When I started to network, or simply have conversations with strangers, the first thing I would notice was that I was not the only one that had dreams bigger than most.
It’s so easy to feel like you’re not doing enough, or that you’re behind. Take a deep breath and set your own pace. Do not let the city’s energy overwhelm you.
5. You may have unexpected roommates.
I’m talking about the roaches, the mice, and the centipedes. Sorry to burst your bubble, but these roomies live rent free without your consent, and could care less about your fears!
6. Get comfortable, no literally.
There will be walking. Lots and lots of walking. And sometimes you will not be fortunate enough to grab that taxi or uber. Commute in comfortable shoes! Do not be that woman that resembles the first few steps a baby calf makes once leaving the womb. Comfortable shoes on feet, heels in bag till you reach your destination. Trust me, you’ll thank me for this later.
7. Speaking of commuting: Plan it out.
Plan your trip beforehand. The trains here are temperamental, they practically do not run on the weekends. Oh, and not all stations or train routes have service. Taxi drivers sometimes will take advantage and take a roundabout route. For your sanity (and your pockets) look up directions beforehand. Oh and your commute time? Budget an extra 10 to 20 minutes. Just in case!
8. Apartment hunting is an art.
Craigslist, StreetEasy, Brokers… they’re all kind of tricky. If you’re searching in Manhattan, be prepared for small places, excruciating prices, and one of a kind neighbors. Here are five easy things to remember:
1. Never trust the pictures.
2. Always negotiate!!
3. Make sure there is a grocery store, subway station, pharmacy, and laundromat near.
4. Speak to the neighbors.
5. Check out the place at night.
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Yetti, of yettisays.com, provides the average twenty-something-year old with their daily dose of vitamin-y: the uncensored truth sometimes served with a side of wit, sarcasm, and a few curse words. You can follow her on twitter @yettisays.