It’s the beginning of your college experience and it just so happens you have made the brave choice to attend a school located in the city. Whether that city is in a state that you have loved from afar or a state that you currently live in, you’re on your own and have been placed strategically in the heart of the city. Maybe you’re from the city, so the city life is not as daunting and frightening as your parents led you to believe. If this is a new and huge change take a look at the tips that have helped me get through this drastic living change.
Once officially settled into your dorm room give yourself one to two weeks to get used to your new life including classes, new roommates, and the lack of a campus (common tendency for city schools). This should definitely be a first priority before you dare to conquer the city around you. The truth is a lot of unforeseen occurrences are going to pop up within your first few weeks on campus and it is better that you are comfortable with your daily routine before you focus on conquering the city.
Second, you are going to want to get used to the bad of the city; the constant noise, wandering homeless people, dangerous construction sites, piles of trash, and other disgusting traits about city life that are never going away. Prepare to experience the side of the city that is never publicized in the travel brochures. Getting used to the bad of the city is something you need to do in order continue without going crazy. These defects are forever engraved into the area, the sooner you accept that not every city is how it appears on television the sooner you will transform into a local. Soon you may not even hear the sirens or acknowledge the disturbing homeless man on the corner.
Third, you are going to need to master the art of public transportation. Although the idea of using public transportation is scary especially when you have lived all of your life without it, you are going to have to expand your horizons and conquer the metro. Take the initiative to download smartphone apps and search the web for tips on tricks for using public transportation. Find out need to know facts such as the closest train station to your dorm, how often the buses/trains run, and how much the train or bus fare is. These are the key steps to mastering the art of public transportation and once you have taken the train or bus a few times you will realize that the inner/outer parts of the city are in the palm of your hand.
Lastly and most importantly, create an experience that you will never forget! Whether alone or with friends (be mindful of safety), go experience the life around you and do everything you possibly can. Cities are exciting and full of something new and interesting to do every day. Get out there and experience all the city has to offer! Visit the traditional Mexican restaurant with tapas or drunk eat those cheap burritos across the dorms that taste like heaven. Visit the trendy fashion boutique with clothes you’ve never dreamed of or see a movie at an independent theater where foreign films are cheaper than traditional blockbusters.
Whether you’re used to smaller cities or the rural life, follow these steps completely to accept your city for the good and the bad. By getting to know the city you will start to shed your tourist exterior and instead be able to give any tourist directions. You will be able to know all of the hidden treasures that only living locally can reveal: the best stores, the best cheap eats, the quickest subway route, etc. Trust me the bigger the city the more there is to love. So after you get used to your academic demands, accept the negatives about city life, and become an expert in public transportation you must go experience the city that you chose to spend your year in!
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