5 Things to Know If Moving to New York City Scares You

New York City might be your dream city. New York City might also scare the living crap out of you. It’s okay, you can say it. Although NYC is a dream for some people, there are plenty of people who aren’t as excited to make the move to the Big Apple. But for many people starting or advancing their careers, it’s a necessary transition. Knowing that New York can be scary, we talked to three women about their experiences with the big city, and here’s what they recommend.

1. Try it out first

If you, like so many people, are on the fence about NYC, start out slow: with an internship. This way, you can test out living in the city for a few months and then decide whether it truly is or isn’t for you.

Jamie Kravitz, a 2017 graduate of Emerson College, says she was scared to move to New York until she did an internship. “I realized it’s not so scary after all!” she says. “I made the move here after graduation to work in digital media, and I’ve quickly grown to love the lifestyle! For anyone who is nervous, I would suggest applying to summer internships in the city in order to get a taste of NY before moving here post-grad.” So if just up-and-moving to New York City sounds like a lot to you, look into trying out an internship first.

Related: How to Hunt for a Last-Minute Summer Internship

2. Don’t panic!

New York is a big city with a lot going on all the time. For some, this is one of New York’s most exciting qualities. For others, this is one of New York’s most anxiety-inducing qualities. If you find that even the idea of living in New York makes your heart start racing out of fear and nervousness, take a deep breath and trust that you can make it work.

“My top tip is ‘keep calm and you'll figure it out,’” Rachel Cisto, a 2015 graduate of University of Hartford, says. “The city seems terrifying — especially for someone like me who came from a tiny town — but it's relatively straightforward.” Sometimes making the leap to move anyplace new, but especially New York, is all about trusting that you’ll be okay.  

3. Get to know your colleagues

Although New York City can scare people for a lot of reasons, one reason might be being lonely. But Kristen Perrone, a 2017 graduate of Siena College, says that getting to know the people you work with can prevent this.

“Chances are that a good majority of them, particularly if you work for a newer company with a lot of other young millennial staffers, are not from New York/the Westchester or Long Island area,” she says. “Taking that dive into the unknown is scary, but making connections with people you have to see every day will make the transition smoother and get you excited about making plans that will introduce you to true city life.”

So don’t be afraid to talk to people, especially the people you work with. Who knows, you might end up meeting some awesome new people who are a little freaked out by New York, too!

4. Enjoy the commute

Oh, the commute to NYC. For a lot of people, it’s long and obnoxious. But it can also be kind of nice once you accept the reality of the situation. Rachel Petty, a 2017 graduate of James Madison University, has to commute to work because she doesn’t live in the city. She’s found a way to enjoy her commute, though.

“It’s about an hour on a good day, so I use it as time to relax and unwind with my favorite music and podcasts,” she says. She doesn’t love New York City, but she does think it’s worth it to be there for even a little bit.  

“The internships and jobs I’ve been able to get at companies I’d want to work for have been in the city, and I’ve just learned to deal with it,” she says. “I think the internship or job itself definitely outweighs where you are. I currently work at a PR firm in NYC, and I love my job. I definitely won’t stay here forever, but it’s given me experiences I wouldn’t have been able to get anywhere else.”

NYC and it’s long AF commutes aren’t for everyone, but it can totally be worth it.

5. Don’t worry if you don’t have a job yet

Possibly one of the scariest parts of moving to NYC is moving there without a job. But plenty of people move to the city without a job and end up just fine. Take it from Jamie, who was one of those people and is now a Dating Editor at Elite Daily.

“I sent in dozens of applications as soon as I got here, and worked part-time in retail,” she says. “But the best part of being in the city was that I could go on informational interviews! I met a bunch of people in the industry for coffee, which I couldn’t have done without physically being here. Everyone was very willing to meet and (was) open to sharing advice. Talking to other women who also moved to NYC to pursue their dreams — and are now working in media — really made me feel better about my choice.”

It’s definitely scary moving to New York without a job, but as long as you’re putting yourself out there and working for it, you will get a job, and it will all come together.

It’s totally up to you if you choose to move to NYC or not. New York’s not for everyone, but it is worth giving the city a chance if you think you might want to work there. It might not end up being the way Sex and the City made it out to be, but that doesn’t mean you won’t find yourself liking it (or even loving it). Even though it’s scary, making that leap can be totally worth it.

Micki Wagner is a senior at the University of Missouri-Columbia where she is pursuing a major in Magazine Journalism and a minor in Classics. When she's not writing, she can be found watching beauty videos on YouTube, wandering around bookstores and daydreaming about her celebrity crushes. In addition to writing for Her Campus, Micki also writes more personal pieces on her blog at https://theresidentialblonde.com/. You can follow her on Instagram @mickimouse95.

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