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How to Find Yourself in a New City in a Post-Pandemic World

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Living in a post-pandemic or pandemic-transitioning world — whatever phrase you deem describable for the inexplicable mess our world is currently in — is already tricky enough. Wavering between a ‘normal’ social life and worrying about the numerous variants springing up all around us is, frankly, difficult to navigate. To add insult to injury, quarantining for almost a year pushed many to realize the importance of “living life to the fullest,” christening our modified version of the Roaring Twenties. Maintaining a healthy social life and living through new experiences has now become much more of a social priority, especially with the introduction of work (and school) from home. At this point, many of us have settled into a post-pandemic routine, but what about those who made large transitions during the pandemic? 

Isolating in our childhood homes, and, subsequently, in our schools, pushed many to analyze the amalgamation of events that landed them where they were at that time. Quarantine single-handedly — and drastically, may I add — altered the course of many of our lives. Friends were taking gap years, starting new businesses, and, in my case, transferring universities. From attending art school in my home state to studying liberal arts in a completely new city, it’s safe to assume that my life took a very unexpected turn. 

I had never envisioned myself in Boston, let alone New England, so the fact that my transfer search lead me here was a surprise I did not see coming. Yet, city life seemed appealing enough to land me here. I attempted to suppress any expectations for fear of walking into the trap of high expectations, low fulfillment — especially considering the rampant pandemic we were (and are) currently undergoing. The end of August came and went, along with move-in day and months of many firsts. First walk down Newbury, first night out in Allston, first Marmon — you get the idea. And while I continue to live a life full of dozens of ‘firsts,’ I have also come to the realization that transferring as an upperclassman is no easy feat.

The funny thing about firsts is that most of the time, there aren’t others alongside you experiencing them. While my specific university has a healthy class of incoming transfers, everyone is on a very individualized, personal journey, with vastly varying reasons for making the difficult move here. This has made the journey isolating and, quite frankly, burdensome. At first, I was under the impression that I was alone in these challenges, but the more I was exposed to other transfers, I came to understand that this was not an uncommon experience. Whatever the specific reason, many others were having challenges as well, leading me to a startling revelation. 

Moving to a new city and essentially starting over doesn’t need to come with the expectation that your life “becomes a movie” or a TikTok montage. Periods of instability coupled with peace and discovery are allowed to be what makes up your life right now. Not every weekend has to be filled with overwhelming itineraries and a series of regrettable nights out. Yes, “living life to the fullest,” especially post-pandemic, is the ultimate goal. But this lifestyle doesn’t have to be overwhelming and unfulfilling. 

Telling myself that I’m allowed to slow down and appreciate the city and circumstances for what they are is the only way that I’ll be able to truly appreciate this new season of time. 

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Merry is a third-year political science & economics double major at Boston University. She is a former fashion merchandising major and hopes to work in editorial fashion, PR, or social media post-graduation while also focusing on the journalistic aspects of both her majors. She currently contributes to a number of publications while simultaneously working as an editor at Her Campus BU. Merry was also previously the managing editor of Her Campus at VCU and worked as an editorial intern for Her Campus Media. Contact her at [email protected] & @merry.nebiyu on Instagram.
Autumn is a junior studying film/television & journalism at Boston University. She is extremely passionate about writing & film, traveling, her family and friends, and telling stories.
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