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Tips from a West Coaster in New England

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at BU chapter.

When I decided to move across the country for college, I didn’t expect it to be easy, but I don’t think I was adequately prepared for what I was about to experience. Being the eldest daughter, my parents also did not know what to expect.

Post-pandemic, I committed to Boston University sight unseen. I first stepped foot in Massachusetts two months before my move-in. Here are a few things I noticed, and some things I wish someone told me. 

Be mindful of your clothing choices 

Coming from Los Angeles, you could wear just about anything and be fine.

In Boston, even when I’m just leaving for class, I have to do a full weather check.

A rookie mistake my freshman year was not checking the forecast, which led to getting caught in the rain without an umbrella, or in the snow without a good jacket. When in doubt, make sure you have a decent umbrella and maybe an extra set of gloves in your bag.

What Disasters to Prepare For

I’ve never had a snow day, only a fire day (fire days were when school would get canceled or put online due to a wildfire near my high school). The only natural disasters I am somewhat equipped for are earthquakes.

Now, in Boston, there are a plethora of events I have no idea how to handle. Between hurricanes, blizzards, and tornadoes, I never know what to expect.

My advice? Ask your friends. All of mine gave me a crash course on what to do in case of a disaster.

Culture Shock

Moving to the East Coast was, in some ways, like moving to a new country. The culture shock I had was surreal.

In Boston, the people seem much more mundane. In Los Angeles, we are known to be the city of fakes and flakes.

The culture in Boston seems to be much more genuine. But the cold seems to make people very bitter. People need to get where they are going with utmost speed and will not pay mind to people walking around them.

The Seasons

I distinctly remember watching an episode of Sex and The City where Carrie Bradshaw says “There is a time of year in New York when … you can feel the seasons click … And for the first night in a long time, you need a blanket on your bed.”

At the time I could not fathom what she was talking about. Now, having spent two winters in Boston I agree with Carrie. You can feel when the seasons shift.

When autumn comes, the leaves turn gorgeous shades of yellow, orange, and red. You can get away with just a sweater and boots. It’s festive; everyone seems to be celebrating.

When autumn turns to winter, you suddenly need to wear another layer, your big snow coat comes out of storage, and gloves and scarves are worn left and right. People are cold. Going out becomes a negotiation between staying warm but ruining your outfit, or suffering in the name of fashion.

Moving across the country is never easy, so give yourself grace! Take this time to learn more about yourself and expose yourself to new experiences.

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Sabrina Abselet (She/her) is a writer at Her Campus Boston University. Mainly focusing on lifestyle and editorial pieces. Sabrina is a Junior at Boston University majoring in Psychology with a minor in Art History. In addition to Her Campus, she was chosen to be a 2022-2023 Hey Alma College Writing Fellow. Writing for Hey Alma and Knosher, both part of 70 Faces Media. She has also interned at Meals on Wheels, focusing on donor relations. In her free time, she loves to bake and host dinner parties. Sabrina is an avid Sonny Angel collector, always on the hunt for another to add to her collection. She loves to go and discover new places to eat. She's a big crafter, anything from scrapbooking to beaded keychains.