Transitioning to New York City College Life

I sat on my best friend’s bed back in 2014, sculpting this dream of New York City. The hopefulness in my fragile heart that the life I dreamt of was hiding somewhere in the midst of the hustle. I made the dream happen five years later and adjusting has been one hell of a journey. The dream, of course, has not been what I had hoped for. Transitioning not only to college life but to a city with 8.6 million people has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. A city is a place where personalities, backgrounds, cultures, and identities vary from person to person and we have the privilege of living amongst millions of unique souls. Although this is a beautiful thing to have at our fingertips, it can also be a truly confusing and difficult experience. Finding my place in New York City has been my biggest challenge. I have questioned my ability to take on the city more times than I can count, struggled to connect and find people I feel I click with, and have cried more days than not because of how lost I’ve been. College in itself is a hard adjustment, but to pick up your life and move it to one of the biggest cities in the country is another story.

My semester began with homesickness so unimaginable. I had spent my entire life praying for the day I’d be able to leave my house and be on my own but watching that reality creep up on me was so surreal and scary. It had really hit me that I was growing up. This truth was inevitable and trying to come to terms with it kick-started my emotional spiral. I felt more lost than ever: struggling to connect with my schoolwork, struggling to make friends I felt connected to, and struggling to find that passion I once had for life in New York City. Moving to a new place means starting the process over. You have to put in the effort and physically force yourself to meet new people, to step out of a comfort zone that has been established since birth. This is something I struggle with heavily. I’ve struggled with finding my place here, figuring out who I really am and what my core values are, and what exactly I expect/want from this experience. 

I am a little over a month into my Freshman year of college, and obviously, these answers haven’t come to me quite yet. I’m still struggling to understand myself and the things that I really want to get out of the New York City college experience. The only thing I can say about this transition and what I’ve learned from it has been this: Invest time in yourself. Know that the only way to feel comfortable here is to first feel uncomfortable. Don’t fall back on your safety nets, know that the people that love you will be there after you establish the life you need to. Be sad when you’re sad and talk about the things you’re struggling with. Be honest with yourself and remember that this is a normal experience when transitioning to college life. Never forget who you are, and remember, as hard as it is, that your first priority is school. We are strong women who are capable of much more than the world makes us believe. Your voice matters so don’t let the city noise silence it. Mental health is more important than anything else, when you’re struggling, give yourself time to heal. Always remember that things get better with time. Don’t give up on yourself or your dreams, you really can do it. 

My transition into New York City college life has felt much different than the experiences of the people I’m surrounded by. I haven’t gotten as involved as others, I haven’t loved my classes, and I still have no idea where my life is going to go. But I’ve learned to find beauty in that. I’m still finding my place in the big apple, and it’s okay that I’m as lost as I am. The answers will come with each new experience. And with that being said, I will push myself harder to find beauty in the discomfort, to allow it to shape my experiences and bring me opportunities I wouldn’t have had otherwise. I won’t give up on my dream and I hope that anyone else struggling to connect with their life here doesn’t give up either.    

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