With the second semester of most colleges well under way, seniors are mentally gearing up for post-grad life. I include myself in that category with a move to a new town or, even a new state for career and life opportunities on the back of my mind. I asked a former co-worker of mine and current friend Jordan about her experience moving from her home state Utah to sunny Southern California. Jordan moved from Utah in the winter of 2018 and made Orange County her home for a year and a half–working, making new friends and growing her independence in the Golden State. There’s no better advice than someone who’s already made the journey!
Research, research, research
I: What did you do to prepare for your move?
J: I didn’t have much money so I sold a bunch of my stuff. I would definitely suggest saving up more beforehand. But you’d be surprised how much you can do with so little! Security deposits for an apartment can get you. Also do a lot of research into living costs to mentally prepare yourself. I drove an ’05 Honda Pilot in Orange County and was spending $60-$70ish on gas every 7-10 days and that was rough.
Give yourself a learning curve
I: How long did it take to adjust?
J: It took a little while. The area was so much busier than I was used to. There was a lot more traffic than I was used to. I feel like I didn’t feel totally comfortable for about 6 months. You have to push through the discomfort and the loneliness. But once you get the hang of things and get some really good friends, it’s a lot easier and worthwhile.
Lean into alone time
I: What surprised you about the process of moving?
J: I was surprised how much I learned about myself. I spent a lot of time truly alone and I became more comfortable with that than I ever had. I would never go to a restaurant alone or anything, but I started doing it because I had no choice and I learned to enjoy my own presence and to be comfortable with silence. I had a lot of personal growth in those first couple months and was able to let go of negativity from my past.
Maintain those hobbies
I: Do you have tips for maintaining a social circle in a new place?
J: I feel like this is a lot different for me. With my religion [The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints], they make specific congregations for single people from 18-30ish within a certain geographic range. So I knew I had a fail-safe way to move somewhere else and make friends just by showing up to church on Sunday. But I worked as a nanny so I didn’t even have coworkers to hang with so my church friends were my social circle. I think if you don’t have a religion or specific organization to go to, start by finding events centered around interests or hobbies you have. Hang out with coworkers if you can. I know there’s apps to find friends now. Bumble?
Last but not least, the practical
I: Any apartment-hunting tips?
J: Facebook marketplace! I feel like it can be a little less sketchy than Craigslist.
Living in a new place can be a bold and transformative experience that I’m looking forward to trying more. Thank you Jordan for the tips! You can see more of her experience moving to California on Instagram @jordan.bradford.