By Briagenn Adams
New York City was a dream of mine. Big cities in general have always sparked a special interest in my soul — I love the idea of such a huge assemblage of humanity packed into a small, sweaty corner of Earth. While on the internship hunt, I discovered LaunchSquad — a mid-sized public relations agency that specializes in technology startup companies. Headquartered in San Francisco with branch offices in Detroit, Boston and New York, it seemed the perfect place to jump-start my journey as a big-city girl.
In the weeks prior to my move to the Big Apple, shiny imaginings of city life began to fade in my brain, and a dull but consuming terror took over. Where would I live, who would I hang out with? I fully convinced myself that I’d spend the 10-week internship holed up in an ungodly apartment, binging on Netflix and consuming copious amounts of comfort food in lonesome solitaire.
Needless to say, I teeter on the dramatic side of life.
The 17-hour Greyhound bus ride to NYC from Cincinnati was a special kind of hell, as was the process of lugging a 50-pound suitcase and a duffle bag packed with a surplus of shoes through the fickle Metro system on a 90-degree afternoon. My first lesson of New York: chivalry, my friends, is indeed dead.
But, upon arrival, fears were forgotten. One week in, my attitude adjusted. Two weeks in, I fell in love. Three weeks in, I vowed to one day come back and make NYC my home. I learned a lot about PR from my internship at LaunchSquad, but I learned even more about life from living in New York. And although I pray this won’t be my last time living in this wonderful place, I’m sure these lessons will help guide my future, wherever it may be:
1) Put yourself out there. Seriously — When you start to feel like a little stalker, you’re on the right track. Register for Meetup, join “New to NYC” Facebook groups, go on Tinder dates (if you dare) — almost every person in NYC is a transplant, and we’re all just trying to make friends.
2) Your money is no good here — NYC is expensive. Very expensive. In my Ohioan naivety, I thought $28 per day was a generous budget, and I was content with my self-calculated, end-of summer earnings estimate. But, then reality hit: $3 coffee, $9 salad for lunch, $20 dinner with friends, three subpar $12 drinks at the bar, $18 taxi ride home. I’m no math major, but even I know the numbers don’t add up to 28.
3) Don’t have an animal — Seriously, just don’t. Unless you plan on having a very inactive social life, or you’re looking forward to rushing home each day during lunch to check that they haven’t peed, pood, or puked anywhere inappropriate.
4) Times Square sucks — I’ve always kind of despised people who talk about how much they hate Times Square — like, can you possibly be more pretentious? However, I’m now amongst their pompous ranks. Times Square is miserable. If you don’t have an anxiety disorder before you approach 42nd & 7th, no worries, it’s sure to develop soon. The naked people alone are enough to make you queasy; the flashing lights and blasting car horns simply serve as the cherry on top.
5) Subways are hot, offices are cold: prepare for all extremes — Take caution. Come equipped with a sweater, thermal blanket, or parka if need be. A cold employee is an unhappy employee.
6) Go to brunch — People aren’t exaggerating when they talk about brunch like it’s the best thing ever. Eggs Benedict + bottomless mimosas = earthly ambrosia on an enticing new level. Nothing will make you feel so “New York” as sitting down to a sun-soaked table and treating yourself to champagne and yolk-soaked toast. Mornings are a whole lot better when brunch is involved.
7) No matter what, coming home always feels good — Despite my love for NYC, and despite my burning desire to return, nothing was better than coming home to Cincinnati after my 10-week stint away. New friends are fun, but family is forever, and I really, really missed mine. Not to mention my 15-week-old boxer/lab/hound puppy. No matter where you are in the world, it’s essential to remember the people who helped you get there.
Although I’m sad to say goodbye to the City That Never Sleeps, I’m blissfully convinced that this was the best summer of my life. Of all the lessons I’ve learned, one resonates the deepest, and relates the most: follow your passions, live your dreams, regardless of fears that threaten to impede them.
Follow Briagenn on Twitter at @briagenn