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Tips for Grad Students in NYC

posted by Samantha Schechter


I am just one out of nearly 8.5 million people that gets to call New York City home. It seems a bit strange to call a place “home” after only living here a few weeks, right?

With every subway ride and person I pass by, it feels more and more like home. As the days progress, I feel myself acquiring more skills of a typical New Yorker. 

In my friendly midwestern hometown, I wouldn't dare to cross the street without a walk signal or shove my way past a slow walker. Now, those habits are like a sixth sense. The behavior I’ve developed would be unacceptable and disrespectful in Michigan, but in NYC those words practically don’t exist.

Whether you’ve picked up on the habits of busy New Yorker or not, here are my tricks to help you feel more at home.

  1. Don’t panic. No matter how lost you are, always act confident and try to figure it out. We all have a dramatic story of our first time getting seriously lost in NYC, mine may or may not include a $50 taxi and being an hour late to an event. Of course the best thing to do is plan your route prior to your departure, but if all else fails and you are lost, don’t panic. Keep your head up at all times and remember to focus on your surroundings so you don’t seem like a lost tourist.
  2. Walk fiercely. Walk to and from your destination with purpose and quickly. No one wants to waste time or be late to class just because they were walking slowly. The worst part of walking everywhere in NYC is getting caught behind a slow mover. In that situation, try to weave around them without pushing or shoving and continue towards your final destination.
  3. Take a tech break. I know we all wear headphones to block out the beggar on the subway or avoid an awkward encounter with that one person who won’t stop staring at you, but remember to still be aware of your surroundings. If you are someone who prefers wearing both earbuds, keep the volume at a level in which you can still hear what’s happening around you and hear subway announcements (no one wants to miss their stop.) At night, especially when you’re alone, remove your headphones or only keep in one at a low volume. You wouldn’t want to put yourself in danger just because you weren’t paying attention.
  4. Chill on coffee. Don’t give in to your coffee cravings. Of course after a long night of homework and studying, and a bothersome commute to school, your body seems drained of all its energy and the only cure in mind is coffee. It’s delicious and helps you power through your day, but your bank account may beg to differ. An occasional cup on an extra hectic day is acceptable, but daily coffee from Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts is a quick way to drain your funds, do the math $3 a day, 5-7 days a week, 52 weeks in a year = $780/year. Consider buying a tumbler mug and making your own coffee if you feel it's necessary to your day.

Topics: New York City, LIM Graduate Studies, Admissions Advice