I’m originally from St. Louis, Missouri and in 2012 I graduated from Southeast Missouri State University located in the small town of Cape Girardeau. Before graduating, I was offered and accepted a position as a Resident Director at Fisk University and off to Nashville I went.
When it was time for me to move, I gave away all my big furniture because I was going to be a Resident Director that came with a fully furnished apartment. I simply packed and stuffed my smaller belongings into my little Ford Focus and moved myself from Cape to Nashville. My transition to Nashville was actually pretty great. I’m a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated so I was fortunate to have had some NPHC Greek connections. By the time my birthday came in October of 2012 I had a full party of people that I had become very close with. But by April of 2013 I realized that maybe I had hastily accepted a position without truly thinking about “the fit” so I decided to look around and that is when I found a position at Hofstra University once again as a Resident Director. When I broke the news to my Nashville friends that I was leaving they were really sad to see me go, there were even some tears which lets me know that true connections were made and I’ll always be happy for the life I had there.
In the car again, I drove 16 hours across country spending money only for gas and tolls. At first I was excited but I will admit that my transition to New York was definitely not as smooth as it was with Nashville. New York is a really big spaced out place. Long Island is a little secluded with a 45 minute, $16 train ride or a 35 minute drive (without traffic) and $13 toll price to cross the bridge into Manhattan. The trip was exhausting at times and those expenses added up so I didn’t go as often as I would have liked. I’m from the Midwest and the not so welcoming people of New York was a lot to take in at first. Not because I’m not tough but because I just prefer nice people. My significant other was in Maryland and I found myself taking more trips to see him than I was taking to enjoy my own city. Bottom-line, I didn’t like it because I didn’t put myself out there enough, it was crowded and I was lonely. I was personally unhappy so no matter how good work was it wouldn’t have mattered to me, so I started looking for a position in Maryland. That’s ultimately how I came across the Assistant Director of Student Judicial Programs position at UMBC. Once more, I packed up my car and headed 4 hours south of New York to Baltimore.
Finally, I was in a position that I loved with the person I loved. Although, leaving housing was a little jarring because I moved into my new apartment and felt overwhelmed by the lack of furniture in every room. I learned that these things just take time. I was able to get a bed first which was most important since I do enjoy my sleep. It was also a little jarring because I had to adjust to paying certain monthly bills again that I had gotten used to not paying while in Residence Life. But despite those things, everything was great! I realized though that I wanted my own life, a real life! So, since being in Baltimore, I’ve had outings with people from around my campus. I joined a website called Meetup. I have met a lot of new people by stepping outside of my box and doing something awkward in the spirit of making friends. I’ve taken all of my mistakes from my past moves and put them into a personal play book for making a new life here.
All I have is what I’ve gone through. I just think that I’ve learned to make sure that the position and the location is right for the professional and personal life you have or you want in the near future. Oh, and these 3 steps.
Step 1: Transition into your new work role and new home at a pace that’s comfortable for you but once you’re settled and ready to mingle…Get out the house and go mingle. You can’t meet your new friends if you’re in the house.
Step 2: Keep an open mind. We aren’t in college anymore. We can’t just congregate at the University center and meet new buddies the way we used to.
Step 3: Be aware of your connections and ACTUALLY use them.
This post is part of our month-long series #SAmobile, a look at the stories of SA pros who picked up and moved for their career. This series is about the struggles, the successes, the hurdles, and the emotions involved in such a life changing decision. For more information, see the intro post by Juhi Bhatt. Check out other posts in this series too!