I’ve been living in NYC for 9 months now. Here is my sage advice for newcomers.
1. Avoid dollar pizza.
Instead of dollar pizza, buy 7 grain bread and peanut butter. Your body will thank you. The protein/potentially healthier carbohydrates will give you more energy, fill you up, and probably go a longer way than your nightly dollar pizza purchases. Also prep time is basically nothing. If you’re allergic, sub peanut butter for hummus. Trust.
TL;DR Peanut butter + sliced bread instead of dollar pizza.
2. Trader Joe’s is your friend.
It’s cheap(er). Buy everything here, even household goods. Be wary of picking up more than you can carry. Pro tip: Some of them (UNION SQUARE) have 30 min+ wait in the checkout line. Grab a few things, get in line, and then grab your groceries as you slowly inch towards check out.
3. Find a good transit app.
The transit system can cause anxiety. There’s a learning curve when it comes to swiping your metrocard. Avoid further anxiety by downloading Citymapper or Transit App. DO NOT TRUST GOOGLE MAPS. It’s the devil.
4. Experiment with nightlife.
The high profile clubs are fun, but not worth regular attendance (unless you like finance bros/ tourists, Lil John, and waiting in line in subzero temps). For better musicians/DJ’s go play in Brooklyn. All of the cool kids are doing it.
5. Network, Network, Network.
The struggle can be real. You want to know where to find jobs, or maybe a cool internship? Maybe you want more connections in your field? Meetup.com or Timeout.com is helpful. Yes, meeting a bunch of strangers is awkward at first, but you didn’t come here to stay too ‘comfortable’ now did you? Get out there.
I can’t help you here. We’re all forging our own uniquely messed up path. Find a knowledgeable friend & trust your instincts about that sketchy new roommate.
7. Most importantly, Be bold.
For all of its crazy, this city is dazzling. Sensory overload is an inevitable part of your first few months. Take risks. Do not hold back. Everyone here is talented. Everyone is determined. Everyone is passionate about getting ahead in life. If you don’t show people how awesome you are, nobody will find out. You will not magically be ‘discovered’. The one thing that stuck out to me about New Yorkers is that no matter where they are in life, they’re trying. Learn from it, don’t get left behind.