As new grads, the future is equal parts exciting and terrifying. A good percentage of the Class of 2014 are jumping into their optometry careers and joining an existing practice, starting cold, or pursuing a residency this year. Regardless, while the paperwork gets filed and licenses get mailed, we have some time to kill and for a good chunk of us, a new city to move to.
- A month to party? Amazing!
- A month to get set up in a new city where you don't know a single person? Hard Pass.
For me, June 1st came quicker than expected and it was time to say adios to Chicago and move to Philadelphia. My knowledge of Philadelphia can be encompassed by cheese steaks. That’s literally it. But I had a flight to catch and children to cycloplege—so ready or not, I was off.
Below are some tips to help your move be slightly less stressful when moving to a new city
1. Don’t be a hoarder
I know what you’re thinking—being a hoarder will bring you fame and fortune via reality television. This may be true, but only the top 1% of hoarders are famous. This is not a goal to strive for. Just get rid of your crap. Do you need that figurine cherub your Aunt Judith lovingly chose for you? No. Do you need thirty tiny bottles of shampoo that you have pocketed from hotels for the last decade? No. Do you need seven thousand samples of Systane Ultra from every Optometry meeting you’ve ever attended? Do you even have dry eye?
Be ruthless. I give you permission to upset Aunt Judith. Your future apartment will thank you.
2. Pack intelligently
They throw them on, while they flip it and reverse it - Missy Elliot style.
Don’t put your BIO in there, kiddos. It’s not meant to be man-handled like that. In fact, put your diagnostic set and lenses in your carry on and remove it like your laptop before the scanner, so when the slew of inevitable questions arrive, you are two steps ahead. Throw out the word “dilation” if you feel it helps your case.
3. Do your due diligence
If you are blindly going to sign for an apartment without having actually visited it (as I did), do your homework.
This isn’t shady as it may seem if you know what to look for and what to avoid. A lot of pictures, accurate descriptions, and phone numbers are a must. I admit, it took me a minute to get on board, as online business dealings can be fraught with issues.
Use UPS when mailing leases and checks, so you can use the tracking number. The last thing you need is things to get lost in the mail. Ask people who know the area for advice, and call the landlord to talk to them over the phone (avoid only communicating via e-mails). You can determine a lot by hearing someone’s voice. I swear I can tell if you like cats, of if you are an esotrope, based on voice alone.
Use UPS when mailing leases and checks, so you can use the tracking number.
4. Embrace minimalism
This ties in to number one. While it may seem cool and adult-like to have an abundance of amazing furniture, moving it is a nightmare.
Shipping issues, cost, transport---were those end-tables really worth it? If you are planning on temporarily living in this new city, keep your unnecessary furniture low. You’ll be surprised at how much you don’t miss things you thought you couldn’t live without. Pass on your furniture to a fellow classmate, a friend, or donate it to the Salvation Army.
Do what you gotta do, but don’t haul it from city to city unless it carries enormous value to you. And this is coming from someone who names all her inanimate objects (my car is named Sphinx, my bike is Henry, my yoga mat is Matt)—so I know how hard it is to part with things you’ve come to love.
My car is named Sphinx, my bike is Henry, my yoga mat is Matt.
5. Set up electricity, cable, internet, and gas before you arrive
6. Get excited!
Full disclosure, I shed a tear at the airport. Not full on sobbing, I ain’t about that life. But I was sad to say goodbye to the familiar. Regardless, being a new graduate is exciting! All that school is finally paying off, and our careers are about to get started.
I opened a new bank account and the banker, friendly as can be, asked the standard questions. When he got to “Occupation”, a moment of hesitation washed over me.
I feel like the last time I had a legit occupation it was “Babysitter”.
But now, my friends, I am babysitting children while performing their eye exams. Who would have guessed?!
New city, new opportunities, new adventures. Let’s go!
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