A Beginners Guide to Moving to NYC Alone at 18.

A Beginners Guide to Moving to NYC Alone at 18.

When I was 18, the time where people apply to numerous colleges in hopes they would get accepted into many, especially their dream school. That was when I applied to only one school, the Fashion Institute of Technology. It was a reach for many, but it felt like the easiest decision for me, the most important person. I mean, what else would I do anyway?

Moving here and being alone at 18, though, was rough. I stepped foot on New York soil or… concrete on August 21, 2023. I instantly felt scared and devastated that I would not be so close to my family. But now, a year later, I have an apartment and a job in the fashion industry. Know that Some things are just meant to work out.


Here is a beginner's guide to moving alone to New York at 18:

  •  Bring all of your human documentation:
    1. This is so vital and also self-explanatory.

  • Find a place to live.
      1. Find a place that does not have a broker fee. It is a scam.
      2. The further you are from Manhattan, the cheaper (besides, if you decide to live in Soho or Dumbo). These places are not fully gentrified yet.

  • Save at least 10,000 or have rich parents:
      1. 10,000 why? You found your apartment. Great! It will be Your rent plus the first deposit. If you followed Step #2, You were smart enough to go around the broker scam. Finding a job will take you 3-5 months at most. Your savings will come in handy during these times.

  • Find your favorite bodega:
      1. They will probably end up giving you free food.

  • Create community:
      1. You might find yourself lonely despite being in one of the most overpopulated cities in the world. 
      2. Finding a community of people who are a support system will make your days easier. It sounds cliche, but waking up will be easier when you have loved ones to create memories with!

  • Become the person they're afraid of:
      1. Safety is so important in New York. Carrying around legal devices such as a Taser, pepper spray, and appropriately sized knives are all ways of protection.
      2. I have learned that you must become the person the majority is afraid of! Being crazy! Giggle. Talk to yourself about your crush on Robert Pattison, then yell how you can't believe he did that to Twigs. Skip. Bark. Be the abnormal self you usually are behind closed doors. Everyone will run away from you.

  • Take walks:
      1. Being cooped up in a box that costs thousands of dollars can be depressing. Remember to take at least one 20-minute walk a week.

  • Invest in noise-canceling headphones and patience:
      1. You may be living with roommates who can be noisy. I use BOSE, and I can not hear anything that peeps from my roommates.
      2. If you have noisy neighbors, call 311 or your landlord and lay comfortably with patience. Your noise-canceling headphones will save your energy from anger. ( people will blame the loudness of everything on New York; people just do not want to admit they have 0 home training).

  • Get an emotional support tote bag :
      1. You must have a tote bag that you randomly bring to everyone. Even if you stuff it in a pocket or another bag, you never know if you see a random deal or a sweet lady selling fruit.

  • Explore and have fun:
      1. The most fun I have had in the city is doing things I am not supposed to. I'm not saying go rob Saks. But I am saying sneak into snobby events and tag random brick walls at night.

  • Personal growth:
      1. You have probably gotten out of your comfort zone moving here. Do not make another cycle of staying inside of your shell. You are in a city where absolutely no one knows your please fuck up everything (reasonable fuck ups).
      2. If climate change lets us go that far, this is your story to tell your children and possibly your children's children. Live your life.

  • Cry:
      1. This city is hard. Cry on every pavement, every subway, and every bus you need to. No one will bother you besides the random man who says it gets better. And he's right, it does.
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