Image from Pexels

Image from Pexels

For those of you who are counting down the minutes until your college experience, I can definitely relate. The overwhelming feeling from the curiosity of the unknown is tugging at your thoughts. Entering or transferring from a college can be nerve wrecking. Especially if you’re moving to a completely different location that is quite the distance from your friends and family. To those who may be exploring a new city at an urban college, I salute to you and your willingness to take on a chaotic environment. For those who do not know what you’ve just gotten yourself into, I’ve gathered my most useful advice that will help you master the art of living the urban life.

Dress For Success

Those five inch heels you just bought may have seemed like a great idea while putting together your outfit this morning. However, you will fully regret it by the end of the night when there are blisters covering your feet. In the city, you will be walking around a ton so wear comfortable walking shoes. Also, bring back up clothes! It’s never a bad idea to carry around an umbrella or jacket in your bag. You never know what Mother Nature will throw at you. Always go out prepared.

Know What’s Up (Or at Least Look Like It)

Picture this: You just got out from your 5pm class and you find yourself completely lost on your way to your friend’s dorm. It’s beginning to get dark outside. You have a stack full of books in one hand and you’re attempting to text your best friend in the other. The worst possible thing you could do is whip out a map for directions. You never want to be too distracted. It’s an easy opportunity for someone to take advantage of you in that situation. Always be aware of your surroundings. The best solution would be to go into the nearest building and gather your thoughts to try to figure out where you should be going. A tip from my personal experience: If you have a smartphone, enter the address of the destination and plug in some headphones. The navigator will be whispering directions into your ear all while to the average person you look like your listening to music. However if in any situation you feel uncomfortable, always take a cab! It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Budget Budget Budget!

It can be hard not to overspend when you have a Chipotle around the block and a Starbucks just outside your dorm. Living in the city can be difficult in terms of wanting to spend all your money on exciting activities and delicious fast food restaurants. My advice is to sit down and plan out a weekly and monthly budget schedule. Because lets face it, calling up your parents to ask for money only to admit you spent yours all at Best Buy, is not the phone call you want to have. Instead, limit yourself and take into consideration of what is really important.

Realize What You’re Actually There For

You’re going the new art gallery opening today, friend’s party tomorrow night, and an Ed Sheeran Concert this Saturday. Your schedule is basically booked and you haven’t even added studying for exams into the equation. Don’t forget while you why you are actually there (to attend college!) Sure, the experience in the city should be fun, but make sure it is balanced with your school work.

Hopefully this advice should come in handy over time. Have fun, be safe, and most importantly, enjoy your college experience to its fullest!



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the author

Katlyn Tolly is a freshman at Columbia College Chicago studying journalism and marketing. When she is not writing articles or studying for classes, Katlyn spends her time reading fiction novels, obsessing over the latest fashion trends, and making DYI projects she finds on Pinterest. You can find more of her craziness on her twitter page @katlyn_tolly

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