Ashley's Checklist: Prepare for your Post-Grad Move
Updated: Mar 1, 2019
Recently, Gonzaga University student, Kinzie Farmer, reached out to me and shared her goal of moving to a new city after graduation this May. However, she expressed her valid concerns on preparing for such a transition. Reading the soon-to-be graduate's message instantly reminded me of my scurried transition to Denver in December 2014 and later to Chicago in 2015. My mind also shifted to my younger sister, Sarah Walsh, who's also graduating soon (and whom I selfishly want to move to Chicago). As a result, below is a non-exhaustive checklist I recommend to follow if you are gearing up for a potential post-graduate move.
During Your Last Semester(s) of School
SAVE! SAVE! SAVE! Of course enjoy your last months living close to your college friends. However, picking up a first or second job will help you secure funds for a security deposit and a couple months' rent in a new (potentially more expensive) city.
Coordinate interviews in your dream city during spring break. Of course, your peers may be going to Panama City Beach during spring break, but this week off of school may be a time for you to meet with potential employers, shadow someone for the day, or get coffee with future mentors during the week. Otherwise, it'll be hard to coordinate interviews and meet-ups when you're only free during the weekends. You can still explore a new place and your hopeful new home.
Coordinate meet-ups with potential roommates during spring break/free weekend. Spring break or another free weekend may also be a good time to meet with prospective roommates. Whichever roommate listing website you choose, be sure to bring your support system to these meet-ups in the interest of safety and comfort.
Consider subleasing an apartment. Subleasing for a tenant is a way to find renting options at a cheaper rate; buy cheap or no furniture; meet new people; and check out a new neighborhood without all the commitment. Once you are more settled in, you can better choose an apartment and roommates.
Get your letters of recommendation in order. Now is a good time to ask faculty, staff, and administration for references and letters of recommendation. Ask them while you are fresh in their memory!
Your First Couple of Weeks in Your New Home
Find a side job while searching for your dream job. If you move before landing a new position, find a placeholder job in the meantime. Hopefully you've saved enough money to spare you some time, but it's also good to continue earning income even while you are still job searching. (2-for-1: Work at a gym and get a free membership!)
Buy your public transportation pass. If your new home is public transportation-friendly, buy your bus or train pass and get familiar by taking public transportation while running post-move errands. Also, make your new work commute at least once before your first day.
Take yourself out to eat. Belly-up to a local brunch spot counter with a book or notebook in hand and treat yourself to a meal. This will get rid of some jitters of being in a new place alone and you may find it quite empowering. (2x Points: Find a cheap ticket to a concert and go solo!)
Connect with Others. There are numerous ways nowadays to connect with other young professionals in your area. Find a meet-up for young professionals in your industry, volunteer for an organizational or community event, check out a new church, or get coffee with a fellow alumni who lives in the city (even if you don't know them personally).
Get Active. Whatever your preferred method of burning calories, get active! Working out at a new gym in a new city kept me busy and from getting homesick. It's also a great way to be around and/or interact with others.
Turning your dream move into a reality requires proper preparation and intention. The first hump is affording such a move. After you've successfully moved, you should focus on your new career (or landing your future position), meeting others, finding empowerment in independence, and making sure your finances keep you afloat. Most importantly, do not feel rushed to move away from home after college if you are not financially and emotionally ready. If you have the option of moving with a loved one for free or at a cheaper rate of rent in your current or new city, take the opportunity! This way you can save and live with a familiar face until you are ready to transition into a new space. Savor moments with your college friends and loved ones before relocating to a new city, while also grinding and planning for your future home.