Happy Wednesday friends! Today’s post is going to be very different from my usual posts. Today I’ve enlisted some of my dearest friends to answer some tough questions about their experiences moving to a new city. I know this is a popular topic among twenty-somethings because this is the time in our lives when we have the most freedom to uproot and start fresh in a new city. People move for all kinds of reasons whether it be for a job, a relationship, or just for the experience and I think that moving outside of your comfort zone is the best thing that you can do for yourself! Since you’ve heard all about my own personal experiences as they relate to this topic I thought it’d be valuable to bring in some different perspectives.
I’ve asked my friends to talk to my SaraMagnolia.com readers about their personal experiences and answer questions like ‘what was the hardest part about moving?’ and ‘when did you finally start to feel a sense of normalcy again in your new home?’ along with a lot more (and so many stories about Bumble BFF)!
I’ll have them start out by introducing themselves and then they’ll jump into answering those questions! I’m also including #reallife photos of me and the girls because why not!?
Meet my friends:
Kirsten: Hello:) I am currently living in Raleigh, NC, working in Communications/Media Relations for the Carolina Hurricanes. I met Sara in 2015 when we were both working for the Tampa Bay Lightning. I was lucky enough to be sat at the cubicle right next to hers:) We became close pretty quick and we had one of the best office crews (Michelle down below included) that made coming to work so enjoyable. Lots of laughs and fun times, minus the time Sara poisoned me with her trail mix (jk she didn’t know I was allergic to apricots), but I’m glad we moved on and have become crazy dog mom best friends!
Leah: I work at the Holiday Inn Manhattan-Financial District hotel in Downtown NYC as a Junior Sales Manager. I sell room blocks of 5 or more rooms specifically to the Tour & Travel and SMERF (Social/Military/Educational/Religious/Fraternal) groups markets.
I met Sara initially through New Student Orientation in 2012, when we were both Orientation Leaders (my senior year and Sara’s sophomore year). Later on in the school year Sara joined our sorority and became my little! Funny fact: we both essentially share the same last name (my maiden name – yikes…I am getting old!) so we’re pretty much related according to our grandparents 🙂
Aly: I work in digital advertising as a Client Success Manager for Everyday Health, a health endemic publishing company. Think similar competitive space to WebMD, but rather than casually mentioning you have months to live, Everyday Health helps individuals who are currently living with a condition, such as Diabetes or MS.
I met Sara in the 10th grade while attending (the sketchiest old school) Driver’s Ed. Because class lasted from 8 am – 5pm and comfort was key (mind you the class occurred during our Winter vacation week), I was wearing a pair of my brother’s sweatpants with his all boys private school name on it. She happened to know half the school’s population per her affiliation with her all girls private school. Of course, the sweatpants lead to the name game and grabbing lunch together shortly thereafter. The rest is history!
Kinsey: Couldn’t get the waving hand emoji to show up so let’s pretend I started with that! I work for the Tampa Bay Lightning and oversee/manage all of the team’s social media platforms, as well as oversee the management of our Arena Football League team, the Tampa Bay Storm. While the Lightning is my biggest priority, I also have a hand in the accounts for our Lightning Foundation, Lightning Alumni, Lightning Made (youth hockey), our mascot ThunderBug, our arena accounts for Amalie Arena, and our retail arm, Tampa Bay Sports, as well as some copywriting/support for our players and head coach. Those accounts I don’t directly manage (except for special occasions), but often help with strategy/ideation and content creation should the need arise! I met Sara when she was still working for the Lightning, and I think we truly became friends after she told me we couldn’t be friends because we had nothing in common 🙂
Michelle: Hi! I live in New York City and I’m a sports broadcaster. I met Sara when we both worked for the Tampa Bay Lightning. At the time, I was the sideline reporter for the team and she was interning a few desks away from me. We also found out we were both in the same sorority at our colleges so a friendship was destiny!
Tell us a little bit about your most recent move.
Kirsten: In August of 2016 I moved to Raleigh, NC from Tampa. It was a pretty big deal because the previous year had been one of the best of my life personally and professionally, but I moved for the opportunity to advance my career. Tampa wasn’t where I originally grew up either. I moved to Florida from a small town in New York in 2011 for school, and after five years it felt pretty close to home to me so this has been tough.
Leah: I moved to Staten Island, NY in July 2015 from Western Massachusetts. My main motive was I got engaged in October 2014 and my (now) husband was an NYPD Officer. My job was definitely more transferable than his. After being at my (then) current position for two years it was time to start OUR new life together in NYC.
Before my move to NYC I had graduated College in Florida in May 2013 and relocated to Western MA. I moved to Western MA because I received a job opportunity in my career field right out of college – which doesn’t happen a lot nowadays…so I decided to jump on the opportunity immediately. I lived in Western MA for two (2) years and absolutely hated it. I commuted back “home” to Eastern MA almost every.single.weekend. When I got engaged in October 2014, I decided it was time to start planning my move to NYC, as I mentioned before, my husband’s job was non-transferable.
Aly: I moved to New York City in November 2015, roughly 6 months after I had graduated from Hobart & William Smith Colleges. Having grown up in the suburbs of Boston, and attending college in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, I was itching for a drastic, exciting, uncomfortable change. I wanted to be in a place – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually where I would feel so incredibly out of comfort zone, but not to the point where I lost myself. I was looking for a challenge, something different than what I had experienced before. I had received job offers in the Boston area, but I could see myself falling into a routine that I would eventually grow to loathe. The opportunity to move to New York sort of fell into my lap, special thanks to my colleges’ Career Services, and I moved full speed ahead with my sights set on the big city. The plus side of moving to New York was that home was only a short 3 and half hour ride away in the event I absolutely hated it.
Kinsey: My most recent move was to Tampa in October of 2015. Super easy motivation: The job with the Bolts! It’s been my dream since I was 16 to work for an NHL team, and the Lightning were on a very short list of teams I wanted to work for so when the job opened, I jumped on the chance to apply. It’s been my third “big move” since college – I moved to San Antonio, Texas after graduating in 2013 to work for the American Hockey League team there, and after a season there, moved to Connecticut to work in Massachusetts at the AHL league headquarters. I left the league to join the Lightning, and originally grew up in New York State.
Michelle: I recently moved to New York from Tampa and it was initially a very tough decision. I loved my job in Tampa and could have happily stayed with Fox Sports and the Lightning. However, I had grown up in Tampa and felt that it was time to spread my wings and take another step both professionally and also in my personal life. My boyfriend and I had been in a long distance relationship for over two years and he had moved to New York the year before. After a lot of back-and-forth weekends to New York, I decided that it was time to move permanently as we took the next step in our relationship. The move was daunting but I’m no stranger to relocation. I went to college in New Orleans, LA before moving to San Diego, CA for my first reporter job and then to Tampa, FL before most recently moving to New York.
What was your biggest reservation about moving?
Kirsten: That I was leaving my closest friends and people who had become family to go to a place where I had never been and where I knew absolutely no one. Also I know this sounds snobby (and I’m not!), but I was terrified of the fact that I was going to be so far away from the beach/coast. I grew up with the beach as my backyard in New York, and in Tampa there’s water all around you, but now I was headed for endless pine trees and mountains.
Leah: Finding a job! I had been looking for a new job for 6 months and wasn’t able to find anything! When it came time for my move – I moved without a job…scariest thing of my life, as I had never not had a job since I was 14 years old!
Aly: The job opportunity I was accepting – I was fearful that I was taking on a role that I would not like, and it would not materialize as promised. I had accepted a job with a start-up that had recently been acquired by a larger public company. While it was on my professional “to-do list” to work for a start-up, I was unsure what to expect.
Kinsey: It sounds super confident, but I don’t remember having very many reservations outside of the fact that I’d have to drive from Connecticut to Florida by myself, ha. Working for an NHL team was my dream job and what I’d been working towards since I was 19 and finally seeing all the hard work pay off was a really cool feeling. Living in Florida was and still is very different from growing up in the north, so I guess that was a little bit of a fear, but Tampa has been awesome so far.
Michelle: Oh man, there were a few reservations for me. I found it very difficult to initially accept the fact that a big factor in my decision was that I was moving for a relationship. I have always been very independent and the thought that I was uprooting my life for a boy didn’t sit well with me. In retrospect, it was the best thing I could have ever done for myself personally. He’s literally the best person I know. I was also afraid to leave the comfort of the Lightning and Fox. I had spent three years there and had a fulltime job with benefits, formed some incredible friendships and had my family close by. I was coming to New York to take a broadcasting job as a freelance reporter which meant a lot less security.
In the first few months after your move what were the biggest challenges you faced personally in your new environment? What were some of the thoughts going through your head during that time?
Kirsten: I am someone who likes to have a schedule and always have something to do next so I think just figuring out a routine, finding things around town that interested me to stay busy, and figuring out where I fit in at work. Like I said my time with the Lightning went above all expectations I had so I think I was hoping for it to be the same with the Hurricanes, but quickly realized it was a completely different vibe. I was only working part-time so I had a hard time grasping the fact that I wasn’t going to get to be as involved. Like I said I am happiest when I’m a busy-body and am constantly helping people. Everyone that I met had pretty much built their roots in the Raleigh area, went to either NC State or UNC Chapel Hill (which I also realized is the main subject/debate of all conversations so I was already an outcast in that department), everyone was pretty settled and never seemed interested in really making an effort to become friends. I have always prided myself on how independent I am, but I finally came to a point where I didn’t want all the independence and I truly felt lonely. Don’t get me wrong the southern hospitality couldn’t be more true, but I feel like it never went past that initial bubbly welcome.
Leah: In the first month of moving I spent (what felt like) endless hours searching for a job. There were days where I thought I had made the BIGGEST mistake because I couldn’t find anything. I also came across situations where I thought I was going to take any job that came across my plate, so I had some sort of income. I had lived in nothing but little towns my entire life and here I was like a fish out of water in this HUGE city. Everything was different – I even got a red light ticket my first full day being here – I didn’t even know what that was! Like everyone else said, making friends is extremely hard. I can honestly say I still don’t have a great group of girlfriends that are my age. I’m lucky that my husband has a huge family that I have grown extremely close too. I can also say I have gotten extremely close to my coworkers which has definitely helped me fill in the gaps of having close close friends nearby.
Aly: The first few months I was in the city, I definitely was on an adrenaline high – everything that shined I LOVED – , but I would say about 3-4 months in, the honeymoon phase had settled down. What I found the most challenging about New York was all the ranging cultures that surround you in such a small compact space. When I say culture I am including people, ways of life, cuisine, social habits, etc. – the possibilities are endless in New York ! I hate to admit sometimes, but having grown up and attended college in essentially cookie-cutter bubbles, I wasn’t fully aware of what existed beyond the environments I had spent a majority of my life. I have always been a person of routine – meaning I like to plan, I am a creature of habit, and #nonewfriends. New York City is a monster of a place that definitely did not embody any of these characteristics. It sounds silly, but something simple as navigating the different neighborhoods was overwhelming at times because the volume of New York is just so grand! Essentially, I had a difficult time identifying where I “fit” in the madness, finding “my place” and “my people” was something that was always a given. But in a place where I knew minimal, that was not the case.
Kinsey: Making new friends is so hard! You spend a lot of time with your co-workers, and walking that line between friendship and professionalism can be hard depending on who you’re working with. I had moved to Texas not knowing a soul, but fit in incredibly well at the Spurs (they own the AHL team I worked for) and absolutely loved the culture of the company but also of the city of San Antonio and the whole vibe. The Lightning offices are much different and I had a much harder time finding my groove and figuring out where I fit in. When I lived/worked in New England, I lived close to a lot of my friends from college and was a four-hour drive from home so I never felt like I was lonely or disconnected. I’ve made friends at work now and have some outside friends, but it’s still tough at times. Social media is also obviously completely public-facing, and our fans knew there was a different voice behind the account, and I got a lot of comments about how people missed my predecessor and how she did things, which was tough to constantly hear every day from the fans I was trying to connect with and create dope content for. Getting that feedback over and over was definitely a blow to my confidence and made me second guess everything all of the time.
Michelle: A lot of people told me I would hate New York before I’d grow to love it and truer words have never been spoken. At first I felt like an outsider. I didn’t understand the subway system, I found people to be much colder than in the south and I just couldn’t seem to keep up with the pace of the city. The hardest part was just four months into my job, the company I moved for stopped paying their employees. I had a few freelance gigs to keep me busy but it was the middle of multiple sports seasons and companies weren’t really hiring. Now I was faced with the reality that I’ve just moved to NYC and I no longer had a steady job. Add that to adjusting to a new city and also adapting to the growing pains that came with living with my boyfriend for the first time. To say the first few months were overwhelming would be an understatement.
How did you overcome these challenges?
Kirsten: I went for A LOT of runs. Thankfully the mountain scenery and trails were something that I really enjoyed, but I don’t think my dog enjoyed this period at all as she was always dragged along. I think I am still working to overcome some of the habits I picked up during this tough period. Reading Michelle’s response I feel a lot of the ways she did. She knows that I look up to her very much, and we talk often about these things, so I am hoping to soon move past all of the worry and overthinking and just be content with where I am, the opportunities that I have been given, and where it can all take me.
Leah: I am and always have been a firm believer in not getting wrapped up in the things you cannot control. So for me, when I started to get down on myself about not having my life figured out before moving to NYC, I had to tell myself to keep it going and never give up on finding a job. I had a lot of support from family and friends near and far rooting for me (and helping me – in anyway possible)! I refused to take a job just to take it (even when my conscious said to just take it so I could have some form of income), I didn’t want to waste my time or anyone else’s time. I also relied on a lot of support from my husband. He was my true backbone throughout the whole process – constantly telling me that I didn’t make a mistake and that my opportunity was going to come along.
Aly: I did not really have negative feelings towards the challenges I was facing when I moved to the city, because it was exactly the reason I had moved there. I knew the choice I had made was something I had wanted, and foresaw the opportunity in New York as a time for me to really find myself and assess what I wanted in the long run. I had all these thoughts and ideas about the person I had wanted to become, but always felt held back in some way. New York was my place to shine, to be challenged, and pushed out of my comfort zone. I stayed true to who I was, but I opened up myself to opportunities I normally would have not have taken advantage of in the past and started saying “yes” rather than “no.”
Kinsey: Working in sports is already demanding, and working in social is truly 24/7/365, but I really just threw myself into my work. I worked to make my own mark on the team, both in my direct job and with other things going on. I focused on stuff in my own personal life that I had let slide for years in my journey to making it to the NHL. I read a lot of books. Started writing again. I already knew a lot of my counterparts at other NHL teams from our time in the AHL, but I got to know other teams’ social media managers and forged relationships with them that turned into friendships that are now some of the most important in my life. My second year at the Lightning saw a huge improvement in not only my outlook, but in the things I was able to accomplish, so I just kept my head down and kept working.
Michelle: You know the saying “fake it til you make it?” I lived by that in the beginning. It wasn’t always easy and I definitely had my share of hardships but I also grew so much as a person during that tough transitionary time. I learned how to find fulfillment in things other than just my job. In the past, I equated my entire identity to my job title. It gave me a sense of self worth, which was so unhealthy! Having a tough few months in New York forced me to find things that made me happy that weren’t affiliated with my career. I grew as a person, I stopped worrying about things that really didn’t matter and I stopped making things a competition. I let go of my jealousy towards where others were in their careers and just focused on my own journey. I volunteered places, met new people, worked out a lot and formed new friendships. By focusing my energy on what made me happy and finding peace with where I was in my life, I felt more positive things come my way including some great career opportunities!
About how long did it take for you to get into a routine and start to feel a sense of normal again after your move?
Kirsten: I would say that I got into a routine about four months into my move but I don’t think it was a routine I was happy with. I think it was just a schedule that I did everyday to get me through the day. Knowing this season will be different with a new, full-time role where I will get to be more involved at work makes me excited that I will finally be able to find my tribe, sense of community, and the routine that I want.
Leah: When I moved to NYC my life was a whirlwind between finding a new job, decorating our apartment we had just moved into…and planning a wedding in Massachusetts – when we lived in NY. I can honestly say I don’t think my life was really 100% together until after my wedding last August. When I came back from my honeymoon I felt like a huge brick had been lifted off my chest. I had just gotten a promotion at work, there was no more wedding planning and life could finally just fall into place.
Aly: Honestly, my routine has fluctuated a number of times over the last year and 10 months I have lived here; I can’t really pinpoint a time where I felt a sense of normal, because it’s varied so much! I will say this though – New York started to feel like home roughly 6 months in. I am constantly looking for ways to improve my lifestyle whether that be a fitness regimen or meeting new people. However, my latest routine feels like the best version of myself. I think the various trial and errors of other routines has finally highlighted on what I want and need in order to be the best version of myself.
Kinsey: My life in-season revolves around the team and when they’re playing, whether they’re home or away, etc. So I was able to jump right into that and have my professional routine slide right back into position. It took a few months to figure out the other stuff – where am I grocery shopping, where am I getting gas for my car, where is my mechanic, what bar is good for happy hour, etc. – and now I feel much more comfortable in my surroundings and like more of a local, so to speak. I also moved to a new apartment in a better area after my first year which I believe has contributed A LOT to my improved outlook on life.
Michelle: Easily 6-7 months until I felt like the best version of myself. As I mentioned, Manhattan was very intimidating at first but after I stopped trying to “keep up” with that lifestyle and just focused on myself I found that I adapted quickly. Now I love the subway system, I don’t know how I’d live without it! I actually really enjoy New Yorkers and their personalities and I feel up to speed with the pace of the city.
How did you find your tribe in your new city?
Kirsten: All of my friends know that I am not about the online dating scene, but since I didn’t know anyone in the area I thought why not give it a shot. So I joined Bumble/Bumble BFF and I honestly just couldn’t get myself to enjoy it. It just never felt like I was meeting/talking to anyone that I connected with or had a lot in common with. Thankfully after a random run-in with some lady in the grocery store who, by looking at my height, asked if I played volleyball (which I do), started talking to me about a competitive club team in the area that was looking for coaches. I ended up meeting with the Director the next day and was brought on as a resource coach. I basically went to any practice that would fit my schedule considering it varies each week based on hockey games, but this little side job helped so much. All the coaches were fun and so nice, and I basically got paid to just scrimmage every night! I also was able to meet one of our hockey players wives at a team event. We are the same age and hit it off immediately. She has been through the whole moving thing and not knowing anyone so she made such an effort to help me not feel so alone. She gets involved with a ton of stuff in the community so I started tagging along with her and it made me feel so good. We have so much in common, including the same birthday, workout drive, and they have dogs so I finally had someone that I could do every day normal things with rather than just doing them alone. I definitely still have a long way to go but making that good group of friends takes serious time. I’m hoping that once I am more involved at work this season I’ll be able to find a group there and feel more a part of that team.
Leah: Like Michelle said – making friends is seriously the hardest thing. Between figuring out your life, your career and all the other things that make your world go round, now you have to add finding friends into the mix? For me personally – Staten Island is seriously another world. I feel like everyone on this island has been here for life and they’re friends with the same people since they were five years old – making it extremely difficult. I have become really close with my coworkers and when I go out – it’s more often than not, with them. Like everyone else said – making friends in a city is a work-in-progress and you can’t give up. There are plenty of people out there that are in similar situations…it’s just a matter of finding them.
Aly: For a girl who grew up in New England, and attended college in upstate New York, you would think some of my good friends would end up in NYC. I could not be more far from wrong! (Looking at you Sara!) I was lucky enough to move in with a friend from college, we had studied abroad together our Junior year. Though we did not run in the same social circles in school, she introduced me to some of her friends who have also become my own. Still going strong (almost) 2 years later! I actually had the opposite experience of everyone else – I joined BumbleBFF and met 3 great girls, all whom lived in my neighborhood on the Upper East Side. The girls I met were all in similar boats as myself – we had all recently moved to the city and didn’t have a plethora of friends to tackle the big city with. What we did have in common was we loved boozy brunch, boutique dessert shops and netflix binging – I mean really, what more could a girl need? What had originally started as a group of girls to hang out with on Saturdays, turned into some of my truest friends. I also joined the New York Junior League for volunteering and networking purposes and have met a few women I share greater values with. My latest social find has been Crossfit – I hate to say it but I LOVE IT! The energy, motivation, and people remind me of my competitive days as a collegiate athlete . One of my favorite things about New York is that there is the opportunity to meet people anywhere depending on your scope of interests. Unlike other environments I have lived in previously, there is always an opportunity to meet someone new.
Kinsey: I never tried Bumble BFF (Sara’s stories were enough to scare me off especially when she accidentally swiped on someone she didn’t want to talk to when she was trying to show me the girl), and spent my first year hanging out with a few co-workers in my department. But those relationships weren’t born out of actual compatibility, and it took me awhile to see that and change it. My second season, I met a girl through a co-worker and her and I became incredibly close and now she is one of my closest friends in Tampa. There are two girls at work that have become two of my closest friends and no longer “just co-workers.” But the best ever thing is that my best friend from home moved to Tampa also this past year and him and I now can walk to each other’s apartments and go to dinner or drinks or just chill and watch a movie like we did growing up. Him being here has been a complete blessing and exactly at the time I needed him!
Michelle: Making friends in the city is hands down the hardest part. Although there are so many people in NYC, everyone seems to have their social circles. I joined Bumble BFF initially (because Sara convinced me to) and I just found it to be a little forced. Talk about getting out of your comfort zone! It literally felt like online dating. I only ended up meeting one girl but she’s great and we’ve become friends so I see that you could find success with that. I also started volunteering with Best Buddies and found a few women that I shared similar values with. Honestly when I stopped obsessing about not having friends was when I felt like I started to organically make them. I’m definitely still in that process but I have a few girls here that I love getting brunch/wine with and another that’s my go-to workout buddy.
How and where did you find a sense of community in your new city? If you have not found a place where you have a sense of community talk about that experience.
Kirsten: If you have not realized yet I think that my moving process this time around is taking a lot longer to adjust to than it normally would for most. Mainly because I moved for a part-time job and was only guaranteed a single season with the team at first. There was always a lot of uncertainty. I don’t know if I have found a sense of community yet but I definitely make the effort. I am a huge workout junkie and have a few memberships that I consistently use, but in general Raleigh is not a big fitness town which has been a bummer. In Tampa you’re constantly seeing people out running or biking, and the people in the gym are young and competitive, but in North Carolina it seems to be a lot of older people looking to just be healthier. I mean let me tell you these people take their BBQ and Bojangles very seriously, I think I am the only person at work that uses the salad bar! I am looking into joining a private gym though so I think that will help a lot. I also started going to church with our player and his wife and when I am not on the verge of tears with how relatable the messages are to my life, it has been really helpful. You just get such a sense of clarity and I think my biggest issue with the move has been that I have kind of lost what I want for myself in life being so wrapped up in the emotions of everything else, so this has really helped start to guide me back.
Leah: For me, I found a sense of community through meeting other NYPD girlfriends & wives. I was able to relate with these other woman, which gave me a little sense of comfort knowing I wasn’t the only one kissing their loved one goodbye and never knowing if they’d come home that night. I connected well with the other woman I work with. I am constantly using their experience and career journeys as motivation to get myself (someday) where they are now. I have also – in the past few months – started attending SoulCycle classes in the city (I am 100% obsessed and Sara will tell you that). That place is truly the most warm welcoming and lemony scented place from the staff to the instructors to your fellow riders. Every week I go in and take 45 minutes to reset myself mentally and physically which is a common goal for myself and the 50 something other people in the room.
Aly: I would say I do not have one particular community I rely on because I have found it in different people in varying places. From BumbleBFF to the New York Junior League, I value all communities because each person and objective brings something different to the table. To preface, I have always been like this. I have always had friends running in different circles, fulfilling different purposes/aspects of my life. I will say Crossfit is where I feel the most comfortable when it comes to being active. While I am still relatively new to the Crossfit community, fitness has been a huge priority of my life for as long as I can remember. The people and the mission of Crossfit definitely abide by how I choose to live my everyday life.
Kinsey: I’m not a very sentimental person, but I think what I’m about to say is a little sentimental, haha. This past year finding some true, close friends have really been a sense of community to me. We go to happy hour or brunch, or we sit and watch crappy reality TV, or we go to concerts or try new events that are going on in the city – or in Sara and I’s case, fly drones in her house and hope we don’t break anything! But finding those few close friends and going and doing stuff with them has been a huge help and made me feel like I fit into the city of Tampa which is something I didn’t have at all my first year here.
Michelle: I’d say I feel the greatest sense of community at my gym. I joined Equinox which was an investment. The gym is very expensive and initially I was very hesitant to essentially start using my savings to afford a gym. However, it gave me access to gyms and classes all around the city. Once I started finding instructors and classes I liked, I’d follow those instructors all over the city to their different classes which made me explore without even meaning to. I also started to find that certain classes had a lot of people who were my age and like-minded. Even if we only saw each other at Equinox and made small talk, it’s always nice to have them there as friendly familiar faces. I also found community at church. I grew up catholic and have always had a relationship with God but I wouldn’t describe myself as a devout catholic. However, I began going to church more frequently and found that it just helped get me in the right mindset for the week ahead. Also, oftentimes I found the homilies to be relatable to what I was experiencing at the time! Coincidence? I think not!
What was the most rewarding part of your move to a new city?
Kirsten: The most rewarding part for me is that I was given the opportunity to continue to work in sports at the professional level and remain in the department that I want to be in. It may not be my dream position or the most glamorous role yet, but making your way into the sports industry is not easy, and sticking with it is hard. There are a lot of people out there fighting for the very few openings that come up, but this is something that I am very passionate about and am willing to work for so I need to look at these new cities and new experiences as positives and know that one day it will all get me to where I want to be. Speaking of which, after working part-time in the NHL for the past two seasons, I just officially accepted my first full-time job with the Carolina Hurricanes so it seems like the move was worth it after all:)
Leah: The most rewarding part of moving to a new city for me was finally getting to start my life with my husband. Long distance is hard – especially when your schedules are the exact opposite. After college we lived in separate states for two years. He has an extremely tough job, and a lot of times I wouldn’t hear from him for several hours. If I am being honest with you, I still don’t see him a lot – as our schedules are still opposite, but there is a little more sense of security when I wake up in the morning and know he got home safe.
In addition to my personal reasons – I can honestly say it is truly rewarding to work in one the busiest cities in the US. Being able to say I worked in a hotel in NYC is a huge win for my resume. It’s not for everyone and you have to work hard and prove that you are able to take on a position in such a crazy city…no matter what field you are in!
Aly: I did it – I am a 24-year old young professional living and working in New York City. Okay, can we just stop and acknowledge just how AWESOME that is?! This is something I will be sharing with my great grandkids! As simple as it sounds, supporting myself, and being on my own in one of the most populated cities in the world, and competitive job markets is truly the most rewarding part of moving and living in New York. There are moments when I stop and think about how lucky and proud I am of myself for taking the initiative, and going two feet in on this chapter of my life.
Kinsey: Working in the NHL! I grew up in a super small town in New York, and literally E V E R Y B O D Y growing up was like, ‘oh you’ll never make it, that’s such a hard field to get into, everyone wants to do that’ yadda yadda. But I started interning in hockey when I was 19, never gave up, moved across the country at 22 for the job in Texas, and basically told everyone to shove it, ha. I always knew I could do it, always had tunnel vision for what I wanted, but it’s pretty hilarious going home now and all those same people try hitting me up for tickets or ask if I know Steve Yzerman.
Michelle: The transition from feeling so defeated by New York to seeing New York as my oyster! Being able to see the light at the end of the tunnel after enduring the ups and downs is incredibly rewarding and makes me really proud of myself!!
What have you learned about yourself personally and professionally during this whole process?
Kirsten: I think a lot of my journey as a young adult has tested my strength and this move was probably one of the biggest. But with a great support system of family and friends who have been through or are going through the same things I was able to stay strong and see once again why fighting through it is worth it. Personally, I think you need to always remember that no matter what you are never alone and there is always someone out there that wants to help. Professionally I learned that if you have a dream don’t give up on it. Even if you feel like you aren’t challenged to the best of your ability, and you feel like you’re doing pointless tasks, do them anyways. Every piece of experience counts and the more effort your supervisors see you put in, the better chance you have for them to help you get to where you want to be.
Leah: Personally, I learned to stay strong and keep your head up no matter what situation gets thrown your way. Life is all about learning through all your experiences – both the good and the bad!
Professionally, I have grown immensely. After moving from what is considered a “small” city it was hard to find a job with no experience in the NYC market. I really had to prove myself, and I did just that. I was promoted within a year of landing my first job. This city really makes you work for what you want. The “concrete jungle” is no joke…and people will do whatever it takes to stay afloat. You have to be organized and go for what you want!
Aly: Personally, your happiness trumps all. You are living product of your choices, opinions, and experiences. Participate in what you value, and happiness will follow.
Professionally, if you do not get it right the first time, do not be intimidated, ashamed or unwilling to try again. Similar to what Kirsten said, every experience is relative, whether or not it has anything to do with what your desired end goal. I thought after graduating college I wanted to work in healthcare and digital. Through my current job, I have realized I want to pivot my career to enhance character and performance development in larger corporations. I actually realized this through a negative management experience, funny how things work out. While I have not made the transition yet, I have made positive advancements to help me get there.
Kinsey: Personally, I’ve always marched to the beat of my own drum (is that the phrase?) and it’s been hard a lot of times but it always pays off to be true to yourself and your dreams. There are going to be days where everything is a disaster and you think you’ve messed everything up, but you always rebound. You always learn and you always grow. Professionally, I’ve learned how to both manage someone under me and also manage up and navigate the different ideas and expectations of our executives, our sponsors, our fans, our players, hockey ops, everyone. I’ve gotten more comfortable saying no to situations that don’t feel right but also branching out and saying yes to things that make my anxiety go haywire but end up being good for me in the long run.
Michelle: That real happiness and true success come from the journey and finding out who you really are. I’ve learned so much about myself from a personal standpoint. I’ve grown in my faith and strengthened my relationship with God. I’ve learned that I’m much stronger than I ever thought I was. Professionally, I learned that I don’t have to have the best job to have self-worth. However, New York is a great place to network and connect with people and once I embraced it I landed some really fun gigs. Most recently I landed a sideline reporter job with a national network covering college football!
What three words would you use to describe your experience moving and adapting to a new city?
Kirsten: I would definitely agree with Lonely, and add Anxiety and Pride
Leah: Adventurous, Anxiety (times 1,000) and life-changing
Aly: Lonely, Selfish, Limitless
Kinsey: Lonely for me also at first, but also eye-opening (in a good way), and fulfilling
Michelle: (Great word choice Aly!) Uncertainty, Overwhelming, Gratifying
What do you wish you had known before you moved?
Kirsten: To trust that starting a new chapter is exciting, and to not put an unrealistic image in your mind of what you think it is going to be like (good or bad). Just take the transition day by day.
Kinsey: That it’s ok to not have everything figured out ASAP. You’ll still survive. I moved to Texas with no apartment, only my clothes + some belongings, and no car while I waited for it to get shipped down. I made myself write a list and completed things each day, and that helped me compartmentalize all the big things I needed to be done and kept me from having a full-blown panic attack. My boss was also a total superstar and drove me everywhere I needed to be and helped me with whatever I needed. He and I to this day are still very close (he works for the Detroit Red Wings now) and I consider him like an older brother. Moving to Tampa was a little less stressful since it was my third time!
Leah: I think Kinsey said it perfectly – “That it’s ok to not have everything figured out ASAP. You’ll still survive.” I did survive (at least I think I did). In the beginning, it was really hard for me to believe that…I was a planner and always had been. But life isn’t perfect. You’re going to have really good days and some really sh*tty days and that’s OK. It is all about how you tackle each good time and bad time has thrown your way.
Aly: There will be good days, and there will be bad days – what you do about it, what you learn from it, and how you grow from it matters most. Be present, and be mindful of your experiences, and appreciate the journey.
Michelle: That each move is different and that it’s okay. When I first moved to San Diego, I was at a completely different point in my life. I adapted quickly. I loved the beach and the lifestyle and made friends very easily. Moving back to Tampa was familiar because I had grown up there so there weren’t many growing pains. New York was a completely different animal! I wish I had allowed myself to be more patient early on and not tried to meet unrealistic expectations!
Would you move again if the opportunity presented itself?
Kirsten: I would. Well at least now while I am young and have no attachments. I am a very independent person and there are so many places that I really want to see and places that I think I would really enjoy living in. I have been up and down the East Coast thus far, but have always had the itch to head out west!
Leah: My husband and I both would love to move back to Tampa. However, I am not going to lie moving is a HUGE pain in the a**. Moving expenses are crazy, finding a new job is…scary and not knowing if you’re actually going to like it until it could be too late. If you’re young and not tied down – I say absolutely 100% – “Go for it!” For me, there are a lot of factors and pros/cons that have to be compared not only for myself but my husband and our families.
Aly: Absolutely – I am actually considering making the move to a new city sometime in the next year. If anything, New York City has taught who I do not want to be and helped provide clarity about the environment and culture I best thrive in. While I am in a relationship, we are actually slowly sneaking up on our five year anniversary (ah crazy!), I have always been an independent individual who wants to be the best version of myself before settling down and growing with another person. Luckily, my boyfriend is supportive of my drive and the self-development path I have actively chosen to take. While long distance has been hard for the past two years, I know that I am a stronger and better person for it.
Kinsey: 100 percent! I was born in California and most of my family is still in the Bay Area, and that’s where I would love to end up again. My brother just transferred to college out there, and I’ve never quite felt at home anywhere like I do every time I go back to visit. Moving so many times in such a short time span has really taken the fear and anxiety out of the whole process for me.
Michelle: Heck yes! I have always loved living in and exploring new places. Although, New York is now really starting to grow on me so I plan to sit tight for a bit here. Funny how things have changed!
What are some words of advice to someone who might be contemplating relocating to a new city?
Kirsten: If you have the opportunity to explore your new city a little before you move take it! I had to relocate, find a place to live, and start my new job all in a couple of weeks so it didn’t help make it an easier transition when I had never been in the surrounding area before.
Leah: Do it while you are young and have no major obligations!
Aly: Set forth no limits, your potential is boundless.
Kinsey: Do it!!!! You’ll never know who you’ll meet, what opportunities you’ll find, or where a new city will take you. Never, ever let anyone tell you you can’t do something. If you want it, and you’ve worked hard for it, go for it.
Michelle: “Sometimes it’s the journey that teaches you a lot about the destination” Enjoy the ride. Take a chance.
Wow! How amazing are these women? I hope that this interview gives you the information and confidence you need to take the leap of faith and make the move! Thank you to Kirsten, Aly, Leah, Michelle, and Kinsey for contributing to today’s post and opening themselves up to my SaraMagnolia.com readers! I hope you found this post useful and I would love to hear your feedback in the comment section down below!
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