I’ve been in the big apple for a month now, and I think it’s high time I share some of my oh-so-worldly wisdom with all of you. Maybe you have an internship now, or maybe you’ll get one in the future, but either way if you end up in a big city coming from a small town, life can be a bit intimidating. Your can-do attitude begins to slip away with every time you miss your train, the subway gets delayed and you’re late to work, you get lost or you make a wrong turn. But if my month in the city has taught me anything, it’s that people are more understanding than you think and sometimes wrong turns lead to great things. (I got on the wrong train and met Debra Messing. Best. Wrong. Turn. Ever.)
#1 Go to bed early — this isn’t college. You can’t skip the first couple hours of work, and when you’re depending on public transportation, why take the risk of sleeping late and your train getting delayed?
#2 Stay out late on the weekends only, and I don’t mean Cornell weekends — no Thursday night outings. Yes, cities don’t sleep. But you should. And you should do it soberly if you want to do well. Once you’re a seasoned city-ite, then maybe you can start hitting the town on a Tuesday.
#3 Maybe you did get up early and your train still got delayed. Don’t freak out. It happens, people understand. Take a deep breath and enjoy the pan flutist next to you.
#4 If you get lost and your iPhone map is telling you that Madison Ave. only exists in Vermont, find a police officer to ask directions from. And if there isn’t one nearby, not all city folk are too stuck up to help you out, but be careful to not look timid or too lost and hold your belongings tight.
#5 On that note, never get too comfortable. It’s great to have the people-are-mostly-good attitude, but every once in awhile you might find yourself near someone who will snatch your phone right out of your hands, so grip your belongings close to you and turn your facial expression to bad-ass.
#6 And on that note, even if you’re as lost as if you were in Kalamazoo, never look it. NEVER. Don’t let your guard down and don’t stare at your map on a street corner. You’re screaming tourist, and even worse, target. This may seem obvious, but those two seconds it’s taking you to map your directions is all someone needs to snatch your phone. If you need to look up directions, do it inside the nearest store while looking like you’re perusing the merchandise.
#7 Cabs are great, but not every cab driver knows exactly where 60 East End St. is. To sound like a true city-goer, you have to give them the cross streets. Look them up on your smart phone, ask someone or use an old-fashioned map. That will minimize confusion and make you sound like you actually know what you’re doing.
#8 I know there are 1,067,890 Starbucks every square mile in any city, but if you want to avoid going broke (which, in case you weren’t sure, you do), avoid the bucks and find a smaller coffee shop. (See what I did there? Starbucks ? Bucks? Like money? I’m hilarious.)
#9 Don’t take the Subway before 7 AM or after 9 PM alone if you can avoid it. Those are prime hours for not-so-friendly people to be patrolling, so if you absolutely have to use it, the buddy system stands.
#10 Do some touristy things! I know you want to fit in and act like you’ve been living in the city your whole life, but don’t be afraid to do some of the fun, sight-seeing that the natives have become jaded with.
So have fun! Make good choices! Feel like a real grown-up, but listen to your mother — she knows what she’s talking about. Or at the very least, listen to me. Because, you know, I’m an expert.
Original Author: Rachel Ellicott