December 4, 2020

STELLA | Where to Live Post-Grad, and Who With

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Many of us don’t have a choice – the industry we find ourselves magnetized towards grounds us  in a certain metropolis. Sucks. But if you’re not a future Wall Street tradesperson or Hollywood insider, you might find yourself applying to jobs or graduate programs across the country, if not the world. Life outside of our humble town with just a single Chipotle seems daunting.

A cost-saving option is to move back home, and especially with the second wave of COVID-19 (or in Texas and Florida’s cases: one long, consistent shit-show) in full bloom, living at home for three to six months doesn’t seem totally outside of the realm of possibilities. Still, 22 is a bit old to wake up to mom participating along with the home Zumba class in the living room. A place of our own, even if the office or classroom isn’t open, is a sanctuary we can’t put a price on.

Even if it’s not in our childhood home, moving back to the city or town we grew up in is commonplace amongst all college-grads. The nostalgia of walking past our elementary schools, dining at our favorite high-school date hotspots, strolling through the park where we had our first sips of alcohol and experienced true peer pressure – it might be too hard to give up. I myself want to move back to my former stomping grounds one day, raise my children in the same city I grew up, as long as it hasn’t sunken with the rising tides by then.

There is one breed of Cornellian, in particular, that is the least willing to abandon their childhood city. The vast majority of Cornell New Yorkers don’t bat an eye in deciding where to live. Campagna on First Avenue is too gas to give up, and the smoke spots along the East River too fire to abandon. The East Village is a petri dish of Comm and AEM majors. Brooklyn a melting pot of AAP grads and Music majors. Of course, New York is termed the world’s economy (probably by a New Yorker) and there are many industries to enter upon arrival. It’s why many of us non-natives move there after Cornell as well. If you’re looking for a great night life, meals more expensive than your security deposit, and a place that still has Taxis, New York is your best bet (get it, bet?). Of course, if you find yourself moving to the Big Apple, you’ll have no shortage of roommates from Cornell. The problem then, lies in who to choose. A three bedroom above Duane Reade will inevitably leave some friends heartbroken.

Those of us with more of a choice usually wind up between a handful of cities spread across the country. There are exceptions, of course, who venture to Nashville (my number 2 to raise kids – My first born destined to be the next Kelly Clarkson or Blake Shelton), Portland (though Cornell may not like cold brew and beanies in warm weather enough) or Cleveland (I don’t know enough about it to make a joke). The more typical hotspots are the Bay Area, L.A., Chicago, D.C., Seattle, Boston and, perhaps, Austin or Denver. It may seem like a lot to choose from, but we often limit ourselves to what we know. A five month (or in the current seniors’ case three month) abroad trip enough of a cultural immersion to last us a lifetime.

As if choosing where to live weren’t hard enough, finding roommates doubles the struggle. We’re either left with too many friends to pick from, or a dwindling list of maybes to beg to room with us. For those in the first column, you might find yourself trying to balance home friends with school ones, promising Alice she’ll get along with Emma because they both like Smash Mouth. Us in the second column are faced with the guy who eats buffalo wings for every meal and lives with a colony of fruit flies in his room, and the guy who was known by a guy that another guy knew that your friend told you about, who likes Silence of the Lambs a little too much.

We pick based on what we’ve heard and what we think will cater to our interests. Miami has dance clubs and we took a Salsa class Junior year of high school, San Diego is surfer’s galore and we used to boogie board on trips to Hawaii while mom and dad took pictures. 

It doesn’t much matter, 80 percent of you will end up in New York anyway.

AJ Stella is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences. He can be reached at astella@cornellsun.comStellin’ It Like It Is runs alternate Fridays this semester.