I grew up in a small town in Upstate New York. While I loved the closeness of my community, I wanted to broaden my horizons by going to college in a city. Moving to a city brings so many opportunities and experiences, but it also is a big adjustment: I wanted to find a college where I would be exposed to new ideas and situations, but where I would also find a supportive community like the one I had in my hometown.
At UChicago, I love that I can meet people and explore the city with my House. I also really appreciate my UPass, which enables UChicago students to ride on Chicago trains and buses for free, and Chicago’s airports, which make it easy for me to go home for the holidays.
Looking back at my experience, I am so happy that I decided to step out of my comfort zone. Adjusting to city life wasn’t difficult, and I am so glad that I chose a school that made me feel comfortable in this new situation. Here are some things that made my adjustment to city life easier:
Make a list of places you want to visit. Having a “bucket list” of restaurants, attractions, and events encouraged me to get out and experience the city! I get recommendations of places to visit from my friends and social media (check out #chicagofood on Instagram—you won’t regret it!), and I keep them in a list on my phone notes.
Explore with friends. Exploring a new place alone can be intimidating, so bring some friends along to visit the next place on your list! Luckily at UChicago, you have a natural community of friends with your House, and many houses schedule trips throughout the city. All first-years have to adapt to their new environment, and people are always looking for exciting ways to experience their campus and city.
Go to events around the city. I find lots of information about events online or from flyers around campus. Going to events and meeting people from around Chicago really helped me feel like I was a part of a community. Some of my favorite events have been the opera, readings at the Poetry Foundation, artist talks at galleries downtown, and a yoga class in Millennium Park!
Find things that remind you of home. I grew up near a lake, so every time I visit the 57th Street Beach (only a mile from campus!) it reminds me of home. It is really nice to have a place where I can go when I feel a little homesick, and the views of Lake Michigan are an added bonus!