How to Adjust to On-Campus City Living

Macmillan Employee
Macmillan Employee
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There’s so much to do in the city!



Transitioning into college can be tough. For most, it is your first time living on your own, and you are expected to make new friends, explore new surroundings, and stay healthy all while attending class! These challenges can sometimes feel bigger for those attending a metropolitan campus rather than a traditional insular one, but living in an urban area has its benefits. Here are some tips I learned about navigating college life in a big city!

Attend Campus Events

Without a traditional campus, it may be harder to find big groups of freshmen congregating during your first week of school. However, that does not mean that these gatherings do not exist! All freshmen are in the same boat, and are looking to make new friends. That’s why it’s especially important to attend campus events during your first few weeks of the semester. These events may take place at the library, dining hall, or other areas inside your dorm. Not all city schools prioritize Greek life, so make sure to look out for when/where the club fair is taking place so you can meet others with similar interests as you!

Prioritize the Outdoors 

No Quad? No problem! It’s always important to get outdoors, even if your school is not surrounded by nature. Make walking a part of your day even when you are not rushing from class to class. Find the closest park or beach to your dorm and spend time there with a book or with some friends. 

Learn Local Transit 

Learning how to get around a new city can be daunting, but you have a whole city to explore, and four years to get your bearings! Befriend a local or use the city's transit app to navigate the train or bus system your city provides. It may seem scary for the first few months, but once you get the hang of it you will feel much more comfortable in your new home!

Take Advantage of Your Surroundings 

Now that you know how to get around - it’s time to make the most of it. One of the major benefits of attending school in a metropolitan area is that you are not limited to collegiate life. Make friends with other students in the area, or get an off-campus job at that hip restaurant or café you’ve been meaning to check out. Most theaters, sporting arenas, and museums have student discounts/comped tickets if you look on their website. If you are 21+, you can even explore the local nightlife. Don’t be afraid to sign up for that dorm event to attend a local street fair! With so much going on, it is impossible to not find a niche or a new favorite place. 

Have Fun!

While it is not for everyone, attending a non-traditional college campus was one of the best decisions I ever made for myself. I was able to feel confident exploring new places, learned how to take it slow in a fast paced environment, and did it all while attending school and making best friends for life!


Jaden Urso
New York University

Jaden Tyler Urso is a senior at New York University studying English, creative writing, and theater. She hopes to work in the publishing industry and is an aspiring playwright. She is a cat person and her favorite color is blue.