Big cities are crowded, competitive and challenging. In other words, they are exactly what a 20-something needs.
"When you're stacked up against your peers, you can really measure yourself and see how you're doing," says Coltrane Curtis, cofounder and managing partner of Team Epiphany, a brand solutions agency in NYC. "The city serves as an excellent yard stick."
Cuts in federal spending have created a fierce job market where every position is highly coveted. In San Francisco, you need to earn $29.83 an hour to afford a one bedroom apartment.
Whatever "big city" you pick (every state has one or two), you will be battle-tested and hopefully well-prepared for the rigors of adulthood.
Here are 11 reasons why 20-somethings should move to a big city:
1. It makes you grow up quickly
Spend one week in the big city and you'll realize people are less compassionate about your issues and more concerned with their own. It's not the cozy, safe college campus you once knew. Big cities have an edge to them, and only the strong succeed.
2. Big cities put you in another gear
The minute you walk out the door each morning, you go. You blow past the crowds to make the bus before the door closes, scurry across an intersection to avoid a wave of oncoming traffic and hustle in the office because, well, everyone else moves fast, too. The ability to work quickly will then follow you throughout the rest of your career.
3. You deal with massive egos
Where do "important" people work? At the top of skyscrapers in big cities, that's where. As a 20-something, it can feel like "The Devil Wears Prada" as you appease top executives and their often arrogant demands.
One day, you'll look back and laugh. You'll realize how that crazy boss made you strong enough to handle anyone.
4. You say hello to the world
Big cities are full of opportunities for 20-somethings. Soon enough, you'll befriend people from all walks of life (foreign and American), broaden your worldview and begin to understand where you fit in this giant, spinning orb called Earth.
Plus, if you live in DC, you'll eat Peruvian chicken, and life will never be the same.
5. You learn to budget your money
If you need to make almost $30 an hour for a one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco, then money will be tight. Plus, everything costs more in a metropolitan area, not just rent. It's humbling to say, "I don't think I can go out tonight; I need to save a little."
6. You get knocked down
Some jerk at the office will tear you apart when you make a mistake. Some crazy landlord will scream at you for loud music (even though it wasn't loud). Some hotshot businessman will actually knock you to the ground as he runs to catch the subway -- while on the phone -- at 5:07 pm.
Good. I hope you pick up a few bumps and bruises. You'll heal and be tougher for it.
7. Big cities have the job you want
A recent study found that places like NYC, Chicago and Houston hire the most entry-level managers ($53,000), software engineers ($72,000) and accountants ($30,000).
Want to kick-start a career? Start your schooling in a big city.
8. Huge ideas happen in a crowded place
Young professionals in cities like Boston live there because they want and thrive on action. So when two MIT students hang in the same area long enough, they eventually crash into each other and produce brilliant ideas, like Dropbox.
9. Big cities force you to make do with less
Smaller apartment equals less furniture, a smaller bedroom equals smaller mattress and a smaller closet equals less clothes.
In a big city, you learn to sacrifice. In exchange, you receive the perks of a metropolis: a wealth of culture, food, entertainment and the fervent energy that breathes life into everything -- even on a Wednesday at 3 am.
10. Never a dull moment
There's always a cool concert or festival happening, and there's always a new restaurant to try.
You're never bored in a big city or allowed to say, "There's nothing to do." That's reserved for people in the suburbs.
11. Big cities set you up for success
After time in the big city, no challenge is too daunting, no person too demanding and no moment too intimidating. You emerge from the fray stronger and sharper.
Congrats! You survived the big city and have earned whatever good fortune comes next.
What do you love about life in the big city? Share below!
Photo via We Heart It