20 Things You Learn When You Move From A Small Town To A Big City

by Heather Parks

Living the urban lifestyle seems to be a common dream among members of Generation-Y.

We crave to be where culture is diverse, the nightlife alive and the opportunities are endless.

For some, city life comes naturally and subsists instinctually. For others, the street smarts don’t come as easily.

When you’ve spent most, if not all, of your life living comfortably in a small town, adapting to the urban jungle is not an easy feat. In fact, you have to learn to laugh at yourself because you’ll likely make some really stupid mistakes.

While you may find yourself discouraged or overwhelmed along the way, challenging yourself with new and unfamiliar environments is one of the most exciting things you can do.

It will, of course, be hard at times. You will want to give up and return to the life that was predictable and easy, but it’s all part of the learning experience that will ultimately lead to growth.

That being said, here are a handful of things that may give you small-town natives a little head start:

1. Don't drive.

Driving your car anywhere can turn what you think will be a 10-minute errand into an hour-long excursion, and you still won’t make it to your destination. Traffic: enough said.

2. Don't drive because you won't be able to park.

If you do happen to reach your destination after the relentless battle with traffic, pedestrians and construction zones, good luck finding a place to park your car.

3. Instead, embrace public transit.

All of a sudden, you worship public transportation (even though your bus smells like a public toilet).

4. Use technology.

Thank goodness for Google Maps, Yelp and Uber.

5. Revel in the sheer number of new strangers.

Your matches on Tinder are actually people you don’t know instead of that loser you dated in high school.

6. Learn elevator etiquette.

Don’t even think about standing in the way of the guy who insists on standing .5 inches from the doors so he doesn’t waste any time escaping the silent (and always awkward) ascent to Floor 30.

7. Respect the little personal space other people have.

Revolving doors are designed for one person at a time, unless you want to make someone really uncomfortable.

8. Shop at boutiques.

Not only are multi-level department stores confusing, but figuring out how to get your shopping cart on its own escalator is a terrifying experience.

9. Beware of Starbucks and McDonald's.

If you’re able to find a public restroom where you’re not required to buy something first, make sure you have a hazmat suit, pepper spray and Purell handy.

10. Don't make yourself a burglary target.

Never leave anything in sight inside your vehicle, even if it’s that sweaty towel from the yoga class you took last night. You start to wonder if shattering windows is something people do for fun.

11. Rent would be cheaper in your hometown, but remember, you don't want to live there.

Finding an apartment where rent won’t cost you your first-born child is nearly impossible. Cup Noodles, anyone?

12. But, the cheap eats options available are incomparable to small-town alternatives.

For all you foodies out there, you’re in luck. The options are endless.

13. Invest in a comfortable couch and expect visitors.

You actually live somewhere people want to visit. Instant friends!

14. Just ignore the awful tourists.

You’ll become very familiar with tourists. Warning: They’re pretty annoying.

15. There are way more people, but you can get to know them.

The world is truly a small place. As much as you think you’re in a sea of anonymity among so many, you start to recognize people surprisingly fast.

16. There's always something to do.

The city is always alive. Whether it’s 1 am or 6 am, people will be out, doing their thing.

17. Have a whole file of exit plans.

Sometimes people are a little too “friendly.” Like the total strangers who insist on talking your ear off about anything. You quickly build a repertoire of fake reasons why you need to be anywhere but there.

18. If you pay attention, you can fill up your social calendar effortlessly.

Major concert and sports venues are right in your backyard. You can’t even begin to wrap your mind around how much room there is for activities.

19. The city is a people-watcher’s dream.

There are so many interesting and unique characters to observe, while culture is spectacularly diverse.

20. You will feel incredibly vulnerable.

But, the excitement of the unknown is absolutely worth it.