If you read part-one to my 735-mile move, you know that I recently moved from Michigan to North Carolina—and it was difficult. The trip was 13-hours of driving. If you want to know more about challenges to prepare for and expect when moving long distances, head on over to part one. For this part of my story, I want to talk about emotional and practical challenges that arise after a long-distance move.
The first weekend was easy because my family and boyfriend were still in town and we were keeping fairly busy. I was emotionally overwhelmed and found myself getting extra emotional, but in hindsight, the weekend was really good. Even after my family left, I was doing fine. It was very emotional when they left, but I was soon busy organizing and decorating all of my things.
It was the second week where I started finding myself getting lonely and tired of being in my apartment. I decided it was time to start looking for a job, because not only did I need the money, but it would provide me with a social network. Finding a social network to plug into is so important early on because it helps with those pesky lonely feelings.
Finding a job in a new area is very stressful. Not knowing anyone, or having any connections meant that I had to start from scratch. I decided to target cafes at first. I created a list of cafes near my apartment and took a day to drive to each and drop off my resume and fill out applications. I got lucky and got an interview that day, ultimately getting myself hired in. This really did help with the lonely.
If you’d like to hear more about coping with the loneliness that comes with moving far away from home, keep an eye out for a post on the topic!
Bus v Driving
The next decision I needed to make was between driving my car everywhere or learning how to ride the bus. I had never ridden the bus at home because they did not come anywhere near my house, also, I have a car and did not feel the need. However, because of having a very tight budget, I was stuck trying to figure out what would be cheaper and more realistic.
I looked up bus fare and routes then calculated how much it would cost me to drive to school for the semester (over $300: gas and parking) and how much it would cost to take the bus ($250). There was still a dilemma because it would be a two and a half hour commute on the bus and a 15-minute commute in my car. Despite being more expensive, I opted to drive in order to reduce my own daily stress and to save myself valuable time. I experience a lot of anxiety in new and crowded situations, especially those that are out of my control, so it was better than I dip into my financial aid to buy a parking pass and drive.
I make this sound like a methodical decision, however, I was extremely stressed about it and it affected my health. I highly recommend you look into transportation before moving, so that it isn’t something you need to worry about last minute like I did.
Making friends is actually the hardest part of this move. Remember, moving far away from home all by yourself is lonely. So, making friends is essential. I have managed to get along with several co-workers and classmates. But I am referring to finding a close friend to come to with problems. This is a lot harder because it means trusting a complete stranger with your emotions and inner thoughts. I really struggle with this.
Making friends is something I am still not sure how to do, and I have been in North Carolina over a month now. I will keep you guys in the loop and I learn and improve my friend-making abilities.
Graduate school was the entire motivation for my move to North Carolina. This meant that graduate school took all priority. With two jobs and full-time graduate school, I found myself struggling the very first week. I was faced with a dilemma—I needed money to pay for school, but I needed more time from work to stay in school. I spent a few weeks thinking about quitting my second job and eventually decided that this was the best idea for not only my education but for my mental health. I chose to pay for school and some of my bills using my financial aid (despite hating the idea of going further in debt). If you find yourself in a similar situation, always, always take into consideration your mental health and sanity, always.
I had originally expected to work two jobs and then complete my homework in the evening. And with my schedule, I was able to. However, I found myself overwhelmed with no time to myself. The deciding factor was reducing my stress.
Finances and Budgeting
Another huge area of stress immediately after my move to North Carolina was finances. Not only was moving expensive but paying bills without an income is expensive. I felt like I was constantly spending more money than I had, especially since I did not expect to be paid for my graduate assistant job until the end of September. I had to sit down and create a list of my bills and figure out how much was due and when it was due. I then had to make sure I put aside most of my tips from my serving job. This meant that I had to create a budget that had little wiggle room and I had to stick to it.
Not having a previous conception of my bills, outside of rent and car insurance, before the move I felt underprepared. With the help of budgeting, I never fell behind in my bills; however, I highly recommend that if you are planning a big move, set aside more money than you are expecting to need.
The point of this post was not to complain or to brag, show off, or complain. I simply wanted to provide a reality for someone else who might be preparing for a long-distance move for the first time. There is so much more to the process, that I had realized.
Want to know what happened while I was planning my move? Check out Part One to my 735 Mile Move: The Reality of Preparing For the Move