Honestly it’s been really stressful.
Moving to the big city from the small town is scary. It’s scary as hell. It’s also expensive. I’m used to friendly smiles whether or not you meant to make eye contact, the “Hi, how are you today?” as you pass by strangers, and just the general friendly banter. You don’t get that quite as often here. I’m not saying I’ve never dealt with a rude person in the South before but I can tell you their attitudes toward you are totally different. I’m also not saying I haven’t had plenty of friendly encounters since being here but it’s certainly a slightly different interaction.
The expense is also a huge adjustment. Noah and I rented an entire house (2 bedroom, 1 bathroom) with a large front and backyard for $725 per month which included our own private driveway. Here, I pay nearly $1,000 per month for a single bedroom in a four bedroom, 1 bathroom apartment that has off-street parking granted that your car is registered in the state and you have a city residential parking permit. I got all of that done my first few days here; I went to the RMV (Registry of Motor Vehicles, I guess Mass is SpEcIaL) and registered my car and converted my license for about $250.00. Then I had to go to city hall in Central Square to pay $25 for the city residential parking permit. Additionally and lastly (I hope), I need to get my car inspected within the first 7 days of having registered the car with Mass. I have that scheduled for tomorrow at the local Honda dealership and should cost no more than $35.00 per Mass law. This isn’t including the cost for shipping my things here, driving here from Clemson, SC, or else. It’s been so financially consuming my bank account has CANCELLED Christmas. I simply cannot afford it, sadly. Luckily, my family and friends are wonderful and awesome and simply ask for my presence this holiday. Which is all I can give, lol. So, the financial burden of getting up here and getting adjusted has been a large part of the stress I have been under.
Maybe you’re wondering why I am even sharing these dull errands with you. Well, I want to share my experience with a big move, especially for anyone who may have been too worried, concerned, or fearful to make a big move that they have always wanted to do or maybe feel like they need to do. Especially to those of you who have been born and raised in your hometown and, perhaps you have never lived anywhere else. It’s probably pretty terrifying thinking about a big change like moving to an entirely new city. I’m here to help you sort through the overwhelming tasks that come along with a big move. I want to share my pain, my stress, my anxiety, and my homesickness with you all. It’s hard making a big move. I already miss my friends back in Clemson. I miss my yard and being able to be as loud as I want in my own home, cleaning and keeping things exactly how I like them, and only having my fur babies and my partner as housemates. I miss the inexpensive life of the South. I miss my research group. And I have no clue what to expect with my new co-workers, peers, or hosuemates. The uncertainty stresses me tf out. Add a sprinkle of crippling social anxiety and OCD to add as the cherry on top, why dontchya?
But hey, if I can survive, you guys can, too. I’m not gonna lie. I have no idea if this whole big move was worth it. I really hope it is and I am genuinely excited to experience the city and this new life once I get past the transition. Even though registering your car in Mass is a goddamn nightmare (P.S. I went to the RMV two separate times before realizing my auto insurance company didn’t properly complete the RMV-1 form and then when I went back a second time, they complained that the RMV-1 form was completed in handwriting as opposed to being typed up. Which, by the way, is not specified anywhere online or on the forms so like…..No. Take this form before I cry). But don’t worry! I added tips below.
Tips to surviving a big move
- See if your employer offers reimbursement on moving expenses and what type of expenses would be covered. There could be a maximum expense amount they will agree to cover so be sure to plan accordingly.
- I used UPACK Relocube to ship my things. It’s not cheap but my employer will reimburse me luckily. I used a dorm/studio apartment sized cube. They come and drop off a large portable storage unit based on your needs and you pack it as you see fit. When you’re ready, they come and pick it up and deliver it to your new residential address for you within 3-5 business days! It was my first time ever doing something like this and my experience was awesome and I highly recommend it. You can track the shipment real time and always know where your things are.
- If you’re driving and/or bringing your car, figure out if you need to be a resident in that state. If you’re a student, you can generally get away with not being a resident. However, in cities like Cambridge, it’s virtually impossible to be an out-of-state student with a car. It’s in your best interest to register your car and get a city residential parking permit. If you can get to a city like Cambridge without a car, you can live life without one. I barely use my car as it is because public transportation is awesome and I’m a southerner and terrified to drive in snow. You can plan ahead of time by doing this research before the move which will make it much smoother!
- Be sure to research the area you will be living in. Make sure you like the location, safety (street lights, crime rates, etc), local shops you will want to have nearby (pharmacy, vet, coffee shops, etc). Figure out how far your commute would be under different circumstances (inclement weather, public transportation or commuting, etc).
- What’s the price for a gallon of milk at your local grocery store? Bread? Eggs? This will be helpful in understanding the fluctuation in prices you will need to prepare for.
- Reach out to friends on social media that might be in the area where you are moving to. They could be a huge asset in helping you find housing and getting your feet on the ground. I have reached out to TONS of old friends, acquaintances, peers, and they have all been so helpful in giving me advice and places to look for housing.
- If you have animals, be sure to consider what they need to make this move as smooth as possible for them, too. For me, I had to get Ruca more anxiety medications because he is a nervous nelly. He hates car rides and has never flown with me but now that I am so far from my hometown, I must fly home for the holidays. So Ruca must fly with me (in the cabin) and he will thus need Trazodone. Mars, my tabby cat, also has issues, particularly with his cat carrier. If I put him in the cat carrier for long periods of time, he goes bonkers. He will distort his body and press up against the carrier as hard as he can and yoooooowwlll the entire carride. I knew I wouldn’t last with Mars in his cat carrier from Clemson to Cambridge so instead I invested in seat belt leashes. I used these:
And they are also linked here (P.S. They are only $10 for a pair of two and are currently Amazon’s choice). I also used this cheap upholstery pet protector. I used the hammock design so it created a cozy space in the backseat for both Ruca and Mars. It kept Mars from trying to get up front (which he does try to move around quite a bit in the car and that makes me nervous he’ll make me get in an accident) and keeps the pets from bouncing around if I need to slam on my brakes. The leashes are especially awesome because they have the stretchy elastic near the clip so this helps absorb any sudden jerks the dog or cat may feel. It worked really well!
My nearly-final tip is as soon as you commit to a big move, start saving as soon as humanly possible. This will help ease any emergencies or unexpected expenses that will likely come your way.
My final, final tip is to relax. Which is honestly really rich coming from me. I’ve been a basket case these past few days. But I’m here and alive and I’ve managed to get most of the annoying errands over and done with.