Why moving to NYC is the best decision I’ve made

As most of you know, I moved to New York City a month ago for school. I’ve been living in the city since the end of August, and now I feel like I can do some early reflections on my time here.

My biggest reflection?

I’m so happy I came here.

Not only to Barnard, which is everything I could’ve dreamed of and more but to New York City as a whole. There’s something about living here that is so remarkably different from visiting and I don’t really know how to describe it.

I think it has something to do with the fact that when you visit a place, you’re in a rush to see everything, eat everything, do everything, and it’s impossible. But when you live in a place like New York City, there’s no rush. There’s always another weekend to go to a Broadway show, another evening to go out to dinner with friends, another afternoon to spend thrift-shopping in the Village. There’s enough time to do everything. And that takes the rush of MUST! DO! IT! ALL! off. For example, I’ve been here a month, and I haven’t even been to Central Park yet. Or a Broadway show. Or eaten at all the amazing places I want to go. Or spent any time on the East side.

But that doesn’t bother me. Instead, I think about it the way I did when I lived in Austin: oh, I have time to do that. There’s no rush. And that is such a refreshing feeling, especially when you’re in a city as wonderful as New York. It takes out the pressure of being in the city all day (exhausting) and lets you enjoy it at your own pace.

Which brings me back to why moving to New York is the best decision I’ve ever made.

There is no other time in my life I will be able to live on the Upper West Side for what I’m paying in Room & Board right now. There is no other time in my life I won’t have to cook OR go out for dinner (cafeterias y’all – they’re better than you think). There is no other time in my life when I am constantly surrounded by my friends and new people to talk to who WANT to talk. Living in New York City while you’re in college is such a valuable opportunity because you experience the city in a different way.

For me, I have a campus – a formal, gated campus. (If you go to NYU and most other schools in the city this isn’t the case.) This means that, usually, I spend about six out of the seven days of my week on campus. I stay in my little bubble of Morningside Heights and Columbia/Barnard. It’s quiet, there are students everywhere, and I spend zero money. But, on the days when I have less homework to do and feel like going downtown and getting lunch, or trying out a new bakery, or going to a coffee shop to study, I just hope on the subway and it takes me 15-30 minutes. And then I come home to my dorm room.

That is so unique. Having a respite in this busy, bustling city, and also not being bombarded with the city 24/7. Instead, you feel like you’re in your little college ecosystem, but you can venture into other ecosystems if you want, when you want, and on your own terms. And I love that part.

The other main reason I’m so happy to be here are the opportunities. I’ve already met amazing people (I met Adam Silvera at an event and died a bit) who can help me in my future career, and I can go to events I wouldn’t be able to go to if I was in Austin. (Ex: SIX OF CROWS LAUNCH PARTY ON MONDAY O M G.) Being connected to the book world is such an important part of my happiness, and so being here is just a dream come true.

So, in conclusion, I just want to reiterate how freaking happy I am to be here.


So happy.

And now I’m off to study some more because that’s all I do with my life. (And why I’ve read nothing since I’ve been here oooooops.)

  • Even though I moved to NYC after I finished school and not during that time, I can definitely relate to the difference between visiting the city and living in (or in my case, near) it. It’s just so nice to be in a city where so much happens, where you have the capacity to do and see and experience a lot of different things – and not have to rush to make it all happen. It’s a great place to call home, and I’m glad you’re loving it! (I hope I see you at tomorrow’s event!)

  • I love this post Willa! Ever since I visited NYC last summer, I have been DYING to go back and it’s definitely one of my dream spots to live in. It definitely sounds like you are loving it there, I must visit you some day 😉

  • ugghhhhhh willa this post just reinforces how much i want to go to columbia!!!! i’ve never been to new york ever (which is so sad considering how it isn’t even that far from me and i HAVE been to buffalo with my parents… so like couldn’t they have driven a bit further to new york??) but all my friends are obsessed and it just seems so cool… i would love to live there at least once in my life just to get the experience. anyway i’m so glad you’ve loving barnard & nyc!!! <333

  • I’ve only ever traveled to New York- I’ve never lived there, or anywhere in the States actually. If I had to live in New York though, I think I’d move near the city and slowly transition into the city.