(Editor’s Note: Today’s post kicks off a three-part series about a common rite of passage for college graduates – moving away after obtaining one’s degree.)
Can you hear it? The buzz you may hear around ASU’s four campuses may be the sonic evidence of pre-graduation jitters! In between anxious conversations about 30-page study guides, group project presentations and final exams, seniors banter on about their plans after graduation. Some friends gloat about their huge move to the Big Apple, while others insist they’ll be heading back to the Golden State because they can’t stand to be away from the beach any longer. Sound familiar?
And here you are, soon-to-be graduate, stuck in between. Where should you move after graduation? The Phoenix area is great, but can you picture yourself here long term? I didn’t want to be the friend that “stayed in Arizona,” as I’m sure a lot of you can relate to. But the question became, am I ready to experience something completely new?
I wanted to experience different cities and open my life to new and exciting opportunities, but I wasn’t sure when I would know if it was the right time to move? I was nervous about making the right decision regarding my life after graduation, and the selection process for finding the city where I would embark upon this journey was pretty monumental. I’d seen the BuzzFeed quizzes that reveal the “perfect city for you” and I’d read countless Forbes articles about the most promising places to live for millennials. But none of these were actually customized to me – my career, my interests and passions, how I like to spend my free time.
Truth is, it will never be the “right time” to move, or have anything in your life change significantly, for that matter. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put yourself out there and experience the unknown. So, instead of taking another quiz or searching for another article about the “Best Place to Live After Graduation,” in hopes of finding an answer, first consider IF you should move at all after graduation. The following factors could influence your decision, so pay attention.
Factors to consider when pondering an after-college move
What industries are you interested in and where do they reside?
Taking a look at the big picture, what industries most interest you? I’d argue that it is important to not only be passionate about your job but also the product/service you are essentially working for. Different areas of the country are known for their industry experience. San Francisco is booming with IT companies, while Texas is known for oil and real estate. Opportunities that are more Arizona than any other state include aircraft structure and gaming surveillance – surprised? Find the hub where your interests are stationed and explore career options there.
Where are your job offers?
From a personal standpoint, I wouldn’t want to move to a new city without a job, especially as a recent grad. That being said, it is important to weigh in the benefits and drawbacks of each professional position are offered, including where it’s located.
At first glance, a city might sound very unlikable; Minneapolis, for example, might not be very appealing if you haven’t lived in a city that regularly experiences temperatures under 55 degrees, but there are other factors that might spark your interest. Make a list of all of the benefits a new city offers and compare that to the advantages of living in Phoenix. See how the cities compare and where they differ, then decide which factors are most important to you.
Is going back to school an option?
When you see graduate school in the immediate future, it might be smart to map out potential programs you would want to get into. Find out what ASU has to offer and conduct in-depth research about the programs that interest you. If these don’t seem like a good fit, what other schools are sparking your interest? If the various programs that you’re interested in are located in a specific region, I would definitely hone in my relocation search to that area. Not only are you setting yourself up to be geographically closer should you decide to get a master’s or doctoral degree, but you can also begin to meet people that are actually in the program of interest. Networking locally is much easier done than attempting to connect with others across the country.
Where is your family primarily located?
This was a factor that I never really considered, and now I’m definitely paying for it – literally. As I moved out to sunny San Diego, my parents picked up their lives and moved to Washington DC. Coordinating bi-coastal holidays and family vacations can get complex and extremely costly. Most of my time off is spent travelling out east, and while I wouldn’t change seeing my parents as often as I can, the travel scheduling, time and expenses definitely take a toll.
How much will a move cost?
This is a factor that most graduates can’t truly judge accurately until after they have moved once. There were a lot of things I did not count on when I decided to pack up my life and move out to San Diego. For example, do you know how expensive it is to register your car out here? This was just one of the many costs that must be considered when moving into a new city after graduation that I ended up absorbing. Samuel Brannan from Trulia explains some other hidden costs to be aware of:
- If you’re currently renting, be sure to give your landlord your 30-day notice and know the details of your lease and move out requirements. If your current lease isn’t over yet, you will have to pay more to expedite the lease contract.
- Another thing to keep in mind is the overlap of monthly rent. Timing is everything for moving – you don’t want to end up paying rent for two places in the same month.
- Before you say good-bye to your college home in Phoenix make sure you take the time to deep-clean your current place before move-out. Cleaning up the grime accumulated from your college days is crucial to getting your security deposit back. You can use this money to cover any expenses on the move to your new place!
- Using a moving company can come with a large bill; however, depending on how far your move is, shelling out a few extra dollars can save you a lot of headaches throughout the moving process. Most moving companies charge hourly rates, plus extra fees for heavy items, stairs and long carries.
- For many new grads, doing it yourself is the only option when it comes to moving. You’re going to need a truck, family members, and maybe a couple of friends, but this could save you a a lot of money in the long run – and it might even make for a more memorable trip.
- If you’re doing it on your own there’s some things to keep in mind. Be careful with moving your stuff out of your current place – damaging your home while moving can take a dent out of your security deposit. If you’re going with a truck rental, it’s wise to have insurance in case of an accident, and always be mindful of other expenses along the way, such as hotels, restaurants, gasoline and highway tolls.
- A common problem with moving is missing your move-in window of time, in which case you’ll need a storage unit to temporarily hold your stuff. If all of this sounds too stressful, consider a company like Pods, which will store your stuff until your settled and move it to your new location.
All of this should be taken with a grain of salt. Did I abide to all of these considerations when I chose San Diego? Absolutely not. I was offered an opportunity in San Diego and jumped on it instinctively, without hesitation. Why? I really couldn’t give you a concrete answer besides it felt right. My success in this city is directly correlated with my drive to work hard, the energy and optimism I had when moving into a new city, and my efforts to put myself out there to meet new people. My best advice is to do what feels right and trust your intuition.
~ By Katie Bassett ’13 B.S., who has a degree in supply chain management and an international business certificate from the W. P. Carey School of Business.
Additional information was supplied by Samuel Brannan, a content strategist with Trulia, a company that develops innovative mobile and web products for home buyers, renters and sellers.