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Moving from West Coast to East Coast for College - Is it really that bad?

feedback411feedback411 1 replies1 discussions
So I hail from the sunny state of California and will be moving far to the East Coast (New York) for college this fall. I know the transition is big, and it might be hard for me to adjust to life away from my parents and my hometown.

I live in a pretty small town, and naturally, many people, including family friends, my high school friends and teachers, and relatives, have asked me where I’m going for college. After I tell them, before anything else, they go, "That's SO far away! Why would you want to leave here?!" They then warn me and my parents about how I'm not going to survive the transition, how the East Coast has terribly cold weather, how the weather is going to make me depressed, how I’m going to be so homesick, etc., etc.

When I tell them I like the cold and how I’ve always wanted to travel to a new state, they respond pretty much along the lines of, "Yeah, but it's really cold and different there, I'm telling you!"

In the beginning, I just brushed them off or thanked them for their concern, but everybody continues to mention this (including some of our good friends), and it’s been kind of diminishing my excitement for college (not to mention it's a bit annoying, since I'm not heading off to Alaska!). Even though my parents are pretty cool about things and know that I’m fairly independent, they are getting concerned over what people are saying as well and beginning to wonder if letting me go to the East Coast for college is a stupid idea.

Is the transition from your home in the West Coast to college in the East Coast really that hard as people make it out to be? When I tell people that I don’t have any relatives in New York, they go absolutely berserk and say, “Why on earth are you going to a new state by yourself?” How have any of your children who went out-of-state to the East Coast (where they don’t have any friends or relatives) adjusted to their new life, in general? Are there any that failed to make the transition?
edited May 2013 in Parents Forum
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Replies to: Moving from West Coast to East Coast for College - Is it really that bad?

  • SeahorsesrockSeahorsesrock 45 replies0 discussions New Member
    both my daughters did it and thrived. there are people that fail to make transitions at colleges across the state and across town

    these people are being jerks. what i would do is say something cute and sweet back when they make a snarky comment

    oh its so cold, ---well guess ill need a northface!! love to dress for the seasons

    its so far away---well thank goodness for the internetssss

    but you don't know anyone---oh ill miss you too, me and the 10000 other students

    the weather will be depressing- imagine the fall leaves!! ive always wanted to see that, and ice skating and snow men!!!
    edited May 2013
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  • showmom858showmom858 6 replies0 discussions Junior Member
    My D did it and thrived in NYC coming from a SoCal beach town. She graduates two weeks from tomorrow (after only 3 years!) and is thrilled to start her post college life in the city.

    It was cold in the winter so she got the right coat and boots and everything else she needed. She made friends with kids that had families close by and was invited to their homes. She came home on breaks, but was always excited to go back.

    My younger D also decided to go to college all the way across the country and for many reasons it was not right for her. That was absolutely fine and now she has come back to SoCal and is still doing well in school and planning her next move.

    Transitions can be difficult, but thousands of kids go off to colleges far away where they don't have family or friends. If it does turn out to not be what you want then you can always go to another school closer to home. Don't be afraid to try something just because others don't want to do it!
    edited May 2013
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  • sosomenzasosomenza 109 replies1 discussions Junior Member
    You will dress warmer so except for extreme weather, physically you won't feel much colder. ON extreme days tou can hunker down in your dorm and likely wait it out.GL
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  • moonchildmoonchild 58 replies4 discussions New Member
    You'll love the changing seasons. When my Dh and I spent his graduate years in New Jersey, we loved the experience of the weird weather. When you grow up in SoCal, you get spoiled with a relatively unchanging climate, but you also miss out on a different kind of natural beauty. There's nothing like a walk in the brisk fall air when the leaves are turning colors. The first snow will be really exciting.
    Now, I'm not saying that I'd prefer the east coast weather if it were permanent, but it is interesting, different and fun! Don't worry- it's only four years. You may be ready to come home after graduation, or you may fall in love with NY and not mind the weather.
    It will be a wonderful experience. Congratulations for being a bit of an adventurer. And NYC is, well...there's no place in the world like it! You don't say where in NY your college is, but be sure to get into the city.
    edited May 2013
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  • GladGradDadGladGradDad 29 replies0 discussions New Member
    It's not a big deal and it's good to have some worldly experience. There are many millions of people who seem to survive the lousy weather they have back there. It's a bit of a pain to have to put on a jacket, etc. just to walk outside but not a big deal.

    I think the winters in the east (and midwest and elsewhere) are depressing on the surface (dead trees, gray skies, cold, damp, dark) but that's just surface stuff - you'll likely be so engaged in studies, activities, involved with friends, maybe working a campus job, exploring the city, etc. (hopefully all of these) that you won't really care much (probably some but probably not much) about that surface weather impression. Don't forget that along with that depressing weather come the happy changes of fall and spring. Even in the dead of winter freshly fallen snow can be cool and uplifting.

    This is only 4 years and you'll be busy. No big deal. You can always return to California later but when you do you'll likely appreciate it even more. I think you'll enjoy your experience and being open minded and willing to learn different things helps with all of this.

    Also don't forget you're only a 5 hour or so flight from coast to coast so although it's far in miles it's not really terrible in time (but the cost is a factor).

    And don't worry about what they say - it's your life, not theirs.
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  • JHSJHS 36 replies0 discussions Junior Member
    Look, New York City, the Upper West Side, is about as different as things could possibly be from a small town in California, at least in this country. You may absolutely love it, you may absolutely not love it, and the most likely thing is that you will experience both feelings at some point. Maybe even at the same time.

    That's life. Human beings, especially teenaged ones, are really, really adaptable. Millions and millions of people make their lives successfully in New York City, most of them by choice, and many of them specifically choose it over California or similar places. People pay ungodly amounts of money to live in the area where you will be living, because it is one of the most vibrant, exciting neighborhoods on this planet. (You may be paying ungodly amounts of money, too, but your dorm will be a relative bargain.)

    So there's really not much chance that somehow you won't be able to stand it there for 8 semesters of college. Maybe, when that's over, you will decide that you would rather live somewhere else, and that will be fine. The more likely outcome, statistically, is that you decide you would rather live there than anywhere else. But you shouldn't worry about not being able to function there. That's silly.

    Meanwhile, you can accumulate a New York psych mixtape. It starts with Ol' Blue Eyes, Frank Sinatra, singing New York, New York, and Jay-Z (feat. Alicia Keys) with Empire State of Mind. How about the Beastie Boys' No Sleep Til Brooklyn? Come on! Everyone else is just jealous!
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  • redhuntinghatredhuntinghat 54 replies9 discussions
    I wonder how it's going to be like going from East to West...most of the colleges I'm applying to next year are in the mid west, and I'm from New Jersey :/ I feel like I've acquired the elitist attitude one gets from living in wealthy suburbs near NYC, everyone probably going to think I'm a complete, uh, not nice person.
    edited May 2013
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  • cbreezecbreeze 31 replies2 discussions Junior Member
    If you are going to NYC, the transition will not be too extreme because it has much milder weather than say upstate NY. Just make sure you have a raincoat that can be folded into a small packet and put it in your backpack at all times. My kids who never had to worry about rain for 6 months out of the year in CA said that was the biggest adjustment, that it would be sunny when you go into the classroom and raining when you come out.
    One counselor said most CA kids who have difficulty in the transition are those who are used to living in large metropolitan areas and went to smaller, rural towns in the east coast especially in the winter when everything seems so dreary and people stay indoors much of the time.
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  • GladGradDadGladGradDad 29 replies0 discussions New Member
    ^^ That's a good point - I guess in NYC you don't really need to be concerned about the gray skies, since you might not notice it due to all the skyscrapers, you don't need to worry about the dead looking trees (what trees?), etc. ;)

    But really, it's a different environment and I'm sure the OP will do fine even if sometimes having some mixed emotions as JHS said, but the OP would likely have mixed emotions just going from a small town in Cal to a college in LA or the bay area in Cal.
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  • paying3tuitionspaying3tuitions Super Moderator 18 replies0 discussions Junior Member
    If you enjoy American History, you can discover buildings that express another earlier 200 years of it on the East Coast. You can walk around neighborhoods with a few buildings or gravestones dating back before 1600, or many buildings from the late 19th century. In general, the museums on this coast had access to greater collections of European masterworks than what was available to West Coast museums, so prepare to discover roomsful of great works of art by Rembrandt, El Greco, Rodin, Picasso and many more.

    There are different species of trees that flourish here. RIght in NYC, you can discover urban landforms whose underlying shape comes from glaciers, such as Hamilton Heights or Washington Heights, just north of Columbia University.

    People pay a lot of attention to theur immigrant or slave roots stories that brought them to, and around to different places within, America. If you ask people, some might be glad to share what they know about their family migrations.

    You can go to comedy or music cafes in NYC that express the entire history of American music, from Strivers Row and the Apollo Theater in Harlem to cafes in the Village where Bob Dylan sang as a 19-year-old, just in from Minnesota. Any night of the week, for $15, you can find an Off-Off-Broadway play that is newly written and performed by young people, some of it very high quality. You can try out folkdancing or go to rehearsals or recitals by some of the great modern dance companies. Get on a subway and go to some professional sports, just to see what all that feels like.

    If you get involved with the people and cultural offering of New York, the weather will quickly become background to your years at college. These days, if your hometown people get you down, just go online and look up some of the NY neighborhoods, museums, cafes that you will be able to explore outside of the college classrooms. New York is a place to discover, neighborhood by neighborhood. If you are interested in writing, just take off the earbuds on the subway and listen to all the people around you - so many stories!
    edited May 2013
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  • Icarus77Icarus77 3 replies0 discussions
    Spread your wings and fly ,that is part of the journey.
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  • jaylynnjaylynn 4 replies0 discussions New Member
    It's not whether you'll like/dislike the new location-- you will or you won't, but hopefully you'll be having the time of your life and yes, you will adapt. It's about whether being away from home is going to be the issue. My D went way down the coast, loved her school, loved the city, loved her friends--- but couldn't be away from family and home. She needed to come back. She mourns leaving her school-- we all wanted it to work. But it didn't, and that's okay. Hopefully she'll spread those wings again next time.

    It has more to do with the person going than where they're going, imo. Sounds like you'll be fine. Have fun!
    edited May 2013
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  • pelicularitiespelicularities 3 replies1 discussions
    I came to NYC from a different country - I have no relatives here. Granted, I came from a large city so city life was not foreign to me, but the weather was. It's an adjustment, but it's really not that big of a deal - you'll adjust to it just like you'll adjust to college life. Anyway, you arrive in the fall, so it won't be cold right away - you get to ease into the winter, and you'll figure it out.

    The great thing about moving to NYC for college is that you're not alone. There's an entire social and academic infrastructure to help you settle in. You won't be thrown into the city alone and left to figure things out - I'm not saying there won't be moments where you might feel lost in a crowd, but I am saying that there are lots of other freshmen alongside you trying to figure it all out too, there will be upperclassmen and professors and school staff to help you throughout the transition. Don't worry about it, you'll be fine. You'll love it.
    edited May 2013
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  • MaineLonghornMaineLonghorn Moderator 112 replies6 discussions Junior Member
    Part of it has to do with your attitude. Go with an expectation that you'll have fun, but also that things won't be the same as at home! Whenever I meet a southerner who has just moved up to Maine, I can predict in about 10 minutes whether the person is going to last or not. If I hear, "They don't have BLANK here, the weather sucks, people aren't as friendly," etc., I know they are going to be miserable. If I hear, "I'm going to try downhill skiing, they have BLANK that we didn't have at home, people are great once you get to know them," I know they'll be OK. And if you complain about the differences, people aren't going to want to be around you!
    edited May 2013
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  • feedback411feedback411 1 replies1 discussions
    Thanks so much for advice, everyone, and for sharing your own stories!

    I agree that attitude is key to making a successful transition. I'm definitely excited by the prospect of having a breadth of things to explore in New York, but I can't say that I'm not concerned over a big change I will have to experience in not only the weather but also the atmosphere. Going from a quiet, small suburb to a large, bustling city is going to be a big change, no doubt.

    Cbreeze, you make a great point! I feel like I'll feel the same way as your kids did. Where I live, we tend to spend more time outdoors than indoors (weather rarely goes below 60 degrees here), so I guess I'll have to get used to spending a lot more time indoors during the harsh winters and gloomy weather in NY.
    edited May 2013
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