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So, You Want to Move to LA?

My East-Coast perspective on my semester in California.

By Anna McClean

Photo by Pexels

As we shift out of February and into March with still not much sign of spring’s approach, it can be easy to find ourselves daydreaming of a warm vacation.

At least, that was the headspace I was in about a year ago when I made the decision to attend college in Los Angeles, far away from the bitter cold of New England – where I am from.

When fall rolled around, I happily left all my warm winter clothes in the back of my closet, bringing my summer wardrobe across the country.

My parents and I spent a beautiful few days at a hotel in Venice. My parents and I ate at delicious restaurants and soaked up the sunshine, until they dropped me off at my new school and said goodbye.

The first week kept me busy, but once I was settled and the chaos of freshman year died down, I began to crave more than just my small campus. I wanted to explore the city.

Without access to a car, I researched my options: none. Being from Massachusetts, to me “city” meant Boston and New York. It meant public transportation. I hadn’t anticipated this obstacle.

Don’t worry, though — I had the option to Uber. For just $27, I could travel 10 miles in an hour with 7 lanes of traffic on each side of the median in one of the most expensive cities in the country. Thus, Uber didn’t exactly provide much relief.

I looked for a job hoping to make the best of this situation, but all the on-campus positions were filled by upperclassmen, meaning that I would have to apply elsewhere and spend my entire paycheck getting to and from work.

I was also never aware that I was used to such fast-paced interactions until I tried to do absolutely anything in California. Going on a quick coffee-run, from the moment I entered to the time I exited the building, would cost me 20 minutes and $13 because nobody ever seemed to have a sense of urgency.

It’s not like everything took so long because of captivating discussion; superficial time-consuming niceties made every interaction inefficient. Apart from a couple good friends, who I later found out were also not from the West Coast, most conversations I had during my fall semester were dull, lacking any sort of depth or genuineness.

Now, I’m not writing this to just bash on LA and call it a day, but rather to inform those who are considering moving there. I met plenty of people who are loving their experience in California, and I promise I really was looking forward to it in the beginning.

Since then, though, I’ve learned that it’s just not the place for me. I belong back here in Boston where there are trains, changing seasons, and a real sense of humor.

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