At the Crossroads! - What should I do?

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by majormadness, Oct 30, 2008.

  1. majormadness

    majormadness New Member

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    Hey everyone!
    I don't really know how to introduce this post, so I'll just jump into particulars.

    Pretty much since I entered high school, i've been dead set on moving to NYC. I've visited once (two summers ago), and that trip only made me more determined to move there sometime. My problem is that I'm stuck in little-town Louisiana. I'm in my sophomore year of college, and lots of the excitement has left. There's hardly anything to do here but drink in dorm rooms and try to keep up in classes. It gets pretty depressing, to be honest.

    Until recently, I was set to stay here because I thought I needed a college degree to make it in life. Sure, i know that college is quickly becoming the new high school and a bachelors is pretty much required for most jobs. I also know, however, that the degree I'm earning here will be virtually useless. See, I'm in a kooky honors program that graduates me with a bachelors degree in Liberal Arts with a concentration in Humanities and Social Thought. Basically it's English, history, sociology, and foreign language all wrapped up. It's also an abundantly useless degree.

    Because of this, I've come to realize that what I do for money in my life will most likely have little-to-nothing to do with my major. Meanwhile, I want to be in New York more than ever. I'm tired of waiting. I've spent the last six years waiting to move there, and I still have years to go if I remain here. Not only that, but it feels like I'm only killing time here. I don't have much direction in my studies and I'm not sure exactly how much I'll gain in the long run by having my particular degree.

    So, to move or not to move? Here are a few plans I came up with last night when (as usual) I couldn't sleep:

    1) Drop out of college, move to NYC, get an apartment and a steady job and spend a few years chasing my dreams (drawing comics, writing novels/plays, sewing/fashion design, etc.) If things go wrong, I can always move back to my hometown (Houston), enroll in U of H and get a degree, and work at my parents' shop for that time so I can earn a little money.

    2) Drop out of this college, apply to NYC colleges (most likely CUNY), and move there either spring or fall of '09. Even if I have to redo many credits, at least I'd be in my dream city. Maybe I'd even get a more useful degree, if a little less prestigeous.

    3) Finish school here and move to NYC right after. This is pretty much guarenteed to happen if the other two don't, but it's also the least appealing of the three.

    Of course, I have some concerns about packing up and moving halfway across the country. First of all, I have no idea if I could find a place to stay or a job. I also don't know how I'd afford rent in NYC. I'd like to move to Manhattan (wouldn't everyone?) or Brooklyn, both of which seem to be VERY expensive.

    So, this is where all you NYC residents come in handy! I have a few basic questions about living/working in NYC and i think the answers will be a great help when I try to make my decision.
    So...:

    1) How bad is rent really? I don't care about a shwank bachelor pad like on Friends or anything. I just need a room. What sort of rents and policies would I run into when looking for a place in Manhattan or Brooklyn? I pretty much don't care about amenities. As long as it's four walls (minimum) with a roof and preferably a window, I'm set.

    2) Are there any neighborhoods in Manhattan or Brooklyn that tend to have lower rents? I suppose I'm looking for the artist neighborhoods. I know that Lower East Side used to be hip and cheap until gentrification. Then Williamsburg got big and now it's expensive too. Where do the broke young people live now? (please God, don't say Queens!)

    I guess that's it for now. Thanks for reading my rant and be sure to reply if you want to help!
     
  2. D_Jared Padalicki

    D_Jared Padalicki Account Disabled

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    do number two, but work maybe first to get some money so you can pay your rent
     
  3. majormadness

    majormadness New Member

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    Oh for sure. I figured I'd need a couple thousand dollars to get situated. You know, time in a hostel, a month or two of rent, and some living money until I get a job.
    I suppose if I went with option #2 I could possibly live in a dorm. I should look into that...
     
  4. Xcuze

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    Dont listen to Piety he's trying to trick you. :tongue:

    I think option 2 is the best. Option 3 is the most sensible but you sound restless so you should follow your heart. Lifes too short even at your age. Sure, youll come across obstacles if you move but youll find your way past them. just stay focused on what you want in life & dont just drift.

    Good luck.
     
  5. SteveHd

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    Bad idea.
    Better idea. Should you do that, get accepted at the new college before you drop out of the current one.
    I think that's your best option.

    If you change to a different college, some of your credits aren't likely to transfer. That would delay your degree.

    Think of the dull life in "little-town Louisiana" as an advantage: fewer distractions! :smile:
     
  6. nudeyorker

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    Don't drop out of school. Investigate NY Schools by all means... and look into programs that would help you land one of those dreams of yours. The job market here is really difficult right now. You will be competing with unemployed people who have masters degrees for wait staff and bartender jobs.
    You will need more than a couple thousand dollars to moved here. You have to pay first and last months rent in most cases as well as a months rent as a security deposit.
    Right now studios are going for about$1,600.00 up to about $2,100.00 for a no frills place. If you go to NYU or Columbia there are housings options (that may be the case for other schools here, but I'm unaware)
    Another option you may want to consider is an internship program during the summer, It would give you a taste of NY to see if it's really for you. Believe me living in NY and visiting NY are two different experiences.
    Good luck.
     
  7. jason_els

    jason_els <img border="0" src="/images/badges/gold_member.gi

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    Christ almighty do NOT drop out of school!!!!!

    Here's the deal: Very, very, few people ever work in their major. My mom majored in French. What did she do? Public relations (and none of it having to do with France). My father majored in history. He worked in insurance.

    What matters in the working world is that you graduated in something. That's most frequently all they care about. You'll learn the ropes of whatever field you enter by working on the job. That's really how it works.

    Please listen to nudeyorker. New York is horrendously expensive and not just in rent. Subway or bus rides are $2.00 a pop (and going up), NYC charges income tax and New York state already has the highest taxes in the country. Food is very expensive as well. New York attracts the best talent from all over the world. You will be unable to compete in the NYC job market without a degree. Don't believe Sex and the City or Friends or any other TV show that shows people with no or marginal jobs living in apartments resembling anything like what you see on TV. Half the time you find a place it's because somebody somewhere knows you and is giving you a break and it can take a long time to foster those kinds of relationships. Buyer's/renter's brokers are practically unheard of in the city because it is always a landlord's market. There are arcane rental laws and outrageous lease contracts. If you want to rent outright, most landlords want to see you earning 40x your monthly rent and have good credit. That's a lot. So if you're paying at minimum, $1600 a month, you have to be earning $64,000 a year. More likely you'll be paying about $2000 a month and so that's $80,000 a year.

    My advice to you is for the love of everything in your future, stick it out with number 3 and, if you still want to move to New York, then consider getting an advanced degree in something else, possibly at a NYC school. While you're doing that you can work on the relationships necessary to get you an in working at someplace that will pay you enough to actually live in Manhattan.

    Hang in there and tough it out.
     
    #7 jason_els, Oct 30, 2008
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2008
  8. killerb

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    You've gotten good advice so far and I agree that you should not quit school, in fact it shouldn't even be an option...

    You can, however TRANSFER to a school in NYC...

    Here's a plan for you - save as much $$$ as you possibly can right now - that means, cut down on eating out, going to movies, etc. Do this for the next 6 months.

    Apply to schools in NY now (and line up your financial aid) and by the time your spring semester ends where you are, you should be ready to make your move.
     
  9. JustAsking

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    This is very good advice. Especially where jason says that most people are working in jobs that are not exactly what they studied as a major in college. This is very true, but I might add that most people would not have those jobs if they did not have a degree or in some cases a degree in that major.

    There are thousands of jobs that would be looking for the Liberal Arts degree you are working on or for any degree in general. I would guess that the largest job pool for a job like that would be in NYC, but NYC would also have the most competition. For example, a job in the publishing industry for either books, magazines, or journals would mostly be in NYC. But NYC is also full of people looking for those kinds of jobs.

    Also, consider the rise of the Internet as a mainstream publishing, journalism, and entertainment medium. The Internet will have a larger and larger appetite for graphical and written content. As people give over to the Internet as a major source of information, the publishing industry will become more "virtual" when it comes to geographic location.

    I recommend option #3, where you stay and finish your degree in "small town" while you save money. But besides saving money, you should get involved in whatever amateur or professional publishing activities that are going on on the Internet. Try to develop a resume of creative writing or editing, starting with any amateur operation and work your way towards more and more respectable outlets so as to create more and more legitimate resume items.

    If you have an outside interest, you might combine them. For example, if you are a whiz on knowing every indie band in existence, try to get a reviewing gig with any one of the thousands of websites that publish on indie bands.

    This way, when you actually do move to NYC, you will have a degree, a resume, and a network of contacts already built up. The last two will be just as valuable as the first one, and they will also make you unique compared to anyone with simply a degree.

    Another variation is to look for summer internships in NYC. In this variation, you stay in "small town", but work in internships in NYC during the summer. Internships are usually unpaid, so you have to save money enough to stay for a few months in NYC possibly augmenting your income with some summer job like being a waiter.

    I agree that this road is harder than if you were going for an engineering degree such as computer science, but I do guarantee you that the Internet will follow every other popular entertainment medium and eventually be much more about content than it is about technology. Over the next five years the Internet will be a big giant talent vacuum cleaner sucking up as much content as it possibly can. And where there is lots of publishing going on, there is a need for writers, cataloguers, editors, and reviewers.

    A quick example: About ten years ago a friend of mine was thinking about majoring in Library Science. I advised them to think twice about it because the Internet was going to replace libraries. Fortunately, that person ignored my advice and went on to discover that the Internet makes up a big portion of a regular librarian's life, and it has created new jobs for people who have librarian-like reseach skills. Later on, my friend discovered a big demand for librarians who are Internet savvy to research big companies for an executive recruiting firm looking for executive talent. The combination of library science skills and the Internet is a powerful one with more opportunities popping up every day.

    Finally, I have to say that you seem to be in the right business in that you write very well.
     
  10. JustAsking

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    Oh, another thing that everyone underestimates early in their career is the value of their personal network of friends and colleagues. Whether you take up internships or not, start developing a network of acquaintances on the Internet who are related to Liberal Arts fields of your interest.

    In today's competitive marketplace, talent is not enough. When you look back on thirty years of your career, you wlll find that most every really good opportunity came from your personal network of friends, colleagues and coworkers.

    So, while you are finishing your degree, your other two jobs should be to build your resume and build your personal network.
     
  11. Deno

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    I bet if you went to New York you'd find someone to keep you until you get on your feet.
     
  12. nudeyorker

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    LOL... I've been looking since the day I moved here!
     
  13. majormadness

    majormadness New Member

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    Wow!
    Ok, so college is a good idea after all!

    Thanks everyone for your advice! I liked what Just Asking and a few other people said about summer internships. Also, special thanks to nudeyorker and jason_els for the insider information from NYC!

    So, here's another question. I know virtually nothing about renting living space. If I were to do an internships for three months in the summer, how would I book living accomodations? Will most intern programs set me up, or will i have to look for a 3-month sub-let or something?

    [edit] PS - Deno, I've had that idea filed away as Plan B for a while! :tongue: [/edit]
     
    #13 majormadness, Oct 31, 2008
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2008
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