The Problem with Pioneering

When you’ve just graduated and are still looking for a job, it’s easy to feel like getting that first job will solve all your problems.  Then you get the job offer and it comes with a whole new set of adventures to tackle.  If you’re like me, you plan and implement your move half way across the country in the span of three weeks.  If you’re really adventurous, desperate, or the job is just awesome, you might find yourself moving to a place where you don’t know anyone.

During and for the first month after my move, I enjoyed the challenges that were coming my way.  The people in my office are simply amazing.  They’re really good at answering my questions about things like where I should look for curtains and how cold I can expect it to get in Boston this winter.  I actually found my apartment because my boss has a friend who is a realtor.  You have to love the boss who meets you when you get off the bus from the airport and presents you with a city map.  (I have to say this is probably one of my favorite gifts ever because it is useful and expresses confidence in my abilities, sort of like when Dad gave me a car jack the Valentine’s Day after I turned 16).  During this time, I had fun pretending that I was a pioneer, striking out on my own to make my way in the world.  As Dad pointed out before I left, it’s not like things were two hundred years ago when people left home and never came back, when it could take weeks or months to get a letter half way across the country.  For a while, it was fun to wander around and buy new things, building my professional wardrobe and decorating my new apartment.

Then the adrenaline rush wore off.  It hit home that there wasn’t anyone in this city that I’d known longer than six weeks.  I felt (and often still feel) lonely and isolated.  There are many days when I wake up and just want to see the familiar face of someone, anyone that I have history with.  (Even if it was someone I hadn’t talked to often or maybe even actually liked when I knew them previously, I would love them just for being in this city at this time.)

I know that feeling at-home in Boston is largely dependent on me.  I won’t feel completely comfortable here until I have commitments (outside of getting up and going to work every day) and friends that I can call at the last minute when I suddenly decide that I absolutely must go out for pizza or who will help me sneak snacks into the movie theater and then make fun of me while I talk to the characters on screen.   This weekend I joined a brunch group that I found on meetup.com.  I figure that brunch is a nice, safe way to meet new people.  In the spring I’m planning to take some sort of lessons that involve boats; I’m not sure whether it will focus on rowing or sails, but regardless, it will not be an activity I could easily pursue in Missouri.  And until I have memories in Boston, I still have my phone and friends all over the country who are going through the same thing.

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5 Comments

Filed under By-Katherine

5 responses to “The Problem with Pioneering

  1. Angelique

    I promise you are not alone! Those of us who have moved to a new city where we don’t know anyone (or only know like two people who have busy lives of their own…) completely understand what you’re going through. I was so busy the first two months settling in to my apartment and my new job, that I didn’t have the time or energy to feel lonely. Now that I am feeling more comfortable and have settled into a routine of sorts, I have started to realize that I don’t know anyone except for the 3 older ladies that I work with and my two friends from undergrad who have crazy busy lives of their own. It wasn’t until the last couple weeks that it hit me: I spend A LOT of time alone. During the week, it’s not so bad because I’m usually tired after work and fighting with traffic, so coming home to an empty apartment is kind of nice. I can relax, watch TV, and just chill out. It’s the weekends that get to you because you suddenly have so much free time (and NO HOMEWORK to worry about!) and no plans. Now I consider myself an independent person and I am totally fine with being alone (and not being lonely), but there comes a point where you’re spending more time alone than with people…that’s when it gets lonely. I thought joining a yoga class would help (and it’s been really great!), but it’s mostly older women in my class, so it didn’t really help me with my goal of meeting people. Maybe I’ll check out that meetup site you mentioned. 🙂 Although, my next idea to meet people is to join a bowling league! I think I missed the sign-up dates for the season though, so I’ll have to wait until spring. Anyway…I just wanted to reiterate that YOU ARE NOT ALONE! We’re all going through similar situations. Just hang in there and I’m sure everything will work out soon! Miss you!

  2. Amber

    Good luck getting more settled and finding your niche! I had the same problem when I moved to Chicago for graduate school and I grossly over-estimated it’s potential for new friendships!

  3. Katherine

    Thanks for the good wishes! I felt like it was important to talk about this because it seems like there’s often a “happily ever after” feeling that surrounds job hunting. It’s easy to tell yourself that everything will be good after you get the job and forget that there are all these other details and inconveniences to work out. If you’re interested in the website where I found the brunch group, it’s meetup.com. Check it out!

  4. Matt

    I know how you feel, as I moved to Kansas for a job about 3 weeks after graduating from my MLIS program in Pittsburgh. In those three weeks, I was married, went on a honeymoon, moved halfway across the country, and began a new job! It was crazy, but my wife and I had each other for company initially. Then we both got involved in volunteer community activities and our church and made a lot of new friends that way. Getting involved with those types of organizations can really help!

    • Katherine

      Hi Matt,

      Thanks for the support! It’s getting better. I think a lot of my problem was that initially I didn’t know anyone. It seems easier to make friends if you have one friend to go do things with. It’s always nice to know that someone has got your back. You’re lucky to have found your wife so that she was with you when you were starting out in Kansas. I know that getting involved is key to feeling like part of a community, but I almost think it would be helpful if I had fewer options. There are so many churches and community organizations here that it’s hard to know exactly where to start. I guess the obvious is to start with the places I come across between work and home. 🙂