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Aug 04 2017
by Lindsay Wigo

What I Learned From Transferring Out Of My 'Dream City'

By Lindsay Wigo - Aug 04 2017
A little over one year ago, I committed to what I thought was my dream school in my dream city. I had dreamed about New York City all of my junior and senior year of high school. I wanted to study television and film production in the media capital of the world. I wanted the inspiration, the craziness, the art, the fashion and most importantly, the experience. After my first semester of school, however, I packed up my dorm room, moved out of my "dream city" and headed about three hours home, with a slightly crushed spirit. The New York experience I had so desperately wanted was nothing that I had expected. My first semester of college was miserable, so I did something about it — I didn't return. I left New York City.

Once I made it known that I was transferring schools, everyone said to me, "I thought New York City was everything you wanted! Why did you hate it?"

It's still slightly difficult to answer this question because it still makes me upset to explain, or attempt to explain.

It took everything out of me.

There is a huge difference between living in the city permanently and just vacationing. The first two weeks after moving in felt instantly wrong. It didn't feel like a fun vacation for the first couple weeks. It became way too permanent way too quickly in the wrong way. It felt like I was dropped in the wrong place and there was no escaping. It wasn't a fun, exhilarating new experience.

I was overcome with anxiety as soon as I realized just how overwhelming the city can be. Despite the insane amount of people in Manhattan at almost any time of day, it was an extremely lonesome place for a 17-year-old. Living there was an isolating experience. I never knew it was an isolating experience because fashion magazines and pretty skyline pictures don't tell you those sort of things.

I never knew that I didn't like big crowds until I felt myself tense up every time I walked outside. I was scared to walk alone and I was scared to walk with friends. I was scared in general. I thought this nervousness of a new place would pass, but it didn't. I even refused to go on subways because they made me anxious.

I know what you're thinking: How did I ever think I could live in this city with the things I'm saying? How didn't I realize that this place wasn't for me?

Simple. It was my dream city. 

I pushed all fears and possibilities aside. I didn't get the full picture because I was so set on living in this city full of media, music and theatre. I highly, highly encourage all current high school juniors and seniors to expand your horizons and not just apply to schools in the city you love, or think you love. Apply to the schools you never thought you'd attend, because that's where I ended up — and I love it.

This isn't to say that every person who goes to their dream city will be upset and unhappy, because that's not at all true. However, I feel that my story of unexpected disappointment shows that it is completely possible. Your dream city may be just that: A dream city. Your school may not be a realistic option for you, just like how New York City wasn't realistic for me. New York looked so amazing in pictures and movies, but after going to school there for a few months, I realized I needed a more safe, cozy, campus-feel to my school. Once I committed to leaving the city, I became less discouraged, and I accepted that it is OK to change things that aren't bettering you.

There's nothing scarier than feeling out of place in the place you've always dreamed of living. It is an extremely intimidating thing to change schools, but it was so worth it. I never imagined I'd leave New York only a semester in, but I knew what was going to make me happy. So many great things come your way when you make changes to better your situation, so don't be afraid to make a change in college. Change isn't always a bad thing, I promise.

Lead Image Credit: Lindsay Wigo

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Lindsay Wigo - George Washington University

Lindsay is a journalism student and is very excited to be the Editorial Director of Fresh U. She hopes to work in the features and entertainment journalism industry in the future. For more of her work, visit her website:

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