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Four things I wish they would have told me when I first moved to Chicago

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During my daily web surfing, I stumbled upon this article on the JTA site, called How to Retire Happily.  No, I’m not retiring at the ripe old age of 24, but out of curiosity, I clicked to check it out.  Surprisingly, what I read really resonated with me.  Whether you’re 65 and moving to Scottsdale or 23 and moving to a new city, the advice remains the same.

In December of 2006, when I moved to Chicago, friendless and job-free in the dead of winter, I wish someone had shared these tips with me:

1.  Keep busy.  Staring at your computer and searching for jobs online will not lead you to friends, business contacts, or really anything but unhappiness.  Join a gym, go to networking events, find a hobby and meet others who share your interests…and don’t be afraid to do it alone.

2.  Rather than holding out for the perfect job while watching all seven seasons of Gilmore Girls with a never-ending tub of popcorn, do something.  Discover your inner barista, volunteer, babysit – you’ll supplement your dwindling bank account and fill your days with meaningful activities.

3.  Use your Facebook network.  If you have 37 “friends” in Chicago, none of whom you’ve spoken to in the past 2 years, try messaging a few and making coffee dates.  Even if you don’t connect with that person, they may introduce you to your future best friends.

4.  Always remember – eventually you’ll refer to Chicago as home.  You’ll have friends, a job, a social life – it just takes a little courage, patience and time.

I know I’m no expert – anyone else have any advice for new Chicagoans?

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