When I looked out of my window at the beautiful Lake Michigan and Lakeshore East Park, where I used to live in Chicago, I thought about how scary and exciting my future seemed. Bright business school days were recently behind me and the challenges of moving to New York and working on Wall Street were now not a few, but a single step away.
Alumni commonly told stories about their struggles with the biggest transitions, but, for me, the small things were the most painful: selling my furniture in Chicago, saying goodbye to close Booth friends, moving to New York, and finding a place to live in this city made some of my first days a bit stressful. For the latter, it took me a month and a half, 60+ apartment visits, and spending some time in friends’ places, hotel rooms, and a terrible Airbnb, until I finally moved into my apartment. Gosh! I missed the view I had in Chicago. No Lake Michigan here. But new and exciting things awaited me.
Before moving here, I always thought New York was overrated and banking was the real place “where fun goes to die.” Suddenly, here I was: living both experiences at once. It reminds me of something that a friend back in Brazil used to say, “Whenever something scares you, you should go ahead and do it.” A bit inspired by that memory, I dove into the experience.
My first months were a mix of challenges and excitement. It was summer in New York City and the season stretched along with all the marvelous things the city can offer. During those days, I was staying at a friend’s place right by Central Park and had the opportunity to enjoy many outside activities, wear light clothes while the weather permitted it, watch sunsets from the rooftops, and live under what seemed to be post-covid bliss.
On the professional side of life, I was under the stress of preparing for my FINRA exams, going through training in the bank, and meeting my new colleagues. Living the mix of these scenarios and waiting for my network of 100+ Booth friends to move into the city, I luckily went down an unexpected path. As lonely as people say New York can be, I made great new non-Booth friends who now fill most of my free time, more than I could have ever thought of after being with Boothies for so long.
When training ended and actual work started, banking pushed the accelerator, staffing me on a super interesting live deal that almost took the life out of me. Even though I was working my dream job and had an incredible deal in my hands, it was difficult to transition from MBA life to banking’s demanding work hours, especially during Christmas and New Year’s Eve. However, the feeling of achievement at close in January made all of those late nights worth it.
Notwithstanding those crazy hours and, perhaps, as I adjusted to sleeping fewer hours, I was able to manage fun days and nights in the city as well. Many times I still carry my computer around and find myself working from the most unexpected places, but I try to see it all as a part of the broader experience. I am thankful for all of the Boothies in the city and the new friends I made for making my New York experience so amazing. They have made my days here some of the happiest of my life.
My original feeling that the city was overrated is completely gone. It is difficult to find many other places in the world where you can meet so many intelligent and interesting people. Moreover, it is hard for me to think of a city that aggregates so many diverse experiences. My thoughts have quickly moved from the nervousness of What will my experience in the city be? to, How can I afford this city a little longer??
A year ago, my future felt like standing on the ledge of the Edge on a foggy day: you know there is this bustling, incredible city below you with so many opportunities, but you can’t see any of it yet. There is uncertainty about what awaits, and that made me want to pause before moving forward. I needed to take that first leap and trust that things would be ok when I landed, whether I was going to stumble at first or land in a hot tub. Only time will tell how New York treats me in the long run, but after this first year I can say that the water feels pretty warm.