This move has easily been my worst move yet.
Granted, my move could be worse (fingers superstitiously crossed to keep it from getting worse), so I have to keep it all in perspective!
Here are some lessons I learned from my move. Hopefully this will keep others from making the same mistakes and make someone else’s move go easier.
1. Find a place to live before you move
Okay, okay, this seems like an obvious one to most people. However, my previous moves have been in/to cities where I was able to find a place, sign the lease, and get the keys within 48 hours. I thought I could do the same here. Nope! Here in St. Louis, the rental market is a lot tighter. One of the other interns warned me about her experience finding a place, so I took on the opinion that it might take me longer than 48 hours. Well, I still don’t have keys to my own place. I am in the process of signing my lease and will get the keys hopefully tomorrow. In the other cities I’ve lived, the apartments were ready right away. Here, a lot of the landlords list the apartments weeks before the apartments are ready. Thank goodness for my friends who are letting me stay on their floor. Otherwise, I’d be racking up a huge hotel bill.
I definitely have been wishing that I had come out here for at least a weekend during the summer. I asked everyone I knew that had ties to St. Louis for advice on neighborhoods. Unfortunately, the neighborhood everyone raved about, I disliked. If I had blindly signed a lease based on what the majority of people I consulted, I probably would’ve been very unhappy.
2. Plan it out, multiple ways
Basically, this boils down to “Have a back-up plan.” Actually, have multiple plans. In the case of not finding a place to live, my back up plans were a hotel, my friends, and one of the interns. (The one who shared her story of difficulty finding a place offered her floor, too.) But you also should have multiple routes if you’re driving, multiple people to call in case of an emergency, etc.
3. Plan for everything to go wrong. Or as the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts say, “Be prepared.”
And I mean everything. That way, when nothing goes wrong, you’re good. And when something does go wrong, you’ll be ready for it and you can just roll with it.
In my case, I had to make a pit-stop on my drive for a new headlight. I used that for my lunch break and enjoyed a (relatively) healthy meal.
4. Give yourself extra time.
Well, I didn’t give myself too much extra time to find a place, as I’ve already mentioned. I did, however, give myself plenty of extra time to drive, so the four-and-a-half hour delay really didn’t phase me too much. (Yeah, four-and-a-half hours. I was not impressed with the mechanics who helped me with my headlight.) Giving yourself extra time means time relax when you get there earlier than planned.
5. Budget extra money for the trip
Just like giving yourself extra time, planning on having extra expenses gives you a cushion. While I could spend the entire time before I get my keys in a hotel because I did budget for that, I would rather not spend all that money. So I am taking my friends up on their offer of a place to crash until I get my keys.
6. Thank everyone who helps you with the move.
One of my friends helped me load up my car and kept me calm when I got frustrated with the packing. As a thanks, she’s got a lot of my gardening supplies that I can’t take with me so she can start a garden in her new apartment. And the friends that are letting me crash with them? Well, let’s just say I’ve been taking notes of their favorite places to eat, their favorite places to shop, and sketching out what “Babysitting” coupons would look like.
If you have movers who help you move, it’s generally considered good etiquette to have iced tea, cold sodas, and cold water available for the movers. Or lemonade. If the movers are your friends, I suppose you could go with cold beers, but generally, alcohol and heavy boxes are not a good combinations and you never should offer alcohol to professional movers.
And I don’t just mean pack everything in boxes before the move (although you should do that.) If you’re planning on moving in your own vehicle, plan out how everything will fit in your vehicle and then practice packing. You may find that you’ll have to get rid of stuff to make all the important things fit. A good start is seeing how many empty boxes will fit in your car. If you can’t get everything into that number of boxes, then you should really consider getting a moving truck or trailer if you have a hitch, using a moving service, or getting rid of all your stuff. Getting a storage unit and making multiple trips is also an option, even if it is troublesome. One of the girls I know who also has to move for her internship has been storing some items at her boyfriend’s place and her parents’ house, since she knows she’ll be back for visits.
8. Eat, and eat well.
When I get stressed, I stop eating. When I stop eating, I get more stressed. It’s a vicious cycle. If you don’t eat well, you won’t think well and you won’t feel good which makes it harder to lift those boxes. It’s hard to eat well on the road, but with some planning, you can manage it. Just remember to eat – you need your strength to get through the move.
9. Ask your internship director for a list of places other interns have lived and liked.
My internship director has been super helpful with my troubled move. She gave a list of places others have lived and has been very honest about the safety of each of the neighborhoods I’ve looked at.
Not only has my director been super helpful, a lot of the other dietitians that will be my preceptors have offered help. I cannot begin to tell you how awesome and caring they all have been. I’ll try, though – they all rock.
When everything seems like it’s going wrong, just take a few deep breaths and remind yourself, “EGBOK.” EGBOK = Everything’s Gonna Be OK. It really helps to take deep breaths and force yourself to relax. It also makes it easier to think of a solution to your current situation.
Once I get moved in, I’ll do a full write up of the horrible move, the whirlwind orientation, and my first rotation. Because, wow…. I’m now one week down on my first rotation. More to come!