Although I currently work in the same town as my undergraduate university, by the time I moved back here as a physical therapist, five years had passed and zero of my college friends remained. So while I knew my way around, I didn’t know many people and had to relearn how to have fun as a non-college student. Since I no longer have a schedule full of college extracurriculars, I’ve had to find out about new restaurants and activities in other forms. Since physical therapists can find jobs almost anywhere, relocating is fairly common, especially for new graduates. Here is how I made the best of moving for my first job as a physical therapist:
Befriend your co-workers.
It made me nervous when I barely knew anyone to ask, “What are you doing this weekend?” But oftentimes the answer would include an invitation to hang out. I also make sure to attend official work events such as the annual holiday party, because hanging out outside of work gives everyone a chance to get to know each other better. Now that I’ve been working for over a year, outside-of-work hangouts are the norm, but I may not have gotten to that point without being direct and asking when I first started working.
Ask patients for suggestions.
When I first moved back to town, I wasn’t asking patients what they were doing over the weekend to make small talk. I was asking because I genuinely needed suggestions for things to do. Thanks to my patients, I found a great spot to pick apples, learned about festivals in town that remind me of Stars Hollow, and even found myself horseback riding. I’m consistently coming up with fun things to do on the weekend thanks to patients chatting about their plans.
Take advantage of social media.
I follow several local accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram so that if something interesting is happening nearby I don’t find out about it after the fact. Accounts I follow range from official city accounts to theaters to festival pages. These accounts keep me up to date on everything from new restaurant openings, concerts and sales so that I can plan out my adventurous weekends in advance.
Sign up for classes.
While I am currently on a barre class kick, I’ve taken everything from unicycling to Zumba classes during the past year. Next up on my list is a bootcamp workout, and hopefully someday I’ll find a cooking class. Not only do the classes keep me in shape, but they also give me a chance to meet new people around town.
Read the newspaper.
Or news website. Being new to town means being new to the issues, causes and concerns in town. But moving in recently doesn’t give you a free pass to ignore these things. I regularly read local news websites to stay up to date on the local elections I can now vote in, and other issues such as our current drought. Understanding local politics makes me feel like a real “townie” and not just a visitor.
What have you done to adjust to living and working in a new city?