My First Year in Raleigh

January was a very special month, it marked the anniversary of me picking up my whole life, taking a big leap of faith and moving to Raleigh, NC from my home of Ann Arbor, MI. I can’t believe it’s already been a year, the time really has flow by when you’re having the time of your life! I thought it might be fun today to write and reflect on my first year in Raleigh with y’all.

The Decision to Move

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I’ve talked in more detail about how I came to this decision here. I will just summarize a bit and reflect, so not to be redundant.

This was a huge decision for me and one that caused me a lot of anxiety. Not a lot of people from where I grew up just pick up and move, let alone without a job. My friends were very supportive of course, but that’s what they do. My parents were less so… To be fair, they grew up in a different time. A time of middle class prosperity and job abundance. Things were different for them and they were raised differently, so I don’t hold this against them. They were just worried about me and probably wanting me to stick around.

I think the lack of faith pushed me even more towards making this move successful. This was the scariest thing I’ve ever done and I needed all the motivation I could get. The biggest lessons I learned from this move is to not let people scare you off from what feels right to you. Only you know what is best for you. The things that scare you the most those are the things you should be doing.

The Moving Process

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The moving process wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. That drive though, it was a long and horrible nightmare. Mostly because I hate driving and especially for a long time in a big Ford F-150 with two people total and a dog cramped up together. It was a 10.5 hour drive down to Raleigh in the truck and let me tell you, I couldn’t wait to get out of that truck.

As for what I brought with me, you can find that in a separate upcoming post. Plot twist, it was only what I could fit in the back of an F-150. I struggled with a few life hiccups shortly after the move, but I luckily met some really awesome people that took me under their wing and helped me along the way. Southern hospitality ain’t no joke.

Uprooting your whole life to a whole new city where you know no one is definitely hard don’t get me wrong, but it’s also liberating. You get to create a whole new life from scratch and curate it to the life you really want and meet fabulous new people who will teach you new things.

Finding the Right Career Fit

My last name was edited out of the name plate in order to protect myself and my identity

My last name was edited out of the name plate in order to protect myself and my identity

I really took my time in this area because my last job made me sorta miserable and I really wanted to avoid that. I also really wanted to take my time to find the right fit for me and figure out what I really wanted out of my next job. I think it took me around 5-6 months to find my current job, but keep in mind I wasn’t actively looking the whole time.

When you have to spend 40+ hours doing anything, you want to make sure it’s something that will not only make you happy, but make you enough money to cover your expenses and leave enough for fun and saving/investing. It is hard to tell from the interview process if a job will be the right fit. Do your due diligence and ask questions of them just like they are asking you! Interviews should be two-sided almost like a date. You both want to make sure it’s a good fit and that you will both be happy working together. However, when you do find the right fit, make sure to negotiate! Know your worth! Even if you are happy with the salary, you should still negotiate! You can always negotiate other things like vacation days, work flexibility options, etc. If you do not negotiate, you leave money on the table and it will impact your income potential throughout your career.

Rebuilding a Life

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For me, the fact that I was moving to a new city where I knew no one actually wasn’t the scariest part for me. That was probably one of the most exciting parts of it all. I love meeting new people especially people who have a different culture and life experiences than me. I’ve loved learning about southern culture and customs over the past year and see how differently other Americans live. This has me genuinely appreciating how different all Americans are and yet we still remain one nation. As divided as our nation is right now (don’t worry I’m not going to bore you or making things politically polarizing here), it has genuinely excited to me to connect with people who are different than me and find common ground. I think we could all do with a little more connection with and grace for our fellow Americans.

If making friends is something you are worried about for your move or just in your current life, make sure to check out my post on making new friends here. I’ve had some great feedback on that post and it’s one of my most popular. I love hearing from my readers and what they’ve found most helpful and/or any suggestions they may have, so please comment and let me know!

Reflections

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Overall, I am very happy here in Raleigh and happy with things turned out. I’ve really created a whole new life for myself down here. I can’t even begin to tell you how much better I feel here. About 6 months up until a year before I moved, I had really bad anxiety for seemingly no reason. It was so bad it was causing some health issues that I couldn’t figure out what was causing them. Well very shortly after I moved here those health issues and anxiety stopped.

Would I do a few things differently? Maybe, but maybe not. It was all a learning experience and I am a stronger and better person for it. Most of all, I was able to prove to myself I can do anything and it gave me a crazy amount of confidence in myself and my abilities. I am so happy that I took a chance on myself and did something for me instead of letting the fear I had and others’ fear stop me.

Thanks so much for following along on my journey for the last year. It’s been a real adventure and I wouldn’t want to share it with anyone, but the whole internet and you dear readers. I hope you’ve had as much fun reading as I have sharing with you. Let me know in the comments how long you’ve been tagging along and where you’re from/currently living, let’s connect!