• Are you a West Coast native considering attending college on the East Coast? At NYU, there are so many resources and opportunities to help ease the college transition!
  • Finding community at NYU is a breeze with the help of resident life staff and NYU Welcome programs.

Embarking on a new chapter in life is both exhilarating and nerve-racking. This is especially true when it involves a college transition from the West Coast to the East Coast. As a native of Los Angeles, I had this exciting opportunity to explore a different part of the country and embark on a journey. This article delves into my experiences. It sheds light on the challenges and rewards of transitioning from the West Coast to the East Coast for college.

The author moving in to NYU in the fall of 2020.

I moved into my first-year residence hall in the fall of 2020. I had three suitcases from home and a cart full of Bed Bath & Beyond necessities! What’s my best advice for students who are coming from far away? Buy all your dorm necessities after you arrive in New York City. It will make the travel process much easier for you! The NYU Office of Residential Life and Housing Services sends emails with great tips and tricks for making the move-in process easier. So be on the lookout for those.

NYU blocks off a couple of days after move-in and before class begins to allow students to acclimate to their new environment and find community. Through NYU Welcome, there are over 700 fun free events to attend and find a community to help make the transition to college easier. One of the most popular events is when NYU “takes over” Bed Bath & Beyond in Chelsea. The store is open only for NYU first years and offers great discounts on all their items. I met some of my best friends at another event that was for West Coast students. We bonded over similar cultural backgrounds and our dislike for the humid weather. All of my initial fears and doubts about coming to NYU were immediately wiped away once I found a community.

People walking through Washington Square Park at dusk.

The cultural shift is one of the most noticeable differences between the two coasts. The culture shock is real! The West Coast is known for its relaxed atmosphere and emphasis on natural beauty. Whereas the East Coast boasts a bustling urban landscape and a unique blend of cultures that make each and every city special.

Transitioning from Los Angeles to New York City allowed me to experience a new culture. I learned from the diverse perspectives I encountered. And sure, I missed my hometown’s beaches and rolling hills. But I apprecaited my new home and what it had to offer. Coney Island is just a short subway ride away, where you can enjoy the beach and the boardwalk rides like those in Santa Monica. I spent much time in the beautiful Washington Square and Central Parks, enjoying the natural beauty.

Of course, adjusting to the weather was another aspect of the transition that left a lasting impact. In Los Angeles the sun shines and blue skies dominate most of the year. And the East Coast experiences distinct seasons with a rather cold winter and humid fall. While the first winter was rough, I found a community because of it! I met a lot of other students who’d never experienced a proper East Coast winter at an event planned by NYU resident life staff. We went winter coat shopping together! FYI: The North Face has some of the best winter coats.

The beautiful Washington Square Arch on a clear day.

Despite the initial adjustments, transitioning from the West Coast to the East Coast for college was an experience that pushed me out of my comfort zone and fostered personal growth. It taught me resilience, adaptability, and the importance of embracing change. As my college journey ends, I reflect on the incredible memories, friendships, and experiences I have gained in New York City. While there were moments of homesickness and longing for the familiar, the rewards of stepping outside my comfort zone outweighed any challenges I encountered. The decision to transition from the West Coast to the East Coast for college was one that truly shaped my character and broadened my perspective.

JP Gutierrez is a senior pursuing a degree in Global Public Health and Anthropology in CAS with minor in Chemistry on the pre-medical track. Originally from Los Angeles, CA, JP has lived there his entire life. On campus, JP works as a Resident Assistant in Clark Street, an Admissions Ambassador, and is involved in clubs like the Latino Pre-Health Society and LUCHA. His passions include international healthcare, service, and traveling. Outside of the classroom, you can find him exploring new cafes around NYC or sitting in one of the many parks that this city has to offer!