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Every year, thousands of students come to New York City from all over to study in the greatest city in the world. For those who aren’t familiar with the city, or who’ve never even seen it, this can be an incredibly daunting time. Here we have some tips and tricks on how to get accustomed to the hustle and bustle during your first semester here.

1. Conquer Your Campus

Not all NYC colleges have actual “campuses” per se. This means their buildings are found throughout the city, usually in a slightly concentrated area. The first area you should worry about getting to know is that one. It doesn’t matter how many cool places you know in Williamsburg if you can’t even get to your classes without getting lost. Find your way around all your different buildings, and don’t worry about the rest yet.

2. Explore Your Neighborhood

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In a similar vein, while there’s plenty to do and see in New York, the best place to start is your own backyard. While you might want to hop on the subway and visit other neighborhoods or sites you’ve heard about, it’s much more valuable to get to know the places around you, such as the local park, bodega, coffee shops, restaurants, etc. The more you know around your school, the more comfortable you’ll feel. And the more impressed your parents will be when they come to visit.

3. Go to Things (and Invite People)

Access to countless museums, parks, concerts, performances, plays, and events is in the palm of your hand at all times. Don’t be afraid to take a chance on an event you saw on Facebook or the NY Times Weekend Guide. You’ll seem like you know what you’re doing when you invite the kids from down the hall, and they’ll definitely appreciate the invite. Learn how to survive the weekend on $25. It can be done!

4. Master the Subway (But, No Rush)

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While it’s not necessary to have the subway map memorized within a week of arriving on campus, it’s best to try to get used to it sometime before your first midterms. The NYC subway system is a whole being in and of itself, and there are tons of quirks to it that only make sense with time. So, buy your first MetroCard and take a ride somewhere, even if it’s a quick one. Here’s a quick primer on how to ride the subway so it looks like you know what you’re doing.

When you master the subway, New York is truly your oyster. Head to the Botanical Gardens in the Bronx. Check out New World Mall in Flushing. See a show in Prospect Park in Brooklyn. Hit up some joints known for their cheap eats. The options are endless.

5. Don’t Feel Bad Leaving the City Sometimes

For students who live within driving distance of New York, it’s tempting to go home on weekends or the holidays, and that only makes sense. New York can be stifling, suffocating and stressful, and many people spend a lot of their weekends outside of its limits. Going home every weekend would mean missing out on all there is to do here come Friday, but the occasional weekend breather will never be frowned upon. And if you don’t live close by, consider taking a quick trip via the Metro-North or Long Island Rail Road for an easy weekend getaway.

6. Find Your Places

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New York is huge, and there’s no way to conquer it all, even in four years. The truth is, it’ll never feel like home if you don’t find the places that are comfortable to you. If you love going to the same trivia night at the pub around the corner, keep going! If you love doing your math homework in the coffee shop two blocks down, why stop? Having those core places that are yours will make the city feel a whole lot smaller and comfortable.

7. Breathe

It’s OK to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of both college life and New York life. But don’t be afraid to slow down and chill out. After all, the city will always be here for you. You want to make sure you’re up for it.

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