View Full Version : Fulfilling dreams; moving to NYC have ?s

January 6th, 2009, 10:15 PM
K. I am an award-winning journalist with 20 -- yikes -- years of experience. I plan to apply to, and hopefully get admitted into, the Master of Fine Arts program at Columbia University. I think the best housing would be student housing, like at maybe the International House. However, I have a dog, a pug. So I don't think that's an option. I'll work to get scholarships and financial aid, plus I plan to get a full-time job in PR or whatever with my journalism experience with a salary of $45,000 and benefits because at 40 I need health insurance. I'm not dumb nor naive, but I do know that NYC, even though I've been there three times for fun and several times for seminars/workshops for work when I worked/lived in Dallas for a NYC-based company, isn't an easy city to navigate. I'm looking for BRUTALLY HONEST advice on ...
1. Where to live. Should I opt for CU student housing or find an apartment?
2. Is $45K before taxes are taken out enough to live on if I have financial aid/scholarships/savings to pay for grad school?
3. How can you connect with people in a safe way in such a big city?
4. Tips for personal safety considering I'd be a single woman in NYC. Where NOT to go for sure and when.
5. Which is best, bus or subway, to get to places?
6. Logistical question: How/where do I get groceries/supplies. Considering I'll be walking a lot, I don't want to schlep bottled water for blocks and blocks. Is delivery an option for heavier items?
7. Should I sell my furniture and just move stuff like dishes/computer/personal effects and then buy furniture there where it can be delivered and where I'll know what will fit?
8. I'm a Christian and want to go to a Christian church. But in addition I am really drawn to learning more about the Jewish culture, since Jesus was Jewish. I don't like the idea of the Jews for Jesus type of organizations, but don't know if a Christian going to temple would be kosher, so to speak.
9. What are the best, as in brutal honesty, web sites/books/movies that portray the REAL NYC?
10. How to find a good doctor. In Dallas, it was a crap shoot because the city was so huge you didn't know if the person was a quack or not. In smaller towns, which I grew up in and live in now, word gets around quickly about who's an idiot.
Thanks, folks!

January 6th, 2009, 11:37 PM
If you're looking for brutal honesty, the least I can tell you is to at least wait until you've been accepted to this program before you even consider the rest. Frankly, beyond the wildly tough competition you're looking at, this is the worst time in generations to move to NYC as an adult writer. You should already know that scholarships are extremely difficult to come by for grad school, and that no Columbia student housing will allow you to have pets.