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How To Prepare For College Life In Downtown Boston

How To Prepare For College Life In Downtown Boston

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Figuring out how to prepare for college can be daunting. I moved into the city as a college student at Emerson College in September of 2018 and honestly? It was one of the most simultaneously scary and wonderful things I have ever made the decision to do. Cities seem to operate on a completely different pace and sometimes it seems pretty difficult to catch up.

Yes, I did feel prepared, as this had been something I’d wanted for my life for so many years. However, in some ways I was completely unprepared. I had no idea how to get around, or how to be a certified city girl in general. If you’ve chosen your college career as life in the beautiful ‘Beantown,’ here are a couple of ways that you can prepare yourself for embarking on your city journey in Boston.

Familiarize yourself with the MBTA Map

The MBTA train, or the ‘T’ for short, is probably going to be the best way you’ll be able to get around without wearing out your legs or breaking the bank on gas or Uber rides. When figuring out how to prepare for college, knowing the T is a must. The train is super simple to ride around on once you get the hang of it. Basically, there’s inbound and outbound with different colored lines that travel back and forth to different sections of the city– red, orange, green, blue and silver. Obviously it’ll be confusing at first, but knowing the map will keep you from getting too lost. And if you do get lost by chance, embrace it!

How to Prepare for College Life in Downtown Boston

Research local businesses and hot spots

Pinterest is going to become your best friend in finding things to do within the city limits. What I would recommend doing: plan on visiting some of the most tourist-y spots first (Boston Common, Faneuil Hall, Newbury Street) then move on to visiting some of the less visited spots by tourists after. Before you move into school, do some research on popular coffee shops, parks and areas for photos. Think of it as planning a vacation– but the vacation spot becomes your home. How great is that?!

Save up your money

This might be an obvious answer, but it needs to be reiterated. SAVE. YOUR. MONEY. When it comes to how to prepare for college this is so important. Work often the summer before college and put aside some spending cash in a saving account dedicated to spending in Boston, because we all know how those trips to Thinking Cup and Primark can add up quickly. Limit your spending if you can– city living is exceptionally expensive and money goes fast.

How to Prepare for College Life in Downtown Boston


Search for concerts

Boston is a HUGE hub for live music, between the House of Blues, Paradise Rock Club, TD Garden and Brighton Music Hall, just to name a few venues. If you thrive off of going to concerts, I recommend visiting to track down when your favorite artists will be visiting the Boston area. Save up your pennies for these, too– live music can add up!

Take a self defense class

Knowing how to defend yourself in the case of an emergency is important, especially when you’re living in a city and often walking around on your own with a pair of earbuds in! These are sometimes offered at local community centers for a small cost, but teach you basic skills of how to protect yourself in the worst case scenario. Safety first!

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How to Prepare for College Life in Downtown Boston


Walk around by yourself

Once you finally get settled into Boston, you’re going to want to explore every little corner of it. Yes, going places with friends is fun and exciting, but so is wandering around on your own! Soaking in everything with a little bit of music playing while walking along the city sidewalks can be an instant cure to homesickness and is a fantastic way to immerse yourself in your new environment. Take a walk through the Boston Public Garden or get lost in the Boston Public Library– the city is your oyster.

Clear your camera roll

You’re going to be taking a lot of pictures in your new home. Trust me.

How to Prepare for College Life in Downtown Boston

What are your tips for how to prepare for college life in Downtown Boston? Tell us in the comments!
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