8 Vital Life Lessons I Learned While Living in New York City

*This article was originally posted on 20some.com.

This past summer, I fell in love.

No, it wasn’t with the cute boy I met on the corner of 4th Street and Lafayette or the hottie from my office that I always chatted up while sneaking another afternoon snack. I fell in love with the city that never sleeps — New York City.

This past June, I joined the throngs of ramen noodle-consuming interns who invaded New York City, ready to immerse themselves in the city’s culture all in the name of some good ol’ unpaid bitch work. It was finally my time to take a bite of the Big Apple — and man, did I bite that sucker to the core.

Among the hustle and bustle, I was struck with super useful life lessons, and it wasn’t until I let this summer’s experience truly sink in that I fully learned these lessons. Whether they came to me while I was waiting in line for greasy $1 pizza or people watching in Times Square at 3 a.m., these golden nuggets of wisdom are worthwhile for anyone with dreams of living in a new city.

1. Keep your mind on your money and money on your mind
Ludacris and Snoop Dogg said it best. There’s no denying that NYC isn’t exactly friendly on the wallet. Heck, my wallet was practically begging for mercy at the end of my summer, but the hole I burned in it would’ve been 10 times worse if it weren’t for my handy dandy budgeting app. Being able to see that I had already spent most of my weekly budget by Thursday made me realize I had to say no to that second drink at happy hour.

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The Intern’s Style Guide: 5 Fun Business Casual Outfits to Inspire You

Ah, summer internships. They’re almost always unpaid and seemingly impossible to get. Plus, applying to them is oddly reminiscent of applying to college. Yet most college students are more than willing to trade in their summers of fun in the sun in the name of resume boosting and connection making at a summer internship.

Landing that picture perfect summer internship is a multi-stage process filled with many ups and downs, all of which I’ve gone through by now.

The sleepless nights spent researching my options and endlessly refining my cover letters and resume layout? Been there.
Anxiously refreshing my inbox in hopes of an email from editors and hiring managers. Done that.
Casually hyperventilating before phone interviews and after that moment when I was formally offered internships. Done that, too. (Sorry lungs.)

As the reality of a summer internship quickly approaches (emphasis on the quickly… I’m packing my bags to move to NYC in one week!), I’ve realized that my wardrobe needs a bit of a facelift. My summery crop tops and high-waisted shorts won’t exactly have a place in the office this summer. If I want to make the most of this summer and be the best intern I can be, I’ve got to play the part, and that means dressing professionally.

The term “business casual” may leave a bad taste in your mouth, rendering visions of stiff white button-downs and grandma-esque kitten heels. But while indulging in a little internship shopping spree, I realized that business casual attire doesn’t have to be bland and boring. It’s totally possible to add your own flair and colorful personality to any business casual look, as I recently learned myself. If you’re in need of some fashion inspiration before beginning your summer internship, look no further! Using Polyvore.com, I created five internship-approved options that will have your hiring manager thrilled he or she hired such a chic intern.

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