By Michelle D. Hooks
When she was 19 and just establishing herself at the University of Kansas, Christie Garton founded Music Mentors, a nonprofit providing free music lessons to low income children. Garton wanted to share her passion with kids who might be interested in music, but could not afford it. She shared this same sentiment when she launched her media and information company.
“There is a study that found that nearly 30 percent of students drop out of college after their first year. U Chic exists to ensure that that doesn’t happen,” she said in an interview.
After she graduated with a business degree in 2001, she decided to stick around to finish credits towards her French degree. As friends moved on, she became ready to leave Kansas behind and follow her boyfriend, now husband, to Philadelphia.
It was a scary move because she knew only him. Yet such moves are the norm in May, June and July for experienced professionals who want to relocate while children are out of school and for graduates fresh out of a university. Summer is the busiest season for moving, with 30 to 33 percent of all moves happening in the three months, according to a Census analysis. One-fourth of employers expect more relocations this year than last, according to Atlas Van Lines.
Garton’s move brought her many opportunities: she earned her J.D. in the University of
Philadelphia Law School in 2006, a year after launching U Chic as a media brand and book series for college women. Its mission: “To ensure that any young woman with big goals for her life has the support, resources and experiences she needs to achieve them.” U Chic was a 2012 finalist in About.com’s Readers Choice Awards for “Best College Survival Guide.” She also started a foundation that will fund college scholarships for women.
With our focus on moving this month, we asked Garton, author of U Chic’s Diploma Diaries: The Chic Grad’s Guide to Work, Love and Everything in Between to share some strategies for making it work, marvellously:
- Create a positive perspective. Moving out of your hometown or college town may seem frightening so try to neutralize that by seeing it as a new quest that can better yourself. ”It helps to adopt a ‘glass half full’ perspective when embracing change like a big move,” Garton says. “I found the courage by changing my perspective and viewing the move as a new adventure that was going to lead to new, exciting and positive things…no matter what.”
- Find allies. Exploring your new city can be lonely, so locate people to hang out with and make your transition easier. Use Facebook to reconnect with college friends or others. “Reach out and invite them out for coffee or drinks when you arrive. Who knows? They may end up being your next new bestie,” she says.
- Join in joyful activities. Make your new city your new home by finding groups that share your interests. “In Philadelphia, I started up guitar lessons again. When I moved to D.C., I tried out and was accepted into a local choir,” said Garton. She’s also lived in Paris, London, New York – and now Kansas City.
- Explore your new city. Throughout Diploma Diaries, contributors give helpful tips. One contributor adjusted to her surroundings by making friends, getting a map to explore and discovering what makes her new place unique.
Garton’s final advice: “Most people want to help you have a smooth transition into the real world, if they can. You just have to have the courage to ask.”