Bright Lights, Big City: The How-To Guide on Moving to Austin

Posted on Monday, Feb 13, 2017

Moving to a big city with such a diverse atmosphere can be intimidating, especially once you’ve become acclimated to the cozy feeling of Aggieland. The hustle and bustle of getting everything situated for this wonderful journey can seem overwhelming…especially during finals! But, I’m here to offer five key points to help make the transition smoother for you! As a Christian, I think it’s important to have faith in even the most unknown chapters of life. So here’s how a bit of F.A.I.T.H will help you along the way!

F: Financial preparation! The contract through the PPIP program is $1,000 a month, and if you aren’t from Austin, I highly recommend looking for decent priced housing right away. Some places that my fellow cohort members and I looked at was the UT apartment sublet page. Because session starts in January, many students are going to be looking for someone to take over their lease, and you definitely DO NOT want to be paying $950 + in rent by signing a new lease. But more on that later. For now, be sure you are saving money even before you find out if you get this internship because finances are something you don’t want to worry about!

A: Adventure! Austin has such an eclectic arena of experiences to dive into. As one of the greatest cities in the United States (clearly my opinion), it’s a great opportunity to really do some self-exploring. Always wanted to learn how to horseback ride or fly a plane? U.T offers non student classes for the public! Have you wanted to experience nature a bit more deeply? Well Lady Bird Lake, AKA the river and many trails are intertwined within this beautiful concrete jungle waiting for you! Are you a foodie? Well, say hello to hundreds of Instas just waiting to be posted! With all these new possibilities though, it can easily be an overwhelming thing. So make sure that you find a balance that works right for you in the things that you enjoy and exploring those new facets of yourself! And always, always, always make smart choices, and remember you don’t have to say yes to every invitation out.

I: Internship investment!  It goes without saying that your internship needs to be the focus of your time in Austin. This is why I stressed that balancing your time is important. It’s also just as important to take into account which things you are investing your time in. As a representative of your Senator, State Representative, or office, you are a reflection of them. Having this in mind helps to prioritize the stakes that are involved. Don’t let that deter you though! I say this because once I realized these things, it really placed into perspective the importance of the work and what it means for the people I represent. With that said, being proactive and keeping an A-game attitude will help you through the beautiful, chaotic, and busy time that is legislative session. It’s hard work, but waking up every day and knowing that my time is invested in the betterment of our state and the people, make the challenges and sacrifices well worth it!

T: Time for yourself is extremely important! How many times have you pulled an all-nighter or pushed back some school work because your friends decided to go somewhere and you had a FOMO? Doing an 8-5 work change may take a toll on you the first couple of weeks because there’s no luxury of sleeping in till noon or skipping a couple of classes to catch up on sleep. Because of that, it is A-Okay to spend a weekend recharging at home with some good chocolate and some good rom-coms. That’s just my suggestion! But, in all seriousness, it’s a great way to focus on mental health by allowing a wind down and mental preparation for the week to come!

H: Housing! I 100% feel like I found the honey pot when it came to roommates. But, it was not without some frantic struggle along the way during finals. Don’t be like me! Because you found out about the PPIP internship nearly a month before the program begins you need to be on top of housing! The ANRP and PPIP staff do their best to connect us with fellow Aggies and other sources as well, so if you just aren’t having any luck, be sure to reach out to Stephanie and Erin! My recommendations are to be sure you feel comfortable with the people you are moving in with. If your gut tells you no, then it’s best to listen to that! Don’t be afraid to do a little social media research on them to see if y’all will vibe! And definitely don’t knock sharing a room with someone off the list. I’m currently doing that and it feels like dorm living, except you have a kitchen and living room. Also, it bumps down pricing tremendously! Working in downtown Austin means you want to look for something nearby if you can, but the downside is that it can be very expensive, and out of price range depending on your personal budget. So, if you find something reasonable, don’t dilly-dally- take it! But mainly, trust your gut, and make sure you feel safe with the area and the people you are living with!
The PPIP internship is a great opportunity to really experience the process of public service and offer new chapters in the story of your lives! I hope this dose of F.A.I.T.H can help along the way! What are you most looking forward to in this new adventure?

Devin Miranda Pallares
Office of State Senator Eddie Lucio jr.
Austin, Texas