The months have flown by, and I’ve lived in London for almost eight months now. I’m definitely not the same graduate who packed her bags and headed for the big smoke back in August. Here is what I’ve learned from living here. Hopefully it could help you know what to expect if you’re thinking of moving to London in the future. If you are, I definitely recommend it.
1. Londoners think they are in the centre of the world, and that is because we are. The city is a completely different world from the rest of the UK. When I catch the train for a weekend away it feels like visiting a different country. And because it is so different here, it’s therefore better. Perfect sense, right?
2. The tube has an entirely different etiquette to anywhere else. There are unwritten rules on where you can stand, how you should move down inside the cars, and how you should signal that you’re about to get off the train. Subtly turning my kindle off and staring at the platform as it comes into view is basically the same as screaming ‘I’m getting off at this stop so you better get the hell out of my way’. Tube politics are definitely real.
3. Working hours differ very greatly. Like on TV shows like Suits, some people spend their whole lives in the office. The tube is packed even at 7.30 in the morning and it stays packed well after the evening rush hour. But, there are also people who live the 9 ‘til 5 life and get out of work dead on time.
4. Drinking on a work night is definitely a thing. At uni, any night was a good night to go out, and that was mostly because it was so easy to skip the following day’s lectures. Working in the city, people are just as eager to go out on a Wednesday or Thursday night, and they will be just as hungover the next day, but somehow they still manage to get into work for 9am. I haven’t figured out how they are able to use this superhuman strength, but when my uni drinking exploits fade into a distant memory I’m sure I will join the ranks of these fearless drinkers.
5. Everything happens faster in London. From the walking pace to the time it takes to rent a flat (second views are a luxury only afforded to properties outside the capital, everything happens at a much faster pace here. I’m already one of those people who fumes when there is three minutes to wait for the next train. Londoners want everything, and they want is yesterday.
6. It’s best not to think about rent too much. I could afford to rent a small terraced house in my hometown, yet in London the same amount of money affords me a decent sized room in a shared terraced house. My friends have all agreed that we’d rather not think about the ridiculous amounts of money we’re throwing down the drain in rent.
7. Personally, I’ve learned that I’m capable of living on my own. I don’t like the people I live with, so I don’t count them as housemates. My closest friends are at least a tube ride away, so I am very much on my own. But that’s okay. I’ve learned to plan social occasions in advance and not be too sad if they fall through. More importantly, I’ve learned how to spend a lot of time on my own and be okay with that.
8. Travelling is still the most important thing to me. Now that I’m no longer a broke student and I can start to think about saving more money, I still don’t want to spend it on boring things like a house deposit. Instead, all my spare cash is going into my travel savings pot once again. Some things never change.
9. I’m better equipped to face the world of work than I thought I was. Yes, the hours may be a lot more than at uni, but the work itself is fine. I know I can do it, and do it well. After being told that I’d never find a job when I left uni, it’s a pleasant surprise to find out that every employed person isn’t some kind of expert in everything. Plus, there are a lot more entry-level jobs around than I expected, so don’t give up if you’re job hunting. 10. I love it. The main reason I decided to move to London was because all the jobs I wanted to apply for were based in the city. The move wasn’t part of some master plan, and I had no idea what to expect from living in the capital city rather than visiting for the weekend. But I ended up falling in love with the business, the self-centred attitude of the city, the constant events and the feeling that London is something bigger than itself. I definitely made the right decision, and I can’t imagine living anywhere else in my early 20s.
Do you live in London? Are you a fan, or is it not for you? Would you ever consider moving here if you live elsewhere?