Ellen Kranz is living the post-college dream. On a whim, she and two high school buddies packed up their prized possessions and caravanned about 1,200 miles south from Minneapolis, MN, to Austin, TX.
“We’d lived in Minnesota all our lives, and we all went to the college there. We wanted to try something new,” said Kranz, 23.
‘Small-Town, Big-City Feel’
After graduating from the University of Minnesota in May 2014, Kranz jotted down potential cities with her friends. Austin was high on the list.
The deciding factor? Weather. With its essentially snowless winter, Texas’ capital offers year-round access to restaurant patios, outside bars and live music. A visit solidified their decision. “It reminded us of Minneapolis in some ways, with its small-town, big-city feel,” Kranz said.
Five months later, Kranz and her two friends moved into their new bungalow in Austin’s Hyde Park neighborhood — sight unseen. Jobs? They’d find them when they got there.
“We Tetris-ed everything into our cars, and we each have small cars,” Kranz said. “But it was kind of nice to file through everything you don’t use anymore and give it away.” She dropped some stuff at Goodwill and stored the rest at her parents’ home.
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Soon, the three had settled in to their new city. They bought beds at IKEA, furniture from Craigslist and a couch from the Salvation Army. They met their neighbors, also 20-somethings, and established new friendships over food-truck eats and outdoor music.
Still, as carefree as it sounds, moving roughly 1,200 miles still can be stressful. Kranz left family and friends behind, plus the city she’d known for 23 years. She’d regularly made road trips to Chicago, IL, to see old acquaintances, but traversing between Austin and Minneapolis was a different story. Weekend trips were out. She’s been back home once for a 10-day trip around Christmas.
“I guess I was leaving a lot behind, but I knew it was time to try something new. And with two friends, that’s a lot easier,” Kranz said.
Hunting for Work
The job search proved particularly tricky.
“I didn’t know anyone, and it’s difficult starting your network at zero,” said Kranz, who majored in advertising and urban studies. “I was applying for jobs that I was qualified for or would have enjoyed, but I either didn’t get an interview or I would and then not get the job.”
She started networking, joined Women Communicators of Austin and went on several coffee dates with people in the ad industry. The tables turned, and soon Kranz had opportunities opening up. She’s now working part time as a marketing and events intern for The Austin Chronicle and has several promising leads.
“I was just overwhelmed and had a lot to do, so I said I’d figure it out later, which I did,” she said.
Her best advice to fellow college grads making a huge geographical leap?
“Be open to change, and don’t be afraid to make the big move, because it will be all right in the end,” she said.
3 Tips for a Professional Move
For college graduates making a similar jump to a new state and looking for professional moving help, A.J. Schneider, executive vice president of Wheaton World Wide Moving, offers these three pieces of wisdom.
1. Make a Plan.
“When these folks graduate from school and are moving, they’re sliding right into the [moving] industry’s busiest time, which runs from mid-April through September,” Schneider said.”By doing some planning, you’ll have a better chance of finding a moving service for your preferred dates.”
2. Be Flexible to Save Money.
“Timing can absolutely make a difference in pricing,” Schneider said.Booking a move is a bit like shopping for airline tickets. Prices vary depending on demand. So if you don’t have a hard-and-fast deadline, shop around and ask the company for the cheapest dates available.
3. Seek an Accredited Mover.
While it’s tempting for jobless grads to go with the cheapest option, Schneider advises again it.“You’ve heard the horror stories: A moving company gives someone a lowball estimate, and before the company gives them the goods, the price goes up, and the stuff gets held hostage,”” Schneider said.
To avoid paying an arm and a leg or, worse, losing your stuff altogether, Schneider recommends looking for an accredited moving company on theAmerican Moving & Storage Association website or asking family and friends for referrals.