NYC Survival Kit

Text by Annie Evans, Ball State University ’16.

After many weeks of living in New York City, I have found a few items to be particularly helpful for you to survive and even flourish in the city!

From "A Christmas Story"
From “A Christmas Story”
  • Lots of Fluffy, Warm Things for the Winter Months!

Jackets, beanies, scarves, gloves. If you’re here during the winter, these will be necessary. Make sure it’s waterproof, or you can end up a wet, soggy mess two minutes away from catching the flu. It may be another 8 hours before you will be back home, and you don’t want to be wet the whole time.

  • An Extra Phone Battery

One thing I have noticed is how quickly a phone battery runs out when you use Google Maps to find the new art studio or when you Yelp a nearby restaurant to have a networking meeting. Many busy New Yorkers carry around an additional rechargeable battery. As Connor Wheaton mentioned in his feature interview, “[M]y biggest advice I’d give for anyone coming here: always have your phone with you, and be willing to look up emails right away.”

  • Multi-Vitamins and Hand Sanitizer

In case you didn’t know, scientists have found new microbes on the subway. As people come in contact with each other more in this town than maybe anywhere else in the world, it’s up to you to keep your immune system as sturdy as a fortress.

hydro-flask nyarts
Credit to
  • A Thermos

New York winters can get you down, and the price of hot beverages can add up.

I use a Hydro Flask my brother sent me in a care package. It’s insulated, so it can keep my hot drinks hot for up to 12 hours.

  • A Reliable Alarm Clock

Time is money, and if you want to be professional you must show up on time!

  • A Good Pair of Walking Shoes or Arch Supports

Ready to pound the pavement in the Big Apple? Strap on some good shoes. I know my arch supports have saved me as I have been walking all over the city.

  • A Library Card

You heard me! You have the New York Public Library at your fingertips, and you’re not going to use it?!

  • A Routine

In the madness of the city, humans need something that stays the same daily, some structure and continuity. Many successful people have routines, so why don’t you?

  • A Journal/Diary/Place to Put Your Thoughts

As part of NYAP, each student keeps a journal regarding what we have learned and any observations we have on living in the city or the requirements of our work. This requirement has proved especially helpful, since some discoveries take time to fully understand, and writing it all down can help one decompress.

  • A Safe Space

There should be some place in the city where you can be yourself, kick your shoes off (literally or figuratively), and exhale. Maybe it’s a gym or yoga studio, or it could just be your room.

  • A Sense of Humor

When the train stops in the middle of the dark subway. When you realize you have more on your plate than you planned. When your bag of groceries breaks while you are still 5 blocks from your residence. Those are the moments a sense of humor and some perspective can help you survive.

  • Guilt-Free Downtime

In the “city that never sleeps,” you still need to rest or you will experience burnout and then crash. To sustain this lifestyle give yourself some time, even if it’s just five minutes a day, without feeling bad for it. This downtime will help you recharge to face another crazy day!

  • A Support System

The unique opportunity NYAP provides is the opportunity to live with other students who are in the exact same boat. It has been such a blessing to have other students from the same area who can relate to this experience. I have also been personally grateful for phone calls to parents, texts from my siblings, and funny pictures from my friends back home!


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