I Moved to NYC!



I have wanted to live in New York City ever since I first learned about it. At some point in my life I wrote down my “bucket list,” a list of things I wanted to do before I died, and there were two items that were at the top of the list: “become an architect” and “make it in New York City.” I couldn’t bring myself to put one above the other, so they were both tied for the #1 spot on the list. When I graduated just outside of Atlanta, GA with a BArch degree in 2014, I didn’t land a job in NYC despite networking the best I could and walking my resume into a dozen offices. The recession was almost over but it wasn’t obvious yet. No one I talked to was willing to take a risk on hiring a recent graduate with no office experience fresh out of school from another city 900 miles away.

Everyone told me to go back to Atlanta and work there for a few years and then I’d be ready to move to New York (advice I never accepted, but somehow…)

I ended up working in Atlanta for a little over 4 years telling myself that I was on the verge of moving to New York. I was working at an award-winning architecture firm, and I felt like I had so much to learn before moving on. I also felt like I had to get my architecture license to even afford to live in NYC. So I started focusing seriously on the ARE exams in Fall of 2016 and finished my exams and my AXP hours by summer of 2018, and then I set my sights on NYC. Just a few months later I found a great fit and got an offer!

After enjoying 4 years in Atlanta at Robert M. Cain, Architect, working on award-winning single family residential projects, I moved to New York City and started at Meridian Design Associates to work on corporate interior fit-outs specializing in media companies like NBC, Discovery Network, CNN, and CBS.

As I grew up talking about New York, it was rare that anyone supported my decision. Most people tried telling me “you don’t want to live in some big city like New York or Atlanta. They all say that and they all come back, you’ll see.” In freshmen year of college though, I realized that they were wrong, and I lost all respect for what other people tell me I am supposed to want.

I never needed anyone to agree with me to validate my decision to move to NYC. But these people apparently wanted me to validate their decision to live in a small town lol.

Don’t look to other people to tell you what you are supposed to want or what you should do. A lot of people ask me if they should major in architecture, or where they should go to school, or what they should do their thesis project on, and I never answer those questions. Because those are the types of question that you have to answer for yourself.

Absolutely listen to mentors for tactical advice on how to achieve your goals in life, but YOU decide what those goals are.

I am happy to offer my perspective on things as well as any information I might have. But I’m not telling you what to do with your life because when people tell ME what to do with MY life, I never listen 🙂 and you shouldn’t either.

Drew Paul Bell (of http://www.DrewPaulBell.com)

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