So college is coming to an end and you’ve been dreaming of life in a new city for the last four years. Or maybe you never planned on leaving your hometown, but you’ve landed a job on the other side of the country that you just can’t pass up. For me, it was a chance to live in a city I’d fallen in love with once during a high school trip.

However it came to be though, the fact is: you’re moving to a new city.

Throughout the exciting process of finding a place to live, going to job interviews, and selecting roommates, you’ll probably be so busy that you forget to actually experience your new hometown. But once the moving dust settles and you say your goodbyes to friends and family back home, you may realize that you’re truly on your own now. It’s scary for sure, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming.

Here’s three ways I made the transition from my Ohio hometown to Boston’s big city lifestyle.

1. Explore! Set aside some days to just wander around. Be a tourist in your own city. It may feel a little uncomfortable at first, but it’s okay to take yourself to lunch, see a local theatre performance, or just ride around on public transit to get used to the routes. After I moved, I was looking for a place to work remotely since much of my new job was online. During my initial days of exploration, I told myself that I’d only venture into coffee shops that were local to the area. This gave me the excuse to step outside my comfort zone of familiar chain stores from back home. Otherwise, I would have missed out on local flavor! This is also a great way to meet other young professionals in your area.

2. Use websites like Meetup to find groups of people with interests and hobbies similar to yours. I shamelessly Googled “How to make friends in Boston” after I moved. The internet is full of sites dedicated to bringing together people with similar interests!

3. Find the familiar! Whatever city you end up in, you’ll always be able to find little things that make you feel at home. Maybe you used to go to open mics, poetry slams, or salsa dancing with your friends in college. Find those things again in your new city! If you played a sport, join a community team or just bring your soccer ball or Frisbee to a park and pick up a game with people there. Your university’s alumni group is also a great resource. They often host events for local alumni to get together and watch a game, explore the town, or just talk about their college experience.

Don’t be afraid to try new things! Remember, this is a period of exploration. Be gentle with yourself. You don’t have to have it all figured out right now. You’re a courageous explorer. You got this.

Elizabeth ColyleElizabeth Coyle is a recent graduate who is still finding her way through the real world and trying to enjoy every minute of it. Check out her blog shywritercentral where she writes about life, writing, and her gentle explorations.