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This is the 22nd in a weekly series profiling various aspects of life after college. All content is written by former Villanova students.

Around this time five years ago, I was sad not to be moving back onto campus with all my friends, but also thrilled to be starting the first of many new chapters of my life after graduating from Villanova.  I look back on those days of living on campus with more fondness and sentimentality than you can imagine.

But since those dream-like four years can only happen once in a lifetime, I can’t complain much about post-Villanova life in Manhattan.  There are more similarities than you may expect, living on campus at Villanova and living in the campus of a big city like New York.  You can enjoy many of the same pleasures, and there are lots more memories to be made.

For the first couple of years at Villanova, all your friends are right at your fingertips, mere steps or floors away.  South Campus and the Quad made that very easy, and even your long-distance friendships in Fedigan and O’Dwyer were still kept alive and well with a small amount of more effort.

Junior and senior year brought some more independence and the exodus off campus, but you’ve formed strong bonds by that point and maintaining those relationships isn’t a question.  Living in New York hasn’t proved to be all that different.  You have to hop on the subway to see your friends, or travel a bit across town after work to meet in the middle of your and your friend’s offices, but it’s easy enough to make it work.

Even the long-distance friends in Brooklyn and Hoboken are likely making it into Manhattan at some point, and it’s always nice to have an excuse to explore a new neighborhood and go somewhere you haven’t been before.

As a VSB graduate, the sudden absence of take-home assignments and late-night group meetings in the Exchange opened up a new regular chunk of time in my life in the evening hours.  Working at an advertising agency called for relatively the same amount of budgeting exercises in Excel, bulleted notes, PowerPoint decks and team meetings —okay, maybe a lot more meetings, and conference calls— but they were all maintained within certain hours of the day.  Most often the nights and weekends are all yours for play!

And the options for play have increased tenfold.  There’s only so many times you can go to KOP,  the movies, the Main Line bars and even Minella’s or Nudy’s when you’re feeling particularly adventurous. Yes, in New York the penny beer specials become $6 beer specials, but the number and variety of things to do is endless.

And soon you won’t need to call your parents for that routine Wildcard cash refill; you’ll have your own means to refill—a paycheck!  From restaurants and rooftops to museums and art galleries, from live music and movies in the park to speakeasies and sample sales, I assure you that you should never be sitting around with your roommates sipping a delicious Connelly Center smoothie and asking, “What should we do this weekend?”

I will admit, watching Villanova basketball on TV at game watches in Manhattan is not the same as being there in the Pavilion or the Wells Fargo Center.  No doubt about that.

But you do get to enjoy being part of the rowdy corner of a bar with Villanova alumni of all ages, yelling at the TV like you’re still in college and shooting dirty looks at any alumni from the opposing team who dared to come to a Villanova bar to watch their game.  And you can count down together with your fellow New York alumni to the week that Villanova comes to your home turf, Madison Square Garden, for the big dance.

So whether this was your first first week of school or your last first week of school, take the time to savor each moment because you only get to do this once.  But look towards the future with just as much eagerness and anticipation as Villanova move-in week.

I’ve made it to the other side, and can tell you that although they are different, there are still many exciting opportunities and adventures awaiting you.

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