Navigating a New Town

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For the past two years, I have attended community college in the town I grew up in. I have used the same bank, the same car service, and the same doctors that I have used since I was a kid. This fall, though, I’m going to be transferring to a school out-of-state. I’m going to be in a whole new town! What are some tips for finding new services – especially such important ones? I’m especially worried about finding new doctors.

When it comes to locating new services, especially ones as important as medical and financial providers, the most traditional resource is word of mouth. As you get acquainted with your new professors and classmates, as the ones you trust most to make recommendations for you. This will help reduce the overwhelming number of services you’ll find online or in the yellow pages.

Of course, using the internet is becoming the popular way to go. Even if you get a recommendation from someone you know, you should probably follow up to learn about the ratings, expertise, and other reviews of that service. You can easily do this by doing a Google search or using a review service such as Yelp or Angie’s List.

If you want to go even deeper than client reviews, you can go to the service websites themselves. The most respected specialist clinics and services recommend looking at the company website for patient testimonials and specific examples of their successes. The doctors we spoke with also stressed the importance of communicating with their patients how they ensure quality, safety, and customer service for their patients. Qualified physicians will also often include their certifications and accolades on their websites, to show that they have been recommended by professional groups as well as local citizens.

If you want to find services geographically close to where you will be living or your campus, you can use the yellow pages in a local phone book to research addresses, or you can use a feature such as Google Maps and simply type in “banks near me.” Of course, with a service such as a doctor, you might really want to get specific and be willing to make a longer trip!

As you transition to a new town, especially if you think you might be moving around a lot, it might be worth it to get a bank account and establish an account with a larger bank and pharmacy. This way, your finances and prescriptions and other such needs will be easily accessible to you wherever you go. Of course, if you think you will plan to move somewhere permanently, it’s always a good choice to help out the local economy by using a locally-owned service – again, ask around! Professors and neighbors who have lived in the area for a long time will have a wealth of knowledge about this sort of thing.

Be sure to start establishing yourself with these places now. You might go ahead and open a new bank account, and you should set up an appointment with a doctor; specialist appointments and even routine checkups can take on average 24 days to schedule.

“She took a step and didn’t want to take any more, but she did.” ― Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

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