What It’s Like Living in Austin, Texas as a Recent Graduate


Artists roam the streets, bicyclists speed from job to job, and everyone is ready to welcome you upon arrival. Welcome to Austin, Texas, a city filled with artists, musicians, and every other type of person you can imagine. If you can survive the heat wave that will engulf you in the summer time, this might be the perfect city for you. Check out what it’s like living in Austin, Texas as a recent graduate as told by a real twentysomething.

Recent Graduate: Vanessa Pla

College/Major/Graduation Date: University of San Francisco / Film / December 2013

Current Gig: Established an independent film production company called Cosmic Reel Pictures and doing some odd jobs

Why did you make the move?

I moved here on a whim to follow my dreams as a filmmaker and to work for Richard Linklater (my favorite film director). Austin is straight out of an unpretentious fairy tale. I was hired on the spot as a summer intern and that was only the beginning. I now have worked on set as a PA for Linklater’s most recent film and even as an extra.


The best part about Austin is how friendly everyone is here. Perhaps I’m also a friendly person, but it was not hard to meet good people in this town. I’d say the next best thing is the raw music and talent that I’m surrounded by. My favorite bands right now are my friends. It’s great! One of the first things I did after moving to Austin was attend Psych Fest and I can say, with all of my heart, that I don’t think I’ll ever pay to go to any other festival again.

The beer scene is also amazing! Jester King Brewery rules and so does the The Whip In.

The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is also insane! They screen the best movies and serve you food and beer.

This is a great city to move to if you want to save money while following the unconventional path of an artist. I pay $400 a month for a decent apartment. Gas is dirt-cheap and it’s not hard finding a part-time job. Most likely your friends will be in the same boat as you. It’s a very inspiring city filled with people who do what they love and are walking proof that you can do it while paying the bills.

Oh, and the bike scene is great.

Photo by Vanessa Pla

Photo by Vanessa Pla


The only con that I can think of is the Austin traffic. Thank god this city is so small, otherwise it would be just as bad as LA traffic. Austin, or Texas in general, is also not a place for any winter snow bunnies. I’m a tropical gal so I enjoy the summer heat wave and this beautiful and light winter.

What should recent graduates know about living in Austin, Texas?

If there’s anything that the first few months here in Austin working for Linklater taught me, it’s this: Do it yourself! I’ve established an independent film production company called Cosmic Reel Pictures with my friend Federico Moreno. So far we’ve made three music videos for some up-and-coming bands in Austin. Also keep in mind that we’re all a bunch of weirdos but we have found our Babylon!

Check out some of Cosmic Reel Pictures here:

¿Qué Pasa? – “Kaleidoscope Jungle”


Want more information about what it’s like living in Austin, Texas as a recent graduate? Check out what one recent grad had to say about it here. And, if you still like what you hear, don’t forget to click the smiley “awesome” face next to the location in your Explore feed when you’re searching for jobs on AfterCollege.


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