What It’s Like Living in LA as a Recent Graduate


Take a deep breath and empty your mind. Release whatever ideas you have, and begin again with a clean slate. The purpose of this exercise is not to get you to achieve a state of Zen-like bliss (although that’s not a bad side effect), but to help you abandon all your preconceived ideas of what Los Angeles is all about. We caught up with recent grad Cindy Tang to learn what the city of angels has to offer—and some of it is probably not what you expect.

behind the hollywood sign

Recent graduate: Cindy Tang

College/major/graduation date: Occidental College/Film and Media Studies/2009

Current gig: Senior Account Executive & Social Strategist for Activision at Edelman

What brought you to LA?

I was actually born and raised in Los Angeles county, and then moved into the city proper at 17 for college. I worked in the entertainment industry for a couple years after graduation before my pursuit of a career in social media brought me to San Francisco. In a cyclical and recent turn of events, an opportunity in the social media field has lured me back.

What do you think the pros and cons are of living in this city?


The diversity—everything from people to food to lifestyle. This is a city where in one night, you can stuff your face with Korean BBQ so authentic that English menus are nonexistent, grab a swank cocktail in the DTLA’s first historic power plant, and then watch a $5 comedy show where Aziz Ansari jumps on stage to try out new material. Of course the weather isn’t bad either. Los Angeles is a spectrum of options. People who hate LA aren’t doing it right.

la after the rain


The obvious. LA isn’t as expensive as New York or San Francisco, but it ain’t cheap. Every other stranger you’ll meet is an aspiring actor/model/musician/writer/comedian. Public transportation is a festering black hole of frustration. Traffic is only marginally better, but hey, just think of driving as a means to catch up on episodes of Serial.

What should a recent graduate/twentysomething know about living in your city?

  • Live in the neighborhood where you work and cultivate a life there. I love Eagle Rock and Los Feliz but there was no way in hell I was going to live on the east side while working on Miracle Mile.
  • You need a car. And with that car, you need to download the Waze app.
  • Get rid of all preconceived notions about Los Angeles. If you come here with Hollywood on your mind, you’re going to be brutally disappointed.
  • Open your mind, open your mouth (seriously, there’s some mind-blowing food in this city), and just go with the flow.

korean barbecue


All photos courtesy of Cindy Tang


One Response to “What It’s Like Living in LA as a Recent Graduate”

  1. Erika Reid

    I am going to move to LA soon and I am so excited. I am not going to become an actress instead I found a job in a local magazine, so I am going to be a journalist and a writer. Thank you a lot for the interesting article! I hope that I am going to find my way here!


Tell us what you think: