Deciding to attend the Wisconsin School of Business was an obvious choice for me, but I’m often asked, “How did you end up here?” Los Angeles-born and raised, I’ve spent the majority of my life in coastal cities, having lived in Boston, San Francisco, and spending six years in New York City before enrolling at UW-Madison. While this town of 250,000 is tiny when compared to the 8 million residents that call New York home, UW’s prestigious James A. Graaskamp Center for Real Estate had enough appeal to get me, my partner, and our dog, to move away from the big city.
There were some adjustments to be made, obviously, but the shift was not as dramatic as I imagined. To begin with, we get more land for our buck! But that was expected. I must say that the transition has been easier because Madison is a wonderful city. There are plenty of restaurants, bars, performing arts centers, and movie theaters to keep me entertained. The food is great, with many restaurants featuring local and regional ingredients. Madison is not devoid of culture by any means, and has provided many ways to pass the time. While a big city view is lacking, the isthmus between Lake Monona and Lake Mendota makes for a beautiful view of nature. If you get the chance to visit in the summer before classes begin, you’ll find plenty of ways to enjoy the city.
Though not a requirement for anyone living in Madison, the biggest change that took some getting used to was having a car. Madison is small enough that living close to campus has its benefits of also being close to the Capitol Square, and all of its social establishments. Even those outside of the area can benefit from an efficient bus system that is great to get around town. But while my walk to campus is only 12 minutes, we decided to get a car to have greater personal convenience of getting around. We now drive to Target, get groceries, and check out restaurants in neighboring cities. A car makes it easier to escape from town, and sometimes, after midterms and exams, you want to get away for the weekend without having to board a flight.
Finally, while being away from friends, family, and all the distractions a big city can offer, moving to Madison provides an opportunity to focus on school. While it is technically true that I cannot walk outside my apartment and satisfy my falafel craving from a street vendor at 3am, the reality is I should be asleep at that hour to ensure I am ready to participate for my 8am class! It’s the silly little things like that which I miss the most, but I enrolled in an MBA program to gain the skills to become a business leader. I must admit, however, once classes end for the week, it does feel great to get together with classmates and celebrate another week completed in this two year journey.