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Old 12-08-2015, 03:26 PM
2 posts, read 2,488 times
Reputation: 25


I am graduating from Iowa State this semester and have accepted a position as an "apprentice" at a print media corporation in Des Moines, starting January 11th. The apprenticeship is more like a glorified internship, and I will be working less than 40 hours a week. Since only current students are allowed to be apprentices, I will have to re-enroll as a "special student." This means that I will still have access to campus amenities like the library or the gym.

I currently live in an on-campus apartment, and I would be able to stay here if I want. I've lived with the same roommates for 2 and a half years and we get along great, and they (as well as my other friends, including my brother) will still be here next semester.

However, since I won't be taking classes here anymore, it's really not necessary for me to stay in Ames. It's about a 45-minute commute from my current apartment to my new workplace, and I'm not sure if I want to spend that much time driving each day. I am considering moving into a one-bedroom apartment by myself in Des Moines (I'm really not comfortable living with strangers).

I can't decide which is the better option here. On the one hand, I can live 5-10 minutes away from work and not spend 7.5 hours commuting each week. On the other hand, it's not like I have anything or anyone I need to be rushing home to, and I'm not sure how I fill my spare time (weekends, mostly) living on my own.

Does anyone have any advice for me? What would you do in my situation?
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Old 12-08-2015, 06:06 PM
Location: Iowa, USA
338 posts, read 200,679 times
Reputation: 413
It mainly depends on how much time you want to spend commuting, particularly in the winter (when conditions will occasionally - or often - make the trip longer, if not impossible). I personally would move. I'm not a fan of long commutes, and I've done that drive often enough. Housing is cheaper in Des Moines, but then you have to factor in joining a gym there, if that's what you want. (It has Planet Fitness though, which is cheap). How often will you want to go see those friends/family in Ames? Would you miss it there? Would you miss it/them more than you'd hate the commute?
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Old 12-08-2015, 06:22 PM
Location: Des Moines Metro
4,587 posts, read 4,519,571 times
Reputation: 7928
I would move. I-35 shuts down periodically in the winter. That commute will get old quickly.
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Old 12-09-2015, 08:26 AM
Location: MetroWest Boston
316 posts, read 223,765 times
Reputation: 402
In your situation, I would move to Des Moines. The commute wouldn't be delightful, although you would get used to it over time.

Des Moines is fun, and this internship may give you a chance to branch out and meet new people. This may take some time, but you'll also be able to drive back and visit friends at ISU when you'd like.

Lastly, you mentioned the university amenities as a reason for staying. However, the specific amenities you said were 'library' and 'gym'. Des Moines has multiple libraries, and the cost of a gym membership would be much cheaper than the cost of gas for that Ames - DSM daily commute.
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Old 12-09-2015, 10:23 AM
Location: Des Moines, Iowa
2,401 posts, read 3,309,175 times
Reputation: 1422
You have to do what makes sense for you, but I'd be inclined to move to DM in your situation.

You are early in your career and have a lot of opportunities to make a good impression with current or future employer. You never know when that opportunity comes . Do you want to be the reliable one that shows up and is available to get things done, or the one we have to always make special accommodation for because the weather means you had to arrive late/leave early/or didn't' make it in at all.

I also think you limit your opportunities to get involved, network, etc which can lead to more opportunities.

Also, think about how much more time you have to exercise, read, socialize, etc when you remove that commute out of your life.

It is one thing if some obligation keeps you in Ames. It doesn't sound like that is the case for you.
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Old 12-11-2015, 09:16 AM
Location: Des Moines
62 posts, read 47,501 times
Reputation: 66
I would recommend the move as well. 7.5 hrs of windshield time versus 50 minutes per week is a lot of wasted time. Winter weather can make that commute a bit treacherous at times, and much longer. Your talking roughly 300 miles of wear and tear on your car which is probably a tank and a half to two tanks of gas every week versus maybe half a tank if you live in Des Moines (that doesn't count all the other running around we tend to do with our cars).

And while you may not have anyone or anything you need to rush home to right now, that can change quickly in a young person's life, and you might soon have someone or something you want to rush home in order to spend time with. Whether it's a significant other, a pet, or a new hobby, be prepared for it to happen!
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Old 12-11-2015, 11:03 AM
2 posts, read 2,488 times
Reputation: 25
Thanks for the advice, everybody! I just wanted to let you know that I have decided to move to Des Moines. I'm in the process of looking for an apartment now, so if anyone has any recommendations for short-term housing (particularly safe, furnished, and pet-friendly) I'd love to hear them!

I'll miss my friends and campus and moving is a pain, but I'm really starting to get excited about this. It's a big step in my life and very different from anything I've ever done. Thanks again for your input, guys!
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Old 12-11-2015, 12:29 PM
Location: Des Moines Metro
4,587 posts, read 4,519,571 times
Reputation: 7928
Thank you for updating us. Also check with your housing office in Ames for leads. I know that it seems like a long shot, but a lot of people in Ames have relatives who rent rooms and houses in Des Moines (and vice-versa).

If you are a member of a church, check in Ames and Des Moines, as well. Again, people have relatives who sometimes rent stuff, but it's by word of mouth.
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