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Old 01-31-2014, 10:41 AM
 
Location: Madison, WI
141 posts, read 351,686 times
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Hi all,

My boyfriend and I are seriously considering moving to Madison. We are currently living in Roanoke, Virginia. I'm originally from further southwest in Virginia and he's from the U.P. of Michigan. We've both lived in several places in the country while pursuing work and education. We recently got back from a trip to visit his family in the U.P. While there, it was clear that he would benefit from closer proximity to his family, whereas I've discovered that life factors prevent me from seeing my family more than a few times a year, regardless of my proximity to them.

Roanoke has been good to both of us, and I still think of it as a good place, but both of us have stagnated here, with dwindling social and professional opportunities. I've decided to pursue another career after becoming frustrated and burned out as a social worker. He's not happy in his field and has several ideas for new career paths. He is especially interested in starting or joining a worker's cooperative. We both feel driven to engage with social issues. He's interested in changes in work life that are needed and/or already happening. I share that interest and also am interested in environmental issues.

Ever since we started looking at Madison as a relocation option, we've found more and more to recommend it. Not only is it the closer of the two cities we initially considered (the other being Minneapolis) to his family, but I'm really excited about the quality of education at UW in environmental studies and he's excited about the strong interest in worker's cooperatives in the city. We visited on our way back to Virginia two weeks ago and were bowled over by the vibrant energy and glut of things to do.

We've all but found a giant flashing sign saying, "You should go here!" But I am wary after years of relocations of falling too much in love with the novelty of a new place. I don't have too many concerns about Madison, but wanted to share about ourselves and our questions to see what some of you think, and if any of you would suggest Minneapolis over Madison, or another possibility altogether.

My biggest concerns about relocating to Madison are the cost of living, our ages, and prospects for career development. I've seen that the biggest negative that comes up for people about Madison is the harsh winters. I'm not as concerned about that, as when visiting the U.P. and Madison in January, I was surprised how engaged and stimulated I was by the cold, the snow, and the feeling of a deeper winter than I've known in Virginia. I'm aware that this is likely due to novelty, and wonder if I should be a bit more concerned, as I do have a tendency toward depression, though it's lessened over time.

Another concern I came across was some people feeling Madison is too small. This is actually a plus for us. Neither of us is particularly fond of super-urban environments. We both are drawn to the quiet simplicity of rural life yet know we couldn't stand to live somewhere too rural, as we crave intellectual and cultural stimulation, and involvement with progressive causes you rarely find in rural communities. One thing we liked about Roanoke was that it was relatively quiet and small, while still having enough culture to have things we like to do. However, it has proven to be a bit too culturally limited here for us. As Buddhists, we've also grown fatigued with the constant battle to find social acceptance in a place where not being Christian can cause you social and professional problems if you don't stay somewhat "closeted."

I am in my early thirties and my boyfriend is approaching 40. One worry that I do have is how it will feel to move somewhere that has such a significant college population. I like the energy and innovation a strong college population brings. However, I worry about feeling alienated, or choosing the wrong part of the city to live in. What are your thoughts and recommendations for a middle aged couple considering a move to Madison? I'm not as concerned about connecting with people our age in general, as we've both already found a ton of community organizations we're interested in joining, including Buddhist groups, the Unitarian church (at least I'm interested in that one), workers' cooperative groups, support for returning / adult students at UW, etc. Plus he will likely visit family and friends in the U.P. fairly often. But I know even if I make friends I might feel weird if every time I went out to eat or to a cultural event I felt like the oldest person in the room.

Probably the most significant concern I have is the cost of living and how good a place Madison would be for two people looking for a career change. Right now, we're both in fields where you can find jobs just about anywhere. But I really want to get out of social work and he really wants to get out of his field too. I want to make a transition into an environmental field but am aware I face heavy competition in Madison if I want to stay and work in the city. And I don't like the prospect of making a massive effort to build a life in a new place and then have to move again to keep my career going. I'm concerned to see that salaries, at least for social workers, are similar in Madison to what they are here, while the cost of living is significantly higher. That isn't so much a specific concern as I want to get out of the field, but I do have a fear that our dreams of making changes that Madison would otherwise support might be crushed by the economic burden of living there, especially if we struggle to find work in a competitive, highly educated city.

Finally, I was disappointed to read about the environmental and pollution issues with the lakes. Part of the magic of the place is the calm and beauty the expanses of water provide. It is sad to think in summer, when one would want to enjoy the lakes, one might actually find oneself trying to avoid the lakes due to health and aesthetic concerns. How bad is the smell? Is it oppressive throughout the city or just something you notice on the lakes? Are they doing anything to actively address these issues?

Any advice or feedback is greatly appreciated. I apologize for the long post, brevity has never been my strong suit.

Stephanie
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Old 01-31-2014, 11:16 AM
 
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You ask a lot of good questions, and it is clear that you are taking great care in considering your options - good for you! I don't have time at this moment to answer in as much detail as I'd like to, but I will note a couple of points that I'd see as things you'll want to do more research on and carefully consider.

The cost of living here is significantly higher than is typical for most similarly sized cities in the Midwest. A middling-decent (not luxurious) one-bedroom apartment in a decent neighborhood will set you back $900 per month, and you could easily drop hundreds more than that if you have discriminating tastes.

The job market here is good, but only in certain areas and at certain levels. You can find retail and food service jobs easily, but it can be really tough to break into the upper levels of many careers as a newcomer to the city. It's a little easier if you work your way up after moving here, and since you mention that you'd both be exploring career changes, that could work in your favor, but you'd be foolish to expect to walk into a mid-to-upper level position from the start. Having a highly educated and literate populace is a two-edged sword; you definitely meet a lot of interesting and knowledgeable people here, but it means you've got a whole lot of well-educated competitors out there for the higher-level jobs.

And while the job market in general is good, pay rates do not always keep up with the cost of living in Dane County. Those retail and food service jobs may pay better than they do in some parts of the country, but probably not enough to cover that $900/month one-bedroom apartment.

The other comment I'll make is that either here or in Minneapolis, you are likely to encounter the "Midwestern Nice" phenomenon. Essentially, this is a level of reserve that many/most midwesterners seem to have, particularly when interacting with newcomers to the area. They'll smile, exchange hellos, maybe even wave at you when they drive by, but it can be really hard to make a deeper or more significant connection. It can be overcome, and it sounds like your interests are likely to lead you in good directions to make friends, but it's not easy, and it can be frustrating.

There's more that I want to add, but it'll need to wait for now. Will be back later, and good luck in your search.
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Old 02-01-2014, 10:03 AM
 
Location: Madison, WI
141 posts, read 351,686 times
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MBW - Thanks so much for your reply! I've noticed your posts on this forum and appreciate your experience and insight, I'm glad you responded. I'm eager to hear what you have to say about the lake pollution and the impact of the large college population.

I am not concerned about "Midwestern Nice" and think I might actually prefer it. One of the things I liked about the New York metro area was how blunt and direct people are. I think "Southern Charm" is overrated. It's a false front, and I hate not knowing where I stand with people because it's socially normative to be friendly to everyone, no matter what you really think of them.

I don't think there's any place where it's easy to make long-term friends when you're in middle adulthood. The problem we've run into here is the degree to which we're alienated from the larger cultural gestalt. The organizations I've gotten involved in are so small that you stop meeting many, if any, new people, after the first few months of being in them. The Zen group I sit with here consists of about 6 regular participants, the same I've sat with the entire three years I've been here. I'm hopeful that it will help to be somewhere there are more and larger spiritual and cultural organizations where I can meet new people and build off of networks over time. I also look forward to hopefully not having to feel "closeted" or alienated from the norm.

I am THRILLED at the prospect of living among a "highly educated and literate" populace. One thing I'm definitely burned out on living in the South is the still ever-present anti-intellectualism of the culture, even in a relatively progressive place like Roanoke. I feel like I have to fake it and hide some of the better parts of myself not to come across as uppity, snooty, etc. And this is from someone who has deep personal and family roots here. In this sense it doesn't matter whether you're a local or a transplant. I've always felt more at home in places that are more liberal and progressive, like I can breathe out, talk about what I'm actually interested in, and stop hiding.

I noticed the discrepancy between pay rates and cost of living. It's a bummer, but not a deal-breaker. I've had to pay over 50% of my income in rent before, and I've made it work. It helps that my boyfriend and I will each have an income. We would like at least a two-bedroom, and browsing on Craigslist, I've already seen some things that would work for us. We both definitely want to live downtown, even if it means higher rent. Part of the appeal of moving to a larger city with more going on is the prospect of walking out the front door and being only a few minutes' walk from things to do. I have read elsewhere that the Willy Street area is recommended for couples who are past college age?

My boyfriend and I were talking last night and he made the point that taxes and rent are probably higher in Madison at least partly because UW is a significant presence in the city and is not taxed. I was hoping a more progressive city in union-friendly country would mean better conditions for middle and working class employees, and was sad to see it's not the case. Social workers get screwed everywhere, it seems, and it's shocking what salaries are offered for jobs that require a master's degree. But it's not just about social work, it permeates our working culture. I am amazed how many people I meet who don't like what they do and on top of that, either barely make ends meet, or are in the red and in debt, who feel like they have no options. My boyfriend and I are both passionate in our belief that the working culture in America needs to change, hence his interest in workers' cooperatives.

Anyway... Something I have to realize over and over is that I can't control life, or the future. The more research I do, and the more I think about it, the clearer it becomes that Madison is a great place for us to make the changes we want to make in our lives right now, to go back to school, to gain skills and knowledge to take us in different directions. But whether or not we can take what we learn and start to build and make it work over the long term in Madison is something we can't know in advance. I truly am tired of moving, and hope we can make it there and put down roots, but also realize that I may never stop being a "nomad"!
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Old 02-01-2014, 11:53 AM
 
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Ok, having finished shoveling our driveway (and our out-of-town neighbor's driveway while we were at it), I'm sitting down to catch my breath and stop back by this conversation again.

So, on to some of your other questions. The lakes in Madison do indeed have some problems, primarily in the form of phosphorus from fertilizer and pesticide runoff both from urban landscaping and from farmland in the surrounding area. This leads to algae blooms, which can indeed make for stinky lakes during the summer. The smell does not permeate the entire city by any means, but there are areas where if you are within a few blocks of the shoreline during the hot months, you'll definitely catch a whiff of lake. You can read a bit more about it here: Madison & Dane County Beaches - Water Quality - Public Health - Madison & Dane County - City of Madison, Wisconsin.

Unfortunately, funding for combating lake pollution is one of the many areas that have taken a hit in recent budgets, and I suspect the best we can say at this point is that hopefully the lakes are maintaining status quo and not getting any worse. The Great Recession did not hit Madison nearly as hard as it did some other parts of the country, but we've still seen its impact in many ways, of which this is certainly one. You will unquestionably find passionate environmentalists here who do all they can to raise awareness and enlist help in limiting the use of pesticides and fertilizers, but they don't get as much funding as they need to be truly effective.

Next, your concerns about the college population and its impact on the city as a whole. The answer to that question is that it entirely depends on what part of the city you are talking about. If you settle in one of the outlying areas on the far southwest side or on the east side way over by the interstate, you could live an entire lifetime without having any interaction or impact from the student population. Or, on the other hand, if you choose to live on Langdon Street or West Gorham or Henry Street or Gilman Street or Frances Street, you will be in a nearly 100%-student area, with all the various challenges that brings.

I think for the vast majority of the city, though, the university brings a vibrancy and a freshness that can be hard to find in non-university communities. The presence of world-class research professors, top-notch music and drama productions, plus a regular influx of people from across the country and around the world, all combine to bring what I consider a tremendous benefit to the city. Certainly there are people who disagree with that assessment, and you may be among them, but I find the university to be more of a plus than a minus.

The other comment that I'd make about the university is that there is not nearly as much of a "Town vs. Gown" animosity here as is the case in some university towns. A pretty fair number of Madisonians are UW alumni themselves, and even the ones who aren't still take a lot of pride in the hometown school.

The Willy Street area is definitely a place where older-than-college-age folks like to live and hang out, and based on your description of yourself and your interests, you'd probably find it very compatible with your interests. Just a heads-up, though, you are in excellent company in that regard; it's a very, very popular area to live in, and rents are among the highest you'll find in Madison.

I suspect you may find it easier to join like-minded groups of people in Madison than may have been the case in other cities. There are huge numbers of organizations and volunteer groups in all sorts of different areas of interest; whether you are interested in organic gardening, urban bee-keeping, beer-brewing, feminist science fiction, green living, pottery, meditation, literacy, or dozens of other areas, you can find a group here where you'll fit in. If anything, it can be an embarrassment of riches, though that's certainly a nice problem to have.

I do want to comment - in a very general way - about your interest in working conditions, workers' cooperatives, and unions. I will start with one caveat, however, and that is that this forum is not the place for political commentary or debates. I am going to try to keep my comments very objective and factual, and I would like to ask others who comment here to do likewise. If you wish to actually debate the merits or otherwise of unions or various politicians or political parties, the place for that conversation is here: //www.city-data.com/forum/polit...controversies/. Political commentary in this forum will be deleted as off-topic and inappropriate for a relocation forum.

With that as a preamble, here are some data points that you will want to be aware of in your decision-making process. Both Madison and Wisconsin have a long-standing reputation as being progressive and worker-friendly, going back to the early days of the twentieth century. Wisconsin was the first state to enact Workers Compensation statutes, and the state's labor agency has a long history of advocating for workers.

In recent years, there has been something of a shift in this trend. The elected officials currently in office appear to have somewhat different priorities in the legislation they propose and enact. Businesses are more likely to get assistance than might have been the case in the past. Unions are not as welcome as once was the case. If you Google "Wisconsin Act 10," you will find a wealth of information, both pro and con, on the issue. That is all I will say on the subject.

In any case, I hope that addresses a few more of your questions. Do feel free to keep asking, of course, and good luck to you as you work through the steps to reach your decision.
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Old 02-01-2014, 12:20 PM
 
Location: Madison, WI
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First, Madison is very accepting of various life styles and the alternative is really the majority here. Buddhism would not phase anyone, in fact I believe there is a fairly active Buddhist community here, although I only know one Buddhist and I'm not sure how strictly he practices the faith. When the Dali Lama came to speak I was actually a little surprised how many Buddhists there were. I was only identifying the people who dressed in robes, there were probably even more who were wearing regular street clothes. I do realize that, like me, there were a number of people who are not Buddhist, but were interested in hearing him speak.

There is a lot of things to do here, especially with the interests you've described. I would not worry about being in your 30's (which isn't middle age in my opinion :> ). There is a whole city of permanent residents outside the university who come from all age groups. I'm 46 (much closer to or even in the middle age years ) and I feel perfectly comfortable here.

UW-Madison is indeed a wonderful school. I went here for 3 years for my undergrad, finishing at another campus because I switched majors my junior year and it was easier to get out in a reasonable time frame somewhere else. I also got my Masters here. I've heard good things about the environmental studies program.

Ever since we started looking at Madison as a relocation option, we've found more and more to recommend it. Not only is it the closer of the two cities we initially considered (the other being Minneapolis) to his family, but I'm really excited about the quality of education at UW in environmental studies and he's excited about the strong interest in worker's cooperatives in the city. We visited on our way back to Virginia two weeks ago and were bowled over by the vibrant energy and glut of things to do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NomadStephanie View Post
We've all but found a giant flashing sign saying, "You should go here!" But I am wary after years of relocations of falling too much in love with the novelty of a new place. I don't have too many concerns about Madison, but wanted to share about ourselves and our questions to see what some of you think, and if any of you would suggest Minneapolis over Madison, or another possibility altogether.
Madison is a wonderful place, the only place I would live in the Midwest and is perfect for me (other than the weather - see below), but it is not perfect. Most people are wonderful, but there is some pseudo intellectualism and people who claim to be more "liberal" than they really are. Most are very accepting of other's lifestyle choices, but some people are militant. I had one friend who compared people who eat meat to child abusers in terms of their morality. That is too over the top for me. For the record, I am no longer a vegetarian, but I do my best to know where my meat comes from (locally) and how it is raised and butchered. She did decide our friendship was worth keeping after she found out I had changed my diet, but that was a really big concession on her part. There is a whole community of like-minded vegetarian/ vegans in Madison.

I already spoke to the financial aspect in another post so I'll move on to weather. It is crushing psychologically to a lot of people. I also have a history of depression and I honestly thought I was loosing my mind several years back, but then started taking 4000 mg of vitamin D a day. It did the trick, but some winters are worst than others. This one is getting particularly long with long stretches of sub-zero weather and a high percentage of days that are overcast. Minneapolis would be the same in that regard, however, the entire Midwest would be. If I move, it will be to some place like Seattle, assuming I can afford a house there (I have too many pets to rent).

Oh, one thing. While WI and Madison in particular have a long heritage of strong unions, the current Governor has pretty much broken the unions as most of them no longer have negotiation rights. Without collective bargaining the unions are pretty much lame ducks. Seniority means nothing now.

You will find the job market tough when you graduate. My suggestion would be to do exactly what it sounds like you are planning to do. Get involved in the communities/organizations you would want to ultimately work for. Volunteer to get your foot in the door and to network. Who you know is everything in Madison, especially in highly specialized fields.

The city is trying to work on the pollution in the lakes, but it is difficult because it is so hard to control yard weeds organically. I've also found that the organic yard care companies tend to not return calls. I don't know if they are so busy they can't or if they are just that disorganized. I found a yard care service that is in the middle of the road, doing as much as they can naturally, but pulling out the big guns when nothing else works. All that said, the lakes can stink in the summer, particularly August, but it doesn't permeate the whole city. The smell from Lake Monona can choke you, for instance, but only when you are very close to the lake itself.
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Old 02-01-2014, 02:06 PM
 
Location: Madison, WI
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Thank you so much, MBW. The information you are sharing is very valuable!

It is not my intent to stir up political brouhaha, so I will be careful. I believe quality of work life should be an issue of universal concern and ideally would not be so partisan, but I know some "buzzwords" trigger partisan political passion. I will carefully say, I hope that the future sees a return to and honoring of the worker-centered cultural history and values of which Madisonians should be rightly proud! Um, I'll stop now, I'll probably get myself in trouble if I say much more

I agree about the university culture. My boyfriend and I popped into the University Bookstore a day or two after current semester classes started, and I was hit by such a wave of nostalgia! I like the energy of college students and don't mind being around them at all. I just don't want to end up inadvertently alienating myself by choosing to live in a part of town where I felt like I was the only one not that age. Regardless of that, what I have missed most in Southwest Virginia is the intellectual ferment of other places where I've lived, and what you say about the university-informed culture of Madison sounds wonderful.

Megan - you are right about 30 being early for the "middle age" designation, I just wasn't sure how to describe my boyfriend and I both together in an age bracket. Perhaps "middle adulthood" works better. I think I think of myself as being in an older milieu than I would if I wasn't involved with him.

I am very impressed with UW. One of the major things that gives Madison an edge over Minneapolis is I like what I read about UW much better than what I read about UM, from the reputation of its quality of education in general to the specific ethos behind some of the programs.

I appreciate what you say about the social politics. I personally think it's crazy to "unfriend" someone because of what they do or don't eat. My personal thinking is that the basic bond we all share as human beings living in a difficult world overrides my pleasure or displeasure with someone's politics or personal choices. That said, I've been in uber-liberal environments before, and have had experiences of a similar type.

Even if I run into some social / political fallout in Madison because I'm not 'liberal enough,' I can't imagine it will be anything like the constant social tension and stress I face here in southwest Virginia, where my politics, beliefs, and interests are shared by so few, and where "outing" yourself as a non-Christian can have serious implications in social relationships and workplace politics.

I am sad to read about some of the changes and setbacks Madisonians are facing now. I hope things get better.

The Vitamin D is a good suggestion!
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Old 02-01-2014, 02:15 PM
 
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I can very much relate to your description of living in a community where it feels necessary to hide one's personal beliefs. I've had the same experience living in a different part of the country.

And somewhat on that topic, it occurred to me that I totally overlooked offering some links that you may find of interest.

Deer Park Buddhist Center

Buddhism Madison - Diamond Way Buddhist Center Madison

Home | Shambhala Center of Madison

http://madisonmeditation.org/
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Old 02-03-2014, 10:43 AM
 
Location: Verona, WI
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NomadStephanie View Post

Anyway... Something I have to realize over and over is that I can't control life, or the future.
I disagree to a point. Certainly unexpected events do happen, and you cannot completely plan for them. But the choices you make today directly impact what happens to you tomorrow. You are responsible for you, which is why you are researching new options to begin with. You speak of not being happy with working conditions of past employment, but what are you doing to change that? You also speak of getting another degree in Madison. It's awesome that you seek to do that with as little debt as possible, but if you would go the second degree route, I would encourage you to pick something that you not only love, but also has high economic value and gives you flexibility of places to work. If you still cannot find a workplace that fits your values well enough, starting your own business could be a very good option for you, whether that is in Madison or somewhere else. Getting a second degree may or may not be necessary for you.

Your previous choices have brought you this far, but what you choose during this next phase of your life will directly impact your future opportunities, so choose well. Don't fall into that "workplace system is rigged against me" fatalism crap. You're clearly intelligent and motivated, so leverage your skills, passions and connections, and go make it happen girl!

Moving to Madison will have its hurdles, but based on all of your comments, it's probably a pretty decent place for you. Denver proper or Boulder, CO may be other good options as well.
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Old 02-04-2014, 08:39 AM
 
Location: Madison, WI
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ragnar View Post
I disagree to a point. Certainly unexpected events do happen, and you cannot completely plan for them. But the choices you make today directly impact what happens to you tomorrow. You are responsible for you, which is why you are researching new options to begin with. You speak of not being happy with working conditions of past employment, but what are you doing to change that? You also speak of getting another degree in Madison. It's awesome that you seek to do that with as little debt as possible, but if you would go the second degree route, I would encourage you to pick something that you not only love, but also has high economic value and gives you flexibility of places to work. If you still cannot find a workplace that fits your values well enough, starting your own business could be a very good option for you, whether that is in Madison or somewhere else. Getting a second degree may or may not be necessary for you.

Your previous choices have brought you this far, but what you choose during this next phase of your life will directly impact your future opportunities, so choose well. Don't fall into that "workplace system is rigged against me" fatalism crap. You're clearly intelligent and motivated, so leverage your skills, passions and connections, and go make it happen girl!

Moving to Madison will have its hurdles, but based on all of your comments, it's probably a pretty decent place for you. Denver proper or Boulder, CO may be other good options as well.
Thanks, Ragnar.

That quote you referenced is not an expression of total fatalism by any means! Yes, of course I believe the choices I make impact my future. I don't feel like a completely helpless puppet of fate. I certainly believe good research and thinking can ward off some potentially poor or limiting choices. What I mean is that the complexity of human life and society means numerous variables are always changing, and we can only anticipate to a limited extent which ones are going to change, and how.

I thought Roanoke would be the place I'd settle down, but at the time I was thinking that, I did not know I would reach a dead end in social work and want to change careers. I did not know my boyfriend and I would be together and how that relationship would change me and my perspective on life. I did not know how my emotional, spiritual, psychological, etc. development as a person would progress.

My research on Madison shows that living there could lead to amazing career development, or be a place I have to struggle to find work and ultimately need to leave. I have amassed enough evidence to support that it's a fertile and supportive place for our interests, but also that it has its challenges, as you point out. Whether or not after a year or two there, things will have not changed enough that I will proceed into one of the programs I've researched; whether, in one of those programs, I'd get connected through good internships/networking and find a job locally; how my relationship with my boyfriend will be affected by the change; and so many other factors are out of my ability to fully predict or control.

I respect entrepreneurship and do believe that it is a path to success, autonomy, and satisfaction for the right person. My boyfriend has pushed me to consider that path. But I keep coming back to--the reason I'm wanting to change careers/work at all is because I want to enjoy what I do every day. The tasks that go into operating a business--however small--are not things I particularly enjoy. I have every confidence I'm on the right path in discovering what moves me most. Environmental concern and love of the natural world have always been strong in my life, and I believe I would be fulfilled doing work that incorporated that. I love education and don't see getting a second degree, especially in an area I'm interested in, as a necessary evil, but a wonderful opportunity. I've done research and have found numerous educational paths I could take that would leave me with minimal or no debt. All that said, I have other interests, too. I enjoy writing and am going to experiment with freelance writing--and who knows where that will (or won't) lead.

I certainly have considered the Denver/Boulder area! My best friend lived there a while, I visited her and loved it there. The main thing going against it is my strong desire for either my boyfriend or I to be close to family. I saw how positive and strong his bonds with family and old friends were and believe closer proximity to them will help him flourish. And his flourishing is important to my own life satisfaction.

We've all but decided on Madison at this point. I GREATLY appreciate all of the feedback, information, suggestions, and encouragement we've received here and elsewhere. I now am fully aware of the potential challenges we face and believe we have what it takes to meet those challenges. I think one thing that will help is that at least one, and ideally both, of us, will need to have jobs lined up BEFORE we go. This will assure us we know what our income is and inform decisions about where we choose to live/rent.
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Old 02-04-2014, 09:09 AM
 
Location: RI, MA, VT, WI, IL, CA, IN (that one sucked), KY
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I moved from New England to Madison after undergrad (without a job) specifically because of the strong number of environmental agencies, the DNR, and the good ecology related programs at UW. It was a good fit for me.

I understand things are more expensive now there, and I moved there at 23, so things were culturally different, but I loved it there. Ended up at UW for grad school and paid in state tuition at that point so it was a win win.

Honestly, I wish I never left Madison.
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