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Old 02-28-2009, 10:54 AM
2 posts, read 3,744 times
Reputation: 10


So I am finally packing up and leaving this miserable state. The sun never shines here, it's freezing 3/4 of the year, and it's typical conservative midwest. I've lived here my whole life, I'm almost 20 now and it's been almost 20 years too long! Time for a change.

I would be moving to SF with my boyfriend to attend the California College of the Arts. From what I understand there are two campuses so I may need to get back and forth from SF to Oakland, but it looks like there are school shuttles for that.

Other than that I know NOTHING and I need some help! Like I said I've lived in the midwest my whole life and I am used to what is normal here - you drive everywhere, if you live somewhere where there are "things to do" within walking distance you're lucky, but you still have to drive to the bank, grocery shopping, etc. Do people REALLY walk everywhere in SF? Because that would be awesome, I hate driving. I'm just wondering how much a car is really needed - especially when you're just starting out, looking for jobs, looking for apartments, etc. Right now my plan was to fit everything we could into my car and just drive it even though it's like a 3 day drive - I have 2 rabbits but other than our clothes and a few important posessions we don't have much that wouldn't be sold before we left. So, car important or no? Can I literally walk everywhere I would need to go? I'm sure part of it depends on where you are actually living, it's a big city - but I need to be close to campus too. Or maybe, not close to campus and then I DO need my car to commute. Hmmmm.

Car was my main issue, work is my other one - how easy is it to get a job there and QUICK? I may or may not have an MIP and usage of marijuana on my record here soon, depending on how good of a job my laywer does (ugh!) and here that is just about a death sentence for getting a job, but you have to fight to work at McDonalds here - the economy is absolute terrible in MI right now. And I'm in a stupid cornfield city where the options are limited anyway. My boyfriend is in a worse situation - he has dreads, usage of marijuana on his record, and an open bottle violation (wasn't drunk - just had the bottle in the car and was taking it to a friends so I guess that means he was planning on drinking it while driving - silly silly laws....). I am HOPING from what I've heard that the dreads won't be an automatic no in SF like it is here, but you never know.

Student loans will help but it is so important that we both get jobs ASAP when we move there. I am just hoping it's not like it is here!

ANYTHING else you can tell me would be greatly appreciated - again, all I know is what I've grown up with, and that isn't much. Oh, and something about emissions tests with the car? Someone told me I might not even be able to use it there anyway? It's an old 98 Sunfire. Thanks for any help!
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Old 02-28-2009, 12:40 PM
516 posts, read 1,285,737 times
Reputation: 120
Yeah, emissions might be a problem since a car needs to be twenty years old in Cali to be exempt. You can keep your Mi plates for awhile at least though, so that's not your first priority.

So I too made the journey from Mi (I grew up in Royal Oak) to the West Coast when I was 20 years old. It was the best thing I ever did, seriously, but there is a real learning curve.

First off are you looking at housing prices here? You are going to be paying much more than anything in GR, even for a roommate situation. You need to have a chunk of $$ saved before you get here because student loans are not going to give you enough to actually move into a place. The crappy thing about student loans is that you get the same amount no matter where you live so they do not go as far in Cali as in Mi. Frustrating...almost starved me when I went to school in L.A. Are you looking at Craigslist to get an idea of what/where you want to live: craigslist: san francisco classifieds for jobs, apartments, personals, for sale, services, community, and events Public transportation is good in SanFran so if you plan to spend all your time there you don't need a car, and in fact not having one will help you find a place to live more easily (as you don't need a place with parking).

I would see if your school has any sort of connections for jobs that you can explore before you actually get here. If you even have something part-time lined up it will help you find a place to live, since without employment you're a rent liability. I don't thinkt hat dreads are going to be a big issue here, and the possession of mj shouldn't be either (Cali is trying to pass a bill legalizing weed right now so they can tax it. Cracks me up).
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Old 02-28-2009, 05:16 PM
2 posts, read 3,744 times
Reputation: 10
Thanks for the advice! Yup I've looked into housing, SO expensive so I know I'm going to have to find somewhere with roommates...I am wondering if I might just drive there and then try to sell the car, but again, I dunno about the emissions - I need to do some research on that.

I was hoping to at least have some interviews or something lined up before I move, but I know that might be an unrealistic expectation. I am saving up though and plan on doing as much as I can over the summer to save some money to start out. So what about public transportation from SF to Oakland or surrounding areas that I might end up living in? How expensive is it?

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Old 02-28-2009, 07:29 PM
516 posts, read 1,285,737 times
Reputation: 120
Check out these links:

The main way to get from Oakland/San Fran is BART. I think there might be a student discount pass:

BART - Bay Area Rapid Transit

Pay special attention to where the stations are located because the closer you live to a station the quicker your commute.

If you are living in San Francisco proper than you can take the bus or light rail (MUNI). Light rail is usually faster because it is independent of traffic. One of the most affordable places to live in SF is the Sunset District, and it has rail that goes down two streets: Irving/Judah and Taraval. Both lines basically take you downtown. There are lots of college students who live in the Inner Sunset because its close to San Francisco State, so that might be a good place to start looking for a roommate situation. Inner Sunset is also a good place for shopping (food) which you want if you're not going to have a car. Outer Sunset is a bit cheaper but its also foggier and colder because its closet to the ocean.

San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA, Muni, DPT)

classifieds - craigslist

I think that your car is going to be a hard sell here with Michigan plates because Mi cars do not last as long as Cali cars (salt in the winter and all). You might have an easier time selling it with Cali plates but that takes moolah. You might want to ditch it before you come...or see if you can find a place to live that includes free parking (they exist...especially in the Sunset).

Older cars do pass emissions (they call it smog testing here). My second car is a '94 Honda and it still passes. Check out the requirements here:
Smog Information
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