Making the Grade

Wow, that was a whirlwind week!  Just got back from visiting the last 3 out of the 4 grad schools I applied to.  Alright, so what's the verdict?  Well, I definitely am glad I went, since it's that "gut feeling" that brought me to a great school like Cal Poly 5 years ago, and I think it is the most important part of choosing a school.  Academics, rankings, blah blah blah...none of it means jack if you personally don't feel a school is right for you.  That's why I went out of my way to travel to each place and meet with people.  That and, well, it gave me an excuse to go on a mini vacation to 3 cool places!

Each of these schools is very different, but I decided that as a good engineer, I can't just decide the whole thing based on my instinct.  Okay, well maybe like half of it is instinct.  The other half?  Pros and cons, data, and other analyses that I've written up and amassed over this trip.

So here we go.  Before any of these schools graded me, I decided I would grade THEM, using some basic categories.  Of course, I'm a push over as a teacher, so I gave out As and Bs only lol.  Let's see how they fared, shall we?

Campus SizeB
Research / ProfessorsA-
Outdoor ActivitiesA
Surrounding Area / Environment / WeatherA
Being "Green"A

Campus SizeA
Research / ProfessorsB
Outdoor ActivitiesB
Surrounding Area / Environment / WeatherA-
Being "Green"B-

Georgia Tech
Campus SizeB
Research / ProfessorsA-
Outdoor ActivitiesB-
Surrounding Area / Environment / WeatherB-
Being "Green"A-

Campus SizeA
Research / ProfessorsA
Outdoor ActivitiesA-
Surrounding Area / Environment / WeatherA
Being "Green"A

I know, I know, these categories could probably use a little explanation.  Well hey, I have it all written out for myself, but I don't feel like writing it up here lol.  If you look closely at all these grades, you can see UW was the top choice after the initial grade.

But who won the "gut feeling award"?  Well, that one went to UW as well!  The campus was absolutely beautiful, not mention Seattle is an awesome city.  Yes, it rains, I know, but I was loving the 30 degree weather.  Reminds me of home.  I feel like having a little more weather will be a good thing.  Of course, I can't exercise as much, but now that I'm outfitted to bike in the rain, I think I'll make due :-)  I spent one day just exploring neighborhoods, and it was a blast!  There are so many cool little places around town, not to mention the awesome U-District right by campus.

You know, it's funny, but in many ways I see Seattle as my SF.  I mean there are TONS of hills, electric buses running on wires, and the city even has it's Castro district in West Capitol Hill.  It's also great that it has that big city feel, but you can drive a few minutes and be out of town really fast.  Finally, a chance to get my chance to live in a city and be within a few miles of hiking!

What if it's not quite for me?  Well, I see this journey in my life as a two-year trial period.  At the end of my grad school career, maybe I'll stay, maybe I'll move back to the Bay, who knows. 

Ah, the many ways I'm gonna miss it.  All the great friends, roomies and connections I've made, I really have grown to love the area.  However, it's always been a goal of mine to get my MS, and by golly I'm going to do it!  I mean, this is the third year I've applied to colleges and my GRE scores are getting a little dusty, so I figured it was time to go.

Alright, alright, so the verdict is...


So there you have it, the cat's outta the bag.  I plan on moving to Seattle this fall and spending the next few years grabbing my MSEE and enjoying the rain :-P

What's next?  Housing? Financial aid? I'm taking a rest!  I've been working full tilt since I came back from Europe, writing essays, filling out apps, talking with professors and traveling.  Frankly, I'm beat.  I am so happy to just be complete with everything.  Now I actually will have time to work on my circuit board hobby and even my book!  Not to mention the celebrations that can now begin.  Sweet :-)

Actually, now that I think about it, I'm amazed how much I can accomplish when I start churning my wheels.  Europe...grad school...who know's what's next?  I'm excited to see what new adventures come with grad school, and I'm excited to see what next big thing I take on.

Until next time folks, thanks for checking in, I will catch y'all later!


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