going to graduate school far away (>100 mi.) from home?

<p>I don't know if this thread would be better suited for the "College Life" forum, and I'm sure that this has been asked before, but here goes:</p>

<p>You may have seen me asking questions about graduate admissions. Well, I was (conditionally) admitted into the graduate statistics program at UC Riverside for 2011! The condition of my acceptance is that I need to pass two particular courses with a "B+" or better, and if everything goes to plan, I'll be taking those two courses in the fall.</p>

<p>I live in the San Jose area. Since I went to Berkeley for my undergraduate studies, it was about an hour's drive from home. However, Riverside is about 400 miles away. I've never been so far from home on my own before, and because of my autism, I'm not quite as independent as other people my age. To be honest, I'm not quite sure what to expect.</p>

<p>This probably sounds really silly, but I like to think of this transition as analogous to going from the late Apollo missions to a manned Mars expedition:</p>

<p>Transit times
Moon: 4 days</p>

<h2>Mars: 180 days; 39 w/ ion propulsion</h2>

<p>Berkeley: 1 hour
Riverside: 8 hours; 1 hour by plane</p>

<p>Stay times (between returns)
Moon: 7 days; 180 days for outpost missions</p>

<h2>Mars: 30-600+ days</h2>

<p>Berkeley: 1-2 weeks
Riverside: 1 month</p>

<p>Communication latency
Moon: 2-3 seconds</p>

<h2>Mars: 8-40 minutes</h2>

<p>Berkeley: <1 second
Riverside: <1 second (thank goodness!)</p>

<p>Supplies
Moon: All supplies from Earth</p>

<h2>Mars: Air water and fuel produced by in-situ resource utilization (ISRU)</h2>

<p>Berkeley: Toiletries and portion of food from home
Riverside: All supplies bought locally</p>

<p>Mission costs
Moon: $1.75 billion (for Apollo 11)</p>

<h2>Mars: $40 billion - 2 trillion</h2>

<p>Visitation costs (school)
Berkeley: $25; $50 if my parents drive me home and back
Riverside: $300 for flying home; $600 for parent visits</p>

<p>Injection (resupply) opportunities
Moon: None needed; weekly for outpost missions</p>

<h2>Mars: Once every 26 months</h2>

<p>Berkeley: Weekly
Riverside: Monthly</p>

<p>Medical needs
Moon: Abort possible at all times</p>

<h2>Mars: No abort possible; no access to terrestrial medical facilities</h2>

<p>Berkeley: Can get home remedies
Riverside: No access to home remedies</p>

<p>Of course, going to graduate school isn't quite as challenging as embarking on a manned mission to Mars, but there are a few similarities: for example, I could bring most of my stuff to Berkeley. However, I obviously can't ferry a whole month's worth of supplies to Riverside! Similarly, astronauts on Mars have to get most of their air and water through ISRU.</p>

<p>Medical care can be an issue as well. If I get sick while away from home (which happened to one of my roommates last year), it would be very unpleasant.</p>

<p>The whole idea of being away from my family for an extended period time seems a bit scary, but I think I'm ready for the challenge. Nevertheless, I'd like to hear other people's experiences of undertaking graduate studies while being away from home. Anyone got stories to share?</p>

<hr>

<p>Danny
University of California, Berkeley '09 (B.S.)</p>

<p>as a parent-
you gotta leave the nest sometime.
Try doing a summer camping/hosteling trip - with a friend and by yourself. Join an extended tour of USA.</p>

<p>Congratulations on your (conditional) acceptance to UC Riverside. I must say I don't like your analogy at all, because the scale is out of perspective. Riverside has many advantages for you. It is in Calif, so you won't have such culture shock of another state. Ontario airport in 15 miles away, I'm sure there are frequent shuttles, and the flight to San Jose is an hour. Your increased cost for airfare is minor in the scheme of things. You can't expect a grad school close to home, but you landed one anyway. Yes, I consider Riverside close to San Jose.</p>

<p>My daughter went from San Francisco to Providence RI for undergrad. It was a big adventure that she wanted, and the first year took some adjustment. She had to go to the hospital twice, once for concussion. The health center was very helpful, as were friends and roomates. You will use the Health center if you get sick. You learn to take care of yourself and be an adult in a fairly protected environment and will have a community around you that will help. Same with shopping for your own things. Everyone learns how to do it sometime. She had an off campus roommate one year, and sharing food buying and meal making helped.</p>

<p>For grad school she applied all over the country, she picked the schools on merit, not location. She is currently in Madison, WI. She is enjoying it very well. For her first year, she rented a furnished room in a house. This made things easy as all utilities and internet are included. There is another grad student there and an employee of the university. This made it easy to find out where to go and how to get around. Next year she will be moving into an apartment with another grad student because they prefer to have their own place. And now they know the town and where they want to be.</p>

<p>Only you and your parents know if this is doable for you, but if it is then you should absolutely not hesitate.</p>

<p>I agree with BrownParent: your analogy is out of scale given the reality of your situation. You will have access to health care, grocery stores, pharmacies, clothing stores, etc. within a small radius. You will gain peers who have intense interests similar to yours, and while I understand that your autism may make it difficult to connect with them, they can answer questions you may have as you go. Most universities have graduate student support personnel who can assist you if you need it.</p>

<p>It is time for you to begin living independently. You won't be completely alone in graduate school if you begin to think of your peers and university as your new support network. Remember that you must give as well as take -- share the information you gather with others who need it, particularly as you get more familiar with the surroundings. </p>

<p>As for the logistics, take as much of your own stuff as possible, but plan on buying other things (such as furniture) near Riverside. If you have a medical emergency, be assured that you can get it taken care of there, although I'll bet that your parents would make the trip in the case of a dire situation. My daughter had a medical emergency while she was in college, I drove the 5 hours to get to her the same day. The hospital treated her, and I was there by the afternoon to be with her. That's what parents do. </p>

<p>Yes, going off to grad school can be as frightening as it is exciting. Everyone experiences that, so you will not be the only one finding your way. It won't take long for you to familiarize yourself with the department and the local area. Good luck!</p>

<p>I'm assuming that you're between 21 and 23...you're old enough to leave the nest. It's okay. I live 900 miles away from my parents and the rest of my immediate family - I've got some extended family in South Jersey (I live in New York) that's a little closer, about 3 hours by train, but I have to take care of most of my day to day activities myself.</p>

<p>If you get sick...you'll take care of yourself. Your parents can't care for your medical needs forever! I got sick a couple of times when I first moved here; you get some chicken soup and whatever antibiotics you need (I had pink eye and strep throat and an ear infection all at once) and you survive. If it's a serious emergency I'm sure your parents would be in the car or the next plane up (San Jose to Riverside's only a 6-7 drive). Being sick is <em>never</em> pleasant, but you learn how to deal with it on your own when you get older.</p>

<p>I'll be 24 in July, and I've come to value my independence.</p>

<p>To expand upon Juillet's post: your parents learned how to take care of themselves and, eventually, how to take care of you. That process began when they were your age. </p>

<p>Certain things are difficult when you are gaining your independence: when you are sick, your first major holiday away from home, missing out on family events. In time, these moments lose their weight because you begin to create your own life and capabilities that no longer require the same degree of support.</p>

<p>You will find that there are A LOT of graduate students, especially younger ones, who are totally on their own for the first time. I would suggest that you move to Riverside a couple weeks before classes begin so you can get settled down in the area. Take the time to find out where the grocery store, drugstore, bookstore, et cetera are. Figure out the public transportation routes. Try to do some of the things you'd do for yourself in Riverside while you're at home like cooking a meal, going to the bank, popping some medicine when you're not well, doing laundry, etc. Try to say "I can do this myself, thanks." to your family more often.</p>

<p>Thanks for the input, everyone. I know my Mars mission analogy was kind of dumb, but I couldn't think of a better one. :P</p>

<p>I really like the idea of moving to Riverside a few weeks before classes start. Unfortunately, that's not an option for me. I'm actually enrolled in another graduate program right now. This program concludes at the end of September, which is when the Fall quarter starts at Riverside. In fact, there may even be an overlap of one or two days. Nevertheless, my family is planning to take another trip to Riverside during the summer to "get a better look."</p>

<hr>

<p>Danny
University of California, Berkeley '09 (B.S.)</p>