As you may or may not know, one of the main reasons for taking this road trip in the specific direction and with the specific stops (and we’ll have maps of our road trip on the “itinerary” page at some point – someone had to go and break their computer so we can’t edit screenshots) is so that I can look at potential graduate schools to attend after we finish our year of travels. I intend on pursuing a masters degree in Exercise Science/Human Performance/Exercise Physiology so that at the end we can continue to grow our own business and become fully self employed in the sports performance/coaching world. Well with that, we have to find the place that works best for both of us.
We broke it down into three separate criterion: the best fit as a graduate program for me, economic opportunity and feasibility to grow Forged Fitness, and a good match for the lifestyle we enjoy. Having a place with access to mountains and snow also ranked very high on our priority list, setting the search to primarily be around the Pacific Northwest. After a substantial amount of online research, talking with friends and family and some e-mail correspondence, the situation manifested itself into one of two options, either Oregon State University in Corvallis, OR which is in the western Oregon area or Boise State University in Boise, ID. Our last ten days have been spent not only meeting the professors and walking the campus but also taking in all that the surrounding area had to offer to try to help us make our decision.
Which one will it be?
We started at Oregon State with it having a slight advantage over Boise State in our pre-visit research. Of course we show up to our meeting with the Department Head fifteen minutes late because we couldn’t find parking (remember the never being on time post…) but end up having a very promising meeting with all of the faculty members met there. We expected the university to be all that and a bag of chips, which it was. The town of Corvallis, however, caught us completely by surprise with both the opportunities in the town and the unquantifiable’ feel’ you get from a place. We had all the plans set in motion to live in Eugene (45min south of Corvallis) and I would commute to school everyday and Lindsay could work in Eugene. Well after a shorter visit to Eugene than planned – we’d allotted two full days and had only spent 6 hours there – we realized it just wasn’t for us. The biggest problem with Eugene, aside from me having two hours of commuting each day, was that we want to live within walking distance to the downtown and the communities surrounding downtown Eugene are either million dollar homes or seedy projects. Corvallis might be a sleepy little hick town with a smaller downtown in the middle of farming and logging country, but then again Lindsay is from farm country and I’m from the sticks… so maybe these are in fact our people. What happened with that extra two days for Eugene? We went back to Corvallis!
After a couple days on the road we made it to Boise and actually have spent four days in the area seeing the school. The school was great, but most importantly we were able to see Foreigner live in concert at the state fair and go white water rafting. Hey, we’re still on vacation!Boise is 4x bigger than Corvallis but still retains the small town feel which is nice. It has a bigger downtown with all of the stores and things you could want in life all in one town, as opposed to Corvallis which would require a trip to any one of the neighboring towns for this, that, and the other thing. But Boise does have lower priced real estate. Yes, both locations have a Costco…that was our first Google search before even finding a campground.
We came to Boise to do our due diligence before settling on the first place that we looked at; it seemed too good to be true that Corvallis and Oregon State would be the place for us. Across the board, in all three of the factors that we will base our final decision on, Boise was just one step behind Corvallis. “We could make that work” would probably be the most said phrase from our time in Idaho, meaning that Boise did not have a single thing ‘wrong’ with it but it also did not seem to be the perfect fit that Corvallis had been.
In closing Corvallis is a true College Town with a great research based program, a gym that would be a very good partner for us on the business front, and this unmistakably quaint feel. Boise is a city with a true downtown and lower real estate prices, with a graduate program that is still a good fit that is more practical and application based, and a creeping feeling of being on an ‘island’ as the Boise metroplex is the only population center in a 4 hour drive. The decision has not been made yet, but as you can tell we are likely leaning towards Corvallis for one simple fact; if you’re buying a house, starting graduate school and starting your own business all at the same time why would you choose to swim up stream and “make it work.”