I’m living what I like to think of as a “tour de Midwest”. Or, in other words, I live in states that touch Lake Michigan. The TL;DR version is that I grew up in Wisconsin, attended MSU for undergrad, moved to Chicago for 9 years, and returned to Lansing 3+ years ago.
For those that haven’t abandoned this ship yet, let’s dive in (pun intended!)…
I chose MSU for undergrad because I wanted a place that offered seemingly endless opportunities, especially around study abroad. I left Wisconsin to attend MSU, and I’ll save the story of how I coped (and continue to cope) with not living in a dairy-centric state for another day.
Anyway, as graduation neared, I knew I needed to live life in a big city. Having passed through Chicago countless times, I really felt drawn to move there. In all honesty, I didn’t consider staying in Michigan and felt my best chance for living the life I wanted was somewhere else. So yes, I’m guilty of contributing to ye olde “brain drain” that has plagued Michigan over the years.
However, I also recognized during the 9 years I lived in Chicago that some aspects of life would be much tougher if I stayed there. The general cost of living was certainly one of those factors. My husband and I wouldn’t have been able to afford the condo we wanted in the neighborhood we preferred for quite some time. When we moved back to Lansing, we were beyond thrilled to find that we could afford a whole house(!) in the Westside Neighborhood(!!). Dreamy.
A second factor that contributed to my return revolves around my career and the opportunities I have here. I’ve been back at MSU for just over 3 years, and in that time I’ve been quite pumped about the work I’ve been able to do. One such example is the creation of the Accessible Learning Conference that I lead and organize. I truly believe that my career success is owed in small part to MSU and the Lansing area. There is something about this environment that encourages people to explore challenges and feel emboldened to find the solutions.
It’s not all about work of course. I’ll admit I had a touch of trepidation that moving from a city like Chicago, to a city like Lansing would be an exercise in boredom. When I was a student here I never really left EL, and I have vague memories of that one time I ventured to Old Town and pretty much just looked at the fish ladder.
But guess what - my fears of boredom have been totally for naught. In addition to the great coffee shops, restaurants, bars, shops, and people around town, I have been able to do things like be appointed to the Ingham County Family Center Board of Directors and serve my community. And of course, Lansing is geographically well-positioned to visit all the glorious parts of the great state of Michigan from Detroit to Rogers City. Yes, you read that correctly, Rogers City. Our cabin is up there and it’s always a highlight of my summer to spend time up there, which used to be a 7-hour one-way haul from Chicago.
So what’s left to say? I suppose in summation, Lansing boasts a supportive and diverse community with a variety of activities to pass the time, and an excitement to keep moving forward. And the MSU Dairy Store. That helps, too. #cheese
The 5:01 is looking for guest bloggers to share their experiences on the benefits of living, working and playing in the greater Lansing area.