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Best locations for Grad school and Climbing
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By JCM
From Golden, CO
Dec 17, 2012

Quote:

First off let me say I'm a 4th year graduate student in Organic Chemistry at The University of Utah in SLC, traditionally our program is ranked in the top 20 to 30 for Chemistry Graduate Programs and we publish and produce on par with other top tier schools.

My point is with that high of a work load and stress, and it is stressful (publishing, getting data, and graduate school assignments orals, etc) you need an outlet. I've found the Wasatch mtns are great for that.


Two excellent points are alluded to here, which deserve a bit more description. They are as follows:

1. You don't have to move somewhere unpleasant to find a good program. A big part of this depends on your field; there is a luck component here. If all of the good programs in you field are in Ohio and Michigan, you may have to suck it up and move to the Midwest. If you are lucky, however, it may turn out that the best program for what you want to do is actually in a great place. This is especially true in natural resource fields. In the field that I am in grad school for now (groundwater hydrology), the best 3 programs in the country are in Reno, Tucson, and Golden--all good places for the outdoors-interested. As such, you may not have to choose between a good program and a place that you want to live; you may find both in one place.

2. Being in a place you like will help you succeed as a grad student. Grad school is hard, and a lot of work. You can't work all of the time, although some people try. In reality, a balanced lifestyle makes you more efficient and productive; I can accomplish more in a 40-hour week than in a 70-hour week, due to declining efficency if my hours are too long. Most people who work super-long hours don't realize this; they could actually get more done if they got out of the office on occasion to clear their minds. As such, having good recreation (climbing) options nearby can actually enhance your productivity, and also make you not hate life while in grad school. Proximity is key. Here in Golden, there is decent climbing very nearby, and it is possible to both get your work done and to go climbing; you don't have to choose between them, because you don't waste four hours each way driving to the crag.


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By camhead
From Vandalia, Appalachia
Dec 17, 2012
You stay away from mah pig!

Jon Moen wrote:
...If you go to grad school in Texas, most of your network connections will be in Texas (as will you friends, your girlfirend, etc), and you will likely continue to live in Texas...bummer. Much better to get that Masters in Colorado, so that it is easy to stay there long term.


Yeah, good point. As I mentioned earlier, I went to grad school in Texas, to the best program for a pretty narrow field. Unfortunately, I realized that I did not want to live in Texas full-time, and due to both the general competitive job market in academia, combined with the fact that I graduated at the nadir of the past recession, I have not yet found a tenure-track position. The only graduates of my program who have landed tenure-track gigs are those who decided to stay in Texas, within the "good-ol-boys" network.


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By Matt Roberts
From Columbus, OH
Dec 17, 2012
Hittin' Miguel's with the new Chimps in tow

Ryan Williams wrote:
Who ever would have thought that the best two answers to any thread would come from guys living in Columbus! ;-) Sorry - I grew up watching my coastline be developed so that rich people from Ohio could have vacation homes. I'm sort of required to joke you guys whenever I can! :)


Hey, I'm as much a Buckeye as you are a Cockney. I'm originally a Show-Me stater, but the job was in Ohio--though I think my NC State degree does give me honorary NC citizenship, right?

Oh well, back to grading...


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By D@n
From Boulder, CO
Dec 17, 2012
Head full of lead. Photo by Frosty Weller

This may not be an option for you but traveling overseas is easy to do as a student (visas, student aid, etc). My main goals were similar to yours: climb a lot and pick up a Master's degree. I spent 2.5 years in Christchurch, New Zealand and it was one of the best experiences of my life. Tuition was cheap, cost of living was low, and I didn't have to learn another language. The program (botany/ecology) was good and studying biology in NZ was pretty cool. Spend some time traveling, studying, and climbing overseas. When you get back you can live wherever you want.


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By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
Dec 17, 2012
El Chorro

Matt Roberts wrote:
Hey, I'm as much a Buckeye as you are a Cockney. I'm originally a Show-Me stater, but the job was in Ohio--though I think my NC State degree does give me honorary NC citizenship, right? Oh well, back to grading...


Ha, wasn't expecting that! When were you at State? I graduated in 2007 but took multiple semesters off to live in New Orleans, Colorado, etc. Good times in Raleigh but I can't say I really miss it. There were times when I did, but not now.

I was at the Ohio State - NC State football game in '03 at the Horseshoe when we lost in triple overtime. We bought tickets on eBay and ended up sitting in the visitors section. I remember looking at my buddy and telling him that if we won we were going to have to run as fast as we could or else get slaughtered. That place is WILD!

PS - I've also passed out under the Arch in St Louis and been asked to leave the Jazz Museum in Kansas City. Man, those were the days...


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By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
Dec 17, 2012
El Chorro

D@n wrote:
This may not be an option for you but traveling overseas is easy to do as a student (visas, student aid, etc). My main goals were similar to yours: climb a lot and pick up a Master's degree. I spent 2.5 years in Christchurch, New Zealand and it was one of the best experiences of my life. Tuition was cheap, cost of living was low, and I didn't have to learn another language. The program (botany/ecology) was good and studying biology in NZ was pretty cool. Spend some time traveling, studying, and climbing overseas. When you get back you can live wherever you want.


That's actually not a bad idea. There are a lot of cities all over the world that are great for climbers, and many good schools are less expensive than you'd think. Some places you need to know another language but others, not so much. New Zealand is amazing. I wouldn't have minded ending up there at all. Christchurch is still kind of destroyed at the moment, but the city is in working order and I'm sure they'd welcome international students - maybe even give you a scholarship. The cost of living now would be even lower now and you're a short(ish) flight to some amazing climbing in Aus and Thailand.


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By Dave Bn
From Fort Collins, CO
Dec 17, 2012
Dreamweaver

If you're even marginally interested in research, especially in anything natural resources related, it is very easy to get research assistantships that will not only pay your tuition fees but also a (very modest) stipend. I'll have earned my PhD by the end of 2014 without having paid a dime for education costs out of pocket. This does involve a substantial amount of time invested in contacting professors whose research interests are similar to yours and then finding professors who have money to pay for a grad student.

With that said, looking for "grad schools" without a specific direction is pointless. Every university offers graduate level work. It's more important to chose what graduate path you want to take and then find the school that fits.

Going to grad school so you can live close to climbing is a waste of money. Just move close to climbing and then figure out what you want to do.


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By Matt Roberts
From Columbus, OH
Dec 17, 2012
Hittin' Miguel's with the new Chimps in tow

Ryan Williams wrote:
Ha, wasn't expecting that! When were you at State? I graduated in 2007 but took multiple semesters off to live in New Orleans, Colorado, etc. Good times in Raleigh but I can't say I really miss it. There were times when I did, but not now. I was at the Ohio State - NC State football game in '03 at the Horseshoe when we lost in triple overtime. We bought tickets on eBay and ended up sitting in the visitors section. I remember looking at my buddy and telling him that if we won we were going to have to run as fast as we could or else get slaughtered. That place is WILD! PS - I've also passed out under the Arch in St Louis and been asked to leave the Jazz Museum in Kansas City. Man, those were the days...


I was at State from 96-01, and I was at the same game, sitting behind the giant flagpole at the North end, and yes, its a pretty wild place, but a fun place to spend one Saturday afternoon in September each year.

Agree that Raleigh was nice, but happier here. Wish that I'd been climbing back then, because there's obviously great climbing in W NC. Now, its packing the fam up for trips to the RRG on weekends that don't have soccer games/homecoming dances/climbing comps.

Take care & enjoy; my wife & I lived in Vienna for 3 years & wanted to end up in London, but got Raleigh instead.


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By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
Dec 17, 2012
El Chorro

Matt Roberts wrote:
Take care & enjoy; my wife & I lived in Vienna for 3 years & wanted to end up in London, but got Raleigh instead.


Ha. My wife and I lived in Raleigh for 5 years and wanted to end up in Vienna, but got London instead.

Take care as well.

... wonder whatever happened to Mike?


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By John Keller
Dec 17, 2012

It's pretty interesting reading these posts and hearing people compare 'good' places to climb that are within two hours or good for weekends and, in the same phrase, saying Boulder rock sucks. If you apply the criteria of 'good' climbing within 2 hours or good for weekends, the number of different types of climbing areas around Boulder is well over 20. For those who don't know the area, the 'local' rock in Boulder is about 15 'minutes' from the center of town, meaning you can climb for an hour between classes or whatever pretty much any time you want. And that includes 3 distinctly different areas with 1000s of trad and sport routes from 1-8 pitches and more bouldering than you can shake a chalk bag at and with two or three very different types of rock (sandstone & granite). If you extend to 1 hour from town, you're adding something like another 5 distinct areas. When you get to two hours, you're adding another 10 beyond that. When you're talking about a weekend trip... well that's sort of what mountainproject is for isn't it. Basically, even if you don't like Eldo or Boulder Canyon you still can't compare the access to climbing areas in he Boulder/Denver area to too many other locations in the world in terms of nearness, ease and volume. If you can't find something within two hours of Boulder that you like then your assessment of climbing is pretty limited.

Obviously the choice of location for graduate school if you aren't entirely focused on a specific program or you actually have choices is always going to be a trade-off. You may simply need enough of an activity or quality of life to stay sane while focusing on the degree. And I always figured that if I'd gone to school in Boulder I would have failed miserably with all the climbing and skiing options. ;-)


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By Kenan
Dec 17, 2012
Shelf Rd

John Keller wrote:
It's pretty interesting reading these posts and hearing people compare 'good' places to climb that are within two hours or good for weekends and, in the same phrase, saying Boulder rock sucks. If you apply the criteria of 'good' climbing within 2 hours or good for weekends, the number of different types of climbing areas around Boulder is well over 20. For those who don't know the area, the 'local' rock in Boulder is about 15 'minutes' from the center of town, meaning you can climb for an hour between classes or whatever pretty much any time you want. And that includes 3 distinctly different areas with 1000s of trad and sport routes from 1-8 pitches and more bouldering than you can shake a chalk bag at and with two or three very different types of rock (sandstone & granite). If you extend to 1 hour from town, you're adding something like another 5 distinct areas. When you get to two hours, you're adding another 10 beyond that. When you're talking about a weekend trip... well that's sort of what mountainproject is for isn't it. Basically, even if you don't like Eldo or Boulder Canyon you still can't compare the access to climbing areas in he Boulder/Denver area to too many other locations in the world in terms of nearness, ease and volume. If you can't find something within two hours of Boulder that you like then your assessment of climbing is pretty limited. Obviously the choice of location for graduate school if you aren't entirely focused on a specific program or you actually have choices is always going to be a trade-off. You may simply need enough of an activity or quality of life to stay sane while focusing on the degree. And I always figured that if I'd gone to school in Boulder I would have failed miserably with all the climbing and skiing options. ;-)


Dude I don't know what you're talking about. Boulder sucks and there's no good climbing anywhere around here. Spread the word far and wide!

:-)


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By Mark E Dixon
From Sprezzatura, Someday
Dec 17, 2012
Sure, I can belay

Kenan wrote:
Boulder sucks and there's no good climbing anywhere around here. :-)


Definitely not world class!


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By John Keller
Dec 17, 2012

Oh, right. Sorry. Don't know what I was thinking. Let me rephrase... there's no good climbing here!! Everything you've heard is all promotional hype!! Not even worth stopping to check it out!! Nothing to see here... move along, move along. ;-)


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By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
Dec 17, 2012
El Chorro

John Keller wrote:
It's pretty interesting reading these posts and hearing people compare 'good' places to climb that are within two hours or good for weekends and, in the same phrase, saying Boulder rock sucks. If you apply the criteria of 'good' climbing within 2 hours or good for weekends, the number of different types of climbing areas around Boulder is well over 20. For those who don't know the area, the 'local' rock in Boulder is about 15 'minutes' from the center of town, meaning you can climb for an hour between classes or whatever pretty much any time you want. And that includes 3 distinctly different areas with 1000s of trad and sport routes from 1-8 pitches and more bouldering than you can shake a chalk bag at and with two or three very different types of rock (sandstone & granite). If you extend to 1 hour from town, you're adding something like another 5 distinct areas. When you get to two hours, you're adding another 10 beyond that. When you're talking about a weekend trip... well that's sort of what mountainproject is for isn't it. Basically, even if you don't like Eldo or Boulder Canyon you still can't compare the access to climbing areas in he Boulder/Denver area to too many other locations in the world in terms of nearness, ease and volume. If you can't find something within two hours of Boulder that you like then your assessment of climbing is pretty limited.


I think anyone that claims that Boulder is not a great place for a climber to live is either stupid or in denial. Probably top 10 cities in the world based on climbing alone.

But the statements I bolded above - THAT is the reason people hate on Boulder. Pretty much everyone knows how much climbing you have there - that's why so many people move there from out east! We've all been told how awesome it is - over and over - and most of us have gone to check it out at one point in our lives so that we can decide for ourselves.

And there actually are A LOT of cities in the world that have the same kind of access to climbing as Boulder. They just don't happen to be in the US and they aren't full of people who think they live in the center of the universe. Time and time again we hear that "I climb 200 days a year" and "I climb after work" and "I can ride my bike to climbing" and "there is no where else on earth" and so on and so forth. Yes it's great. But there are a lot of great places and sometimes it feels like no one in Boulder can acknowledge that. It just gets old.

PS - Back when climbing was the only thing I cared about I was one of those people in denial. Then, by the time I visited and had the chance to stay, I had realized that there were other things that are more important to me. If climbing was still number one, I'd probably have stayed there for at least a year and then moved to Moab because Moab IS the center of the universe ;-)

Now you guys go enjoy your December sunshine and leave us all alone.


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By Buff Johnson
Dec 17, 2012
smiley face

John Keller wrote:
Oh, right. Sorry. Don't know what I was thinking. Let me rephrase... there's no good climbing here!! Everything you've heard is all promotional hype!! Not even worth stopping to check it out!! Nothing to see here... move along, move along. ;-)



I've been saying that for years


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By 20 kN
From Hawaii
Dec 17, 2012

camhead> This is the first time that I've made fun of University of Phoenix on this site. However, I believe that there have been other threads in which I made fun of you, and other people made fun of UoPX, so I can see how you may have lumped us all together and gotten confused. Read this for more information, and click all of the links. Seriously. www.cracked.com/article_18660_why-you-should-beware-schools->>>



I have read countless websites such as that one. In some cases it is true, and in other cases it is not as true. I have taken a number of classes at my local UoPX ground campus. I have also taken classes at the best public school in the state - the University of Hawaii. In reality, the material is not that much different, at least not for the classes I took. What was different was the way in which the material was administered. So I cannot comment on for-profit schools as a whole, but the specific UoPX campus I attended was reasonable. I would say some of the professors graded a tad on the easy side and there seemed to be an abundance of lazy idiots in class, but aside from that, I donít really have any complaints. I suppose UoPX's regional accreditation may stand for something as opposed to ITT Tech, Devry, and all the others' nation accreditation. However, one thing is certainly true, UoPX is not a good value, and you will pay out of the ass for something you could get at a community college for a lot less. Also, I would never recommend someone try to get a degree in something like engineering, RN, or the like from a school like UoPX because those types of degrees are too hands-on. UoPX is best suited for degree paths that can be learned largely via independent study.


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By Weston L
From Summerlin, NV
Dec 17, 2012
Me at the good rest on Doggie Do

Haven't read the rest of the thread, however, I just finished my Master's and got to live somewhere that I could go climbing when the demands of the program weren't overbearing.

I'm not here to tell you where I live is better than Boulder or whatever will rile up the 'Rado-centric folks, but if the University of Nevada, Reno has a good program in the field of study that you are interested in pursuing, it is worth considering. Low cost of living, low cost of education (all things being relative, as it is higher ed - but you knew that already), and plenty of opportunities to get outside and get after it. Tahoe, Yosemite, Eastside, blah blah blah - we are spoiled here.


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By Joseph Stover
From Batesville, AR
Dec 17, 2012

I'll put in my vote for University of Arizona in Tucson. Year round climbing at comfortable temps due to huge variation in crag elevation. Plus it's close enough to many phenomenal bouldering, sport, and trad spots in AZ. Joshua tree, Hueco, and Red rocks are doable road trips too. Mt Lemmon has thousands of sport and trad routes on pretty solid granite and Cochise stronghold is nearby to get you multi-pitch fix.

I miss having so much climbing within an hours drive...


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By Merlin
From Grand Junction
Dec 17, 2012

camhead wrote:
If your only criteria is "decent program," and "close to climbing," you may as well just enroll in some online University of Phoenix program and live in Bishop.


Disagree completely. I have a PhD from a top ten in my field but I sure as hell wouldn't have gone to a grad school I couldn't enjoy my life at and I don't mean occasionally. You need to be happy and enjoy life and not view that as a passing phenomenon.

Go to the best school that also allows you to live and enjoy life, not the best school. You live once.


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By drmartindell
From Homer, Ak
Dec 17, 2012

No votes for UNLV?


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By Michael Holland
From Teton Village, WY
Dec 17, 2012

WOW. Thanks for all the info, people; I really did not expect this kind of troll. (I suppose that is why I made it pretty general...)

Maybe this helps: I studied English and Philosophy at CU Boulder for undergrad. Then I went to Africa for 3 years as an agroforestry extension agent with the US peace corps, and when I came home I moved to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, (to make up for some serious snow separation).

So my goals for a grad program are basically these:
1) International Sustainable Development Practices, International Economics, etc.-- which would ultimately lead me abroad again...
2) Education--i.e., become a high school english teacher and be happy with weekends and summers becoming the best climber i can...

so i like the idea of going back to colorado or utah. these are my favorites so far.


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By Merlin
From Grand Junction
Dec 17, 2012

Michael Holland wrote:
WOW. Thanks for all the info, people; I really did not expect this kind of troll. (I suppose that is why I made it pretty general...) Maybe this helps: I studied English and Philosophy at CU Boulder for undergrad. Then I went to Africa for 3 years as an agroforestry extension agent with the US peace corps, and when I came home I moved to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, (to make up for some serious snow separation). So my goals for a grad program are basically these: 1) International Sustainable Development Practices, International Economics, etc.-- which would ultimately lead me abroad again... 2) Education--i.e., become a high school english teacher and be happy with weekends and summers becoming the best climber i can... so i like the idea of going back to colorado or utah. these are my favorites so far.


You need to balance success and happiness. At the end of your time, all you have are your memories. I've got friends making 5 times what I do, one in particular has offered me a job at 3 times what I make now. I turn it down because I'm ok and happy.

Find the best balance between pure success and pure happiness. My buddies making 250k+ a year hate the pictures I send them from my vacations and say they wish they'd chosen a bit more life over money.

I'm not suggesting you dirt bag it but weigh the optimal career choice with the optimal life choice and find somewhere in between.

Having said that Utah or Colorado are good places to look.


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By Matt Roberts
From Columbus, OH
Dec 17, 2012
Hittin' Miguel's with the new Chimps in tow

Michael Holland wrote:
WOW. Thanks for all the info, people; I really did not expect this kind of troll. (I suppose that is why I made it pretty general...) Maybe this helps: I studied English and Philosophy at CU Boulder for undergrad. Then I went to Africa for 3 years as an agroforestry extension agent with the US peace corps, and when I came home I moved to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, (to make up for some serious snow separation). So my goals for a grad program are basically these: 1) International Sustainable Development Practices, International Economics, etc.-- which would ultimately lead me abroad again... 2) Education--i.e., become a high school english teacher and be happy with weekends and summers becoming the best climber i can... so i like the idea of going back to colorado or utah. these are my favorites so far.


Michael,
I've got nothing to offer on English, but for the International Sustainable Devt/Intl Econ, check out the Ag Econ programs at CSU & Berkley. For historical reasons, lots of international economic development is actually housed in agricultural economics departments. Berkley is a top-notch department, CSU is solid. Depending on your exact area of interest, UKy is solid and about 45m from the RRG. If you are interested, PM me.

All I can say is good luck. I totally applaud your choice to spend 3 years in Africa (any good climbing stories?) and then make the choice for grad school. If I'd gone straight in, I would've never finished. I needed to be out and then go back.

Matt.


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By TWK
Dec 17, 2012

UC Davis is the place for sustainabklity studies. Check it out. If you do, send me an email, we'll try to set some stuff up for you.


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By Kirk Hutchinson
Dec 17, 2012

Tucson. UofA is a great school. I'm currently a postdoc in physiology/biomedical. In my field it's not so much as where you went to school, but how many pubs you have on pubmed and your CV. My opinion; pick the best major prof. Somebody with consistent funding, high quality pubs, and that is not a d'bag. Having quick access to good climbing is awesome so Tucson fits the bill. Within 30 min I can be at the crag. Trad, sport, multi pitch of both, it's all there (Mt. Lemmon, Cochise Stronghold, Baboquivari, Mendoza Canyon, Homestead, etc, etc.)


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