When I first started considering schools and pursuing my MBA, I was limiting my search to what was close by. At the time, I was living in Atlanta, GA so my range was only within the South. It was what was familiar to me so why would I consider going anywhere that was too far? Well, as I started diving deeper into my search, I quickly realized I needed to open my mind to the idea of moving away. Fast forward to making my final decision to attend UW-Madison and seeing that I was about to start this incredible program, I also had to prepare myself for a culture shock.
I had never really been to the Midwest before starting the MBA program. I had only been to Chicago for a short weekend but had never visited, much less knew what to expect. I started asking a few friends who were from the area what I should prepare for. The biggest thing was: PREPARE FOR THE COLD! They knew I grew up in the South so they tried their best to give me their recommendations so I could be as prepared as possible for the weather. I knew that the weather wasn’t going to be my sole experience when moving to Madison. As I was making the move, I was excited to start discovering a new town with so many opportunities to have incredible experiences.
When I first got to Madison, I already started to imagine what I would do on the weekends and in my free time. I saw all of the great outdoor spaces, the cute coffee shops, and the hip bars to go and hang out with friends. Madison is such a beautiful city to take a lovely walk and make several stops. Going along State Street and seeing all the food possibilities was one of my favorite discoveries! The amount of Bubble Tea options! And of course, it isn’t a Wisconsin experience without trying cheese curds and New Glarus beer. What truly has made the adjustment to Madison a lot easier than expected is the people. My classmates, a few new to the area but others familiar with the city, were always around in sharing my exploration of Madison which made the experiences sweeter and more memorable.
A move to a new place can always be an adjustment. I have and still do experience my moments of homesickness. I do have times when I wish I could go to familiar places back in Atlanta where I felt comfortable. It’s never simple to transition into a whole new lifestyle in an environment that is so new. I would say that getting to know the City of Madison has been such an incredible journey but getting to know the people has been even more wonderful.