I remember back when I was deciding between grad schools, I actively sought to learn about the schools’ curricula and cultures (the kool-aid), but I didn’t really pay too much attention to where I’d be living for each one (the cup). They were all large, well-known cities (except Evanston), so I thought I knew everything I needed to know about them. Going by my preconceived notions, Evanston was at the bottom of the list in terms of my desirability to live there, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised during my 9 months here by how much I like it and how much it contributes to the overall experience.

Evanston, or at least the part that I’m exposed to daily, is a college town through and through. What I’ve come to like most is that:
<ol><li>I don’t need a car. Most, if not everything, that I need is within walking distance (1 mile or less).  This is great because not having a car takes down some of the financial burden. I’m just about completely oblivious to how much gas costs now. It also frees up more productive time, because whenever I do have to go somewhere farther way, I can normally take the L (Chicago’s elevated trains) and spend the time reading, listening to music, thinking, etc.</li><li>The Kellogg community is pretty concentrated within downtown Evanston, so I am never far from what is going on.  On a daily basis, I tend to only interact with a small part of the city (below). That makes it really easy to plan impromptu outings with friends, meet for classes, and participate in any of the numerous activities that are always happening. When events do occur farther away (e.g Chicago), you can normally find a classmate that is heading to and fro, making the commute a lot more manageable. So basically, I’ve never had to sacrifice on an event I wanted to attend due to something like travel time. </li><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div><li>The overall college community gives downtown Evanston a great vibe. Whenever I’m out and about, I always see large groups of undergrad students walking around energetically, people eating outside, jogging, chatting at a coffee shop, etc. When the weather is nice, it’s not uncommon to see people hanging out and chatting next to my favorite wooden horse or anywhere else throughout downtown. </li>Hanging out with the wooden horse </ol><ol>The city seems to embrace the community. For example, the city had a “Paint Evanston Purple” event this Saturday to rally around Northwestern’s football team, the Wildcats. As part of the event, they dyed the main fountains in downtown purple. </ol><ol><iframe class="youtube-player" frameborder="0" height="220" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/BGHfk-PhimQ" type="text/html" width="440"></iframe> </ol>Although I spend a lot of time in classes and meeting rooms at Kellogg, it’s nice to know that there is this great, little city all around me.