Have a dog and wondering if they will like Bloomington? Well, you are in luck, because Bloomington is a wonderful place for students who are doggy owners. To house your pet, there are multiple housing options that allow dogs (and other pets) for an additional fee. There are lots of beautiful places to go for walks, like the B-line trail that goes through downtown, at IU through campus, or at Bryan Park, where lots of families and doggy owners hang out. Griffy Lake Nature Preserve to the north of town has lots of wonderful hiking trails, and even its own unofficial dog park. Of course, if you are interested in an official dog park, Karst Farm Dog Park, on the southwest side of town, is really great too! The Hoosier National Forest and Lake Monroe also offer lots of trails for hiking with your furry friend. You are also very likely to see many dog owners with their companions just strolling through downtown on any given day. What about your pet needs? There are a couple of local pet stores in town, as well as your bigger name pet stores on the outskirts of town. And, if you are interested in adopting a new pet, the Bloomington Animal Shelter is just the place you need! My doggy loves Bloomington, and I’m sure yours will too!
Hi readers! Since spring has sprung (for the moment at least) I’ve been riding my bike pretty frequently, which makes me think we should talk about transportation in Bloomington. When you’re applying to graduate school, it’s important to think about the logistics of getting here and there. Will you need a car? What’s the parking situation? How’s the public transportation, and is it a viable way to get to and from campus?
One thing that I love about Bloomington is that there are a variety of options for getting around town. First, it’s a very bike friendly town.
There are several designated bike routes throughout town as well as bike lanes, and the city is very conscientious about bikers in general. Last summer the B-line trail was completed – a paved trail for cyclists, walkers, and joggers that runs north-south through town.
Our city has a whole webpage devoted to biking about town where you can find info about bike routes and bike safety initiatives.
If you’d rather ride, Bloomington also has a very good bus system. When considering different housing options, I’ve always stuck to places in close proximity to bus routes because I share a vehicle with my husband. It’s really nice being able to count on the bus – almost all the routes run right by campus, and the bus station is located only a few blocks from the Sample Gates.
A lot of routes run several times an hour during the busiest times of day, and you can check here for schedules and route maps. Did I mention IUB students ride free? All you have to do is show your student ID. So convenient!
If you prefer to drive yourself, that’s an option too. Bloomington has a fair amount of parking, but you will need a parking pass to use the lots on campus. There are a variety of permit types, and some have better parking options than others. For example, “A” permits are reserved for faculty and staff. Associate Instructors (IU’s name for TAs), Graduate Assistants, and a few others can obtain “C” permits which are also pretty good. It’s important to check out your options ahead of time because the less desirable permits might mean a longer walk to and from your vehicle – which may not be worth your time or money. More details can be found at IUB’s Parking Operations website here.
Is street parking an option? Sure, but only for the short term. Street parking near campus usually has time limits (2 hour max) or is restricted to those with residential permits.
Whew, that’s a lot of information to digest! Don’t worry – you can always bookmark it for later when you’re doing your own housing search or debating about bringing your vehicle or bike.
Deciding to spend spring break in Bloomington was a tough decision. I wasn’t sure what the campus would be like without students. Did I want to go home? Well, going home would cost $350 in airfare alone, so that option was out. There was a student affairs conference in Arizona, but I didn’t have $1000+ to make that trip happen. I could stay in Bloomington to work and make money that I would have spent going somewhere – bingo!
After a lot of thought, I ended up staying in Bloomington and working. This ended up being the best decision I could have made for myself. Bloomington is AMAZING without students on campus. I really took advantage of reminding myself why living here is so relaxing. My friends and I hung out every day, the weather was beautiful, and we never had to wait long for food when we went out to eat. While it would have been great to fly home, go to a conference or head to Florida, it was nice to experience life without school for a change in Bloomington.
Below is a picture of my friend, Caitlin and I celebrating St. Patty’s Day while watching the Indiana/VCU basketball game!
So what is Bloomington, Indiana like? Ultimately, it is what you as a graduate student make of it. Depending on the year you are in within your graduate program (e.g., stage in Ph.D. program)–you’ll either have time to explore (often) or you will be so busy balancing school and anything personal that your time in Bloomington will be completely full. The campus is beautiful and the town is quaint. I wouldn’t consider Bloomington to be a major urban center and yet although rural by some standards, I wouldn’t consider it rural in the extreme. I think of Bloomington for what it is, unique for sure in the Midwest, a college town, home to a major research I flagship institution, and often attracting individuals from all over the world (i.e., a few reasons as seen below).
Spring break is drawing to a close here in Bloomington. Yesterday a friend at work asked me, “If you could go on vacation anywhere right now, where would you go?” My automatic response was “Here!” Okay, and maybe Greece. But in all honesty, I’ve been enjoying the awesome weather we’re having here in Bloomington. Everything is blooming, and there’s really no reason to complain about staying put for spring break when your surroundings are this lovely.
For a lot of graduate students, spring break is a time to catch up on work. I’d say that most of us aren’t able to forget our responsibilities and run off to Cancun. But it’s also not all work and no play. Aside from photographing flowers…
I’ve also been riding my bike, grilling out with friends, eating ice cream at the Chocolate Moose…
…and enjoying the peaceful atmosphere that comes to Bloomington when a few thousand of its residents take off on vacation elsewhere.
Hope you had a great spring break, wherever you went!
As you begin your graduate program, and as you fully grasp your reality of being in Bloomington for a while–expect a minimum of five years–you will have to determine what it means for you to make a home in this small—but lively—Midwestern town. For some this means buying a home, for others it means planting a garden, but for some it means adopting a companion animal. Considering bringing a dog or cat into your family is a complicated issue; graduate school for most comes with financial strain, and getting a graduate degree almost guarantees a few years of instability after graduation. On the other hand, an animal’s companionship can help to offset the isolation of advanced studies. What to do?
I should note that I have consulted a cat-loving friend of mine to help think through the pros and cons of adopting a pet as a graduate student. We came up with a few tips that, as always, are based on a limited set of perspectives. Feel free to add your own pearls of wisdom in the comments section! More than anything, it is important to remember that adopting impulsively puts your own and your pet’s quality of life at risk. Here are some things you may think about.
- Consider finances. Would a pet fit into your budget for this year, next year, and the next five (or longer)?
- Consider travel and pet care. Are you planning on spending a year or two overseas for research? If you anticipate attending conferences, do you know two or three people who could provide quality pet care within your means? I knew from the beginning of graduate school that pets were out of the question due to my doctoral research.
- Consider time. Do you have the space in your schedule to give a companion animal attention? Remember that they will not only need food, but also play time!
- Finally, weigh the benefits with the losses (financial and other). My friend-turned-consultant feels that although her cats have added to her financial strain, they offset the isolation of a research and writing lifestyle. For her, then, the benefits far outweighed the costs (or at least that’s the story she’s sticking to)…
Pets can provide much needed companionship to many young scholars, but we encourage you to think carefully about what you have to give to an animal. And remember: even if you can’t adopt, you can always volunteer at a local shelter!
(here’s a fun picture of one of her (two) cats…)
Hey friends… I hope things are well in your world. My life is CRAZY right now, but I’m very excited. Why? The answer… spring is in the air. Yesterday the temperature was in the 60s and I absolutely loved it. (Side note: I’m a Texan so sub 50 temperatures are very cold in my book.) Anyway with spring comes to important things. The first is the trees and flowers begin to bloom, and the earth becomes green and lush again. This city is absolutely beautiful. The second and more important event is my birthday! This year is special as I will eclipse the big three “o”. So this year I have created a list of 30 things to do before 30. The first was to see a live music show in Bloomington. This of course brings me to my FREE TIP OF THE DAY. Today’s tip is should you decide to come to Bloomington take advantage of the live music scene. The city fosters a great live music scene with several great venues (see The Bluebird, Buskirk Chumley, and Jake’s). This past weekend I went and saw my friend’s band three story hill. They were awesome!!! Check out the clip below.
PS – Stay tune bloggers I’m contemplating sharing my list to see what you all think.
Over the years, I’ve come to appreciate–more and more–the many charms of Bloomington. I think it’s a great place to attend school–for undergrad or graduate education. There are plenty of arts events virtually every weekend–live music and free concerts courtesy of the Jordan School of Music (one of the best programs in the nation), theater and dance, etc. Additionally, IU brings many acclaimed visiting artists, scholars and writers (all of whom lecture and often teach a master class as well) to campus every year. The downtown is attractive and there are plenty of nice shops–from a place that makes its own ice cream to several bookstores to a variety of clothing stores. Easily navigable and safe, it’s a town that’s really easy to figure out, even if you’re directionally challenged like me. Housing is affordable here, too–especially in comparison with a larger city. I’ve been able to find decent apartment options close to campus every year I’ve lived here, and I’ve moved more than once. Indianapolis is an hour away and Chicago is roughly 3 or 4 hours by car if you feel like taking a weekend trip.
Every Spring semester, especially during the winter, I take time to enjoy some of the events/performances occurring throughout IU. For instance, this past month, I have seen: 1) “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, 2) “The PHD Movie” featuring a Q&A with Jorge Cham, and 3) a performance by comedian Ralphie May.
These are just some examples of the many extraordinary opportunities that you can experience here at Bloomington, Indiana. This is just one entertaining way to take a break from our busy schedules and have some fun, in particular, on those cold winter days!
Here are some relevant links:
Bloomington is a special place. Really. I mean it. There are so many good things about living in this town. The visual and performing arts scene is happening. There are fantastic ethnic restaurants. You can get a great cup of coffee in many restaurants and coffee shops. There is a community-supported cooperative grocery store called, what else, Bloomingfoods (http://www.bloomingfoods.coop/).
One of the things I have come to appreciate most about Bloomington is the commitment of its citizens to the community at large. For instance, there is a significant constituency who is committed to supporting local farmers and sustainable agriculture. The size of the Bloomington Farmers Market is evidence of this (http://bloomington.in.gov/farmersmarket). The market runs on Saturday mornings nearly year round (yes, even in the winter!) and provides access to locally grown produce, grains, meat, eggs and cheese. In the spring months, you can also buy heirloom seeds and seedlings to plant in your own garden, and many vendors sell landscape plants. Several restaurants in town are even committed to purchasing food from local farmers: Lennie’s, FARM bloomington, Laughing Planet Cafe and Upland Brewing Company are just a few.
Having access to locally grown food has fundamentally changed the way my family eats. Now when I go to the grocery store, I don’t have to buy produce flown in from thousands of miles away. And I am more comfortable with the quality of the meat we eat because I have visited the farm (just 3 miles from my house) where the animals are humanely raised. My family eats more in tune with the seasons…this means no watermelon in January; we eat that in the late summer months when it’s offered by local farmers. It might seem that we have to sacrifice to eat this way, but in fact I have found the seasonal, local produce I do buy is more fresh and flavorful. My kids are even eating more veggies with less complaint.
If you are interested in local and sustainable food, it’s easy to get connected in Bloomington. There’s a Local Grower’s Guild (http://www.localgrowers.org/) and you can also find a number of community supported agriculture (CSA) groups that provide weekly deliveries of fresh produce, grains, and animal products. Initially, I found many CSAs through http://www.localharvest.org/, but I have been a CSA member of LIFE Farm (http://lifefarmcsa.com/) for the last three years. They provide a weekly basket of freshly picked, seasonal produce from mid-April through the end of October.
If you love food, Bloomington is a great place to live!