Life in Bloomington by Thomas Elton IV

Not being from Bloomington and the state of Indiana in general there were adjustments that I had to get used to while being a graduate student here at IUB. For example, I am from northeast Ohio so my main grocery store went from Giant Eagle to Kroger. The price of a gallon of milk is about a dollar to sixty cents cheaper, and my favorite spring water brand, Deer Park, is not really available by the case here. The spring water brand here is Ice Mountain and it is bottled by the same company but the water comes from different springs based on region.  For this month’s entry, I am going to talk about housing and activities as a graduate student here at IUB.

During my undergraduate career, I stayed in a residence hall all four years. Coming to graduate school, it was time to finally lease my first apartment. I recommend taking a visit to the apartment/ apartment complex that you would like to lease prior to signing. This is what I did to make sure that I wasn’t going to be deceived with what was pictured and described through their website. In fact my first visit to Bloomington wasn’t for to visit the school it was to look at potential apartments. I chose to go with a furnished apartment that, includes appliances, a bed, a washer, dryer, internet, cable, and other amenities. I chose this because my graduate program is only two years, and I knew that it was a good chance that I would be moving from Bloomington after graduation. So in order to have less belongings to move, I went with a furnished apartment. The only thing that I have to pay for outside of my rent is for electricity. When looking at apartments, look at the location. My apartment is approximately a 1.5 miles from the school, but there is a free shuttle service that takes us to the school during the week days downtown so that we may enjoy some of the local establishments that downtown Bloomington has to offer.

In Bloomington, there is a restaurant for everyone. Around once a month, I enjoy one of the local restaurants with other graduate students that I have met during my time here. Some restaurants are local to Bloomington such as The Tap, Opie Taylors, or Mother Bears, Bears Place while others you may or may not have them where you are from such as BJs, or Cheddars. Some establishments have trivia nights, some have karaoke nights while others are just places to enjoy with your new friends that you will make here. Also the IUB theater has free movies for students, some are screened before they are released in theaters everywhere while others, are movies that you may have missed in theaters, but are not yet available to purchase or rent. All you need to attend is a valid student ID and the theater is in the IMU.

Where to live in Bloomington?!?

This question, more than most, seems like it is really hard to answer abstractly: the best places for me to live are certainly not the best places for lots of undergrads who are as invested in partying as taking classes! So, with that as the backdrop, here’s a few things to consider:

(1)  I’d strongly encourage you to look into campus housing for your first year at IUB. Personally, I lived in an IUB apartment building for my first year, which was a really great thing for me: I got to live close to (but far enough away from) campus, didn’t have to deal with the hassle of setting up utilities, and figured out where I wanted to live next. Which brings me to…

(2)  Bloomington has lots of neighborhoods and several neat living possibilities!

  1. The South side of Bloomington has several apartments and condos that can be rented for as low as around $500/month (and as high as $1K/month). My impression is that the South side has more working professionals: it is a relatively nice and quiet area with people who get to bed at a reasonable hour and get to work early. It may not be a terrible idea to take out a loan and buy a condo if you’re planning on being here in Bloomington for four-five years…
  2. The East Side is mainly stand-alone homes and is very family-oriented. Lots of faculty live on the East side of town, and while it has a broad range of homes (including some that run for $1mil on the market), it is usually beyond graduate students’ paychecks.
  3. The area around the IUB Stadium is pretty hectic! It is renown for partying: don’t be surprised to find that someone mistook your stoop for a urinal at three in the AM if you ultimately decide this is the area for you!
  4. There is a fair amount of IUB housing that is available to faculty/ staff/ students on/around campus, including spacious apartments on/around N. Fess, on 10th street (Tulip Tree), and on 3rd street (Campus View). Because they’re located at different places—though usually close to campus—they have different feels, though they’re generally fairly quiet and usually within a 10 minute walk of campus.

Hope these thoughts help—feel free to comment if you’d like any more specific suggestions!