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I loved my time at Colorado State University, and I was so sad when it came to an end. But, there was also something exciting about the endless possibilities! I had a degree, and I could move anywhere and do anything!
For a while, my dream was to teach English in Spain through a program. But, unfortunately, I was told by my immunologist that it wouldn’t be possible due to the fact that I had to rely on plasma, which probably wouldn’t be able to ship to Spain. I was SO devastated.
I needed a new plan. But what!? What do I do and where do I go?
A lot of things occurred, and I ended up moving to San Diego and getting my first full-time job at a tech start-up. This was the best decision because I now live in one of the best cities in the world! (In my opinion, anyway.)
If you’re having trouble deciding where to move after college, or even during a life change, this one is for you! Here are three things I considered, one being specific to having a chronic illness!
1. What is the weather like? How will the climate affect my mental and/or physical health?
This one probably seems really obvious. When we think about different states and cities in the U.S., we probably think about the weather almost immediately. Colorado = cold winters. Florida = warm all year round, but humid.
I am from Kansas City, where we have extreme heat in the summer, cold, bitter winters, but beautiful seasons like fall and spring. It’s also really humid.
I had to think to myself: how important is weather to me? Do I like humid or dry climates? Do I get seasonal depression?
The answer to the last question is yes, I get seasonal depression. When it’s cold, I’m inside and I’m sad. Not to mention, as someone with a lung disease and immune deficiency, being cold doesn’t treat my body too well. I need some sunshine.
Some people love winter – they love skiing, snow, and drinking warm drinks. Other people thrive off of the sun, swimming, and wearing shorts. You have to figure out what you prefer!
I thought I would try out a warmer climate, so choosing to move to San Diego was not a hard choice.
2. If you have a chronic illness or medical condition, are there specialists that your current doctor can refer you to?
Due to having a rare disease, I knew I needed to move somewhere with a medical center that had specialists who have seen patients with my condition. Most major cities have this, but it is always good to double-check. It wouldn’t serve me well to live far from a big city center, where I would have to drive hours to a specialist.
I asked my doctor in Denver about San Diego, which is how I found my current doctors at UCSD. They are amazing! I have had such a good time there, and the appointments are only 15 minutes from my home, so it’s really efficient.
If ever needed, I am a couple of hours away from Los Angeles, which is much bigger than San Diego. I like that I have so many resources around me. There is also really good urgent care that I have used in emergencies.
3. How will I travel to my hometown or to locations of loved ones? How far am I willing to be from them?
As I said, my hometown is Kansas City. There are direct flights from San Diego, which are kind of expensive, but it’s doable. The flight is about 3.5 hours, which isn’t too bad. I think over 4 hours for a flight would be a lot for me.
Many of my friends live in Denver, and my boyfriend’s family lives there. It is really easy to fly there from San Diego, in my experience, and it’s not too expensive.
Some of my family lives in Arizona, too, and I am pretty close to there as well!
Living away from home can be really hard, but I can find time to go visit. It just takes a little bit more time and money! If I ended up going to Spain, I would be going really far.
Post-Grad choices can be really stressful and hard
The options are endless! I knew I was going to miss my friends and in a new city, I had to put myself out there and get far out of my comfort zone. Which is so scary.
But, I have no regrets. The weather is amazing, there is so much to do, and I have made so many friends!
When deciding what to do next, always think about yourself and what you want out of life. Think about your dream life. Nothing is permanent, and you can always change your mind!