Over my winter break, I re-visited UIC just to get one more look around. I keep forgetting that I will be 40 minutes from home instead of 3 hours. I actually had decided upon UIC before the second visit, but I still wanted to see it again, as well as personally turn in my deposit (not too keen on the postal service).
I was accepted December 1st, and turned in my deposit January 4th – about 10 days prior to the deadline. I sent emails out to the other schools letting them know they could offer my spot to other applicants. Shortly after, I received an email from UIC telling me about the next step: Housing and financial aid.
I must admit, I have been fortunate enough to have my parents pay for undergrad so I have no debt as of now. Obviously they won’t be fronting the dental school bill, nor would I expect them to – so I am preparing to go into debt. I really have no clue how to go about getting aid/student loans so this will be an overdue learning process about financial issues I didn’t have to bother with before now. UIC has a March 1st, deadline for filing FAFSA and I just finished it up a few days ago. It was a pain because they require parental information so I had to go over everything via the phone with my dad. Since all my tax info goes to home still, he took care of my end as well. FAFSA never gives us anything so I don’t expect things to change. Just another step to go over so that UIC will give me some options.
I am very relieved about the housing situation. My parents made it clear that they were considering buying a condo probably about a year ago. If I was accepted to UIC and chose to attend; than they would have even more incentive to buy. Real-estate in Chicago is phenomenal right now. Even around the UIC campus, condos and apartments are just sprouting up all year long. So through various friends and other connections, my parents have located a condo that they really liked and have pretty much locked it down. We haven’t worked out rent and all that crap, but I am definitely relieved to not have to deal with looking for a place to live. Owing money to parents is less intimidating than owing money to strangers. Than after school, if I do a residency in Chicago I can stay put, or if I go into practice elsewhere, they can rent out to someone else, or sell for a nice profit over 4-years of built equity.
It is a 2-bedroom condo and is only about 6 blocks from the school, so I’ll probably walk most of the time which is fantastic. The neighborhood is nice so I hopefully won’t get robbed or shot. It is fairly close to Taylor Street which apparently has some nice bars/restaurants. I’ve been to Chicago plenty, but I’ve never LIVED in Chicago, so I can’t wait to actually know where things are and be able to take family and friends to cool places that I discover over the next few years. So now the only thing left to do with housing is to get furniture, I don’t have much of my own but I’m sure I’ll be able to scrounge up some decent stuff.
So housing is pretty much solved, FAFSA is in, I’m supposed to hear from UIC about financial aid in the near future, so paying for everything is really the next big stage in this 5 month preparation process. Most of my peers are still hunting for living arrangements…I AM SO GLAD to have that settled so early. Once I get settled in, I may find a roommate to help pay the rent, but I decided a year ago that I really need to live by myself for awhile. Quite frankly, I am tired of having roommates.
Five months feels like a really long time…