Friday, November 30, 2012

Guest Blogger: Jeanette Strommen: How to find Housing in Forest Grove

Hi everyone!

If you are anything like me 3 years ago, you are looking to find a place to live in Forest Grove while you are living halfway across the country. Believe me, this is no easy feat! After living in Forest Grove for the last three years, I have some recommendations and tips for you on how to find the best housing in this cute little town!

First of all, and I know this is probably THE HARDEST thing to do, especially if you’re accepted early in the year, but you should WAIT!!!! Don’t forget that us third years are leaving the places we’ve called home for the past 3 years in May.  Many of the landlords in Forest Grove love optometry students because they know that we’re responsible and will stay here for 3 solid years. So often times in the month or two before we move out, we send out emails to the incoming class (on behalf of our landlords) looking for people that may want to take over our house. In the past, some incoming students have even been able to snag a fully furnished apartment because the third years that left sold them all their couches, beds and miscellaneous items that they would need! It’s a sweet deal! Even if you can’t take over someone else’s fully furnished house, often times the house itself is a prime location or space because us third years know where all the good places to live are-we have lived here for 3 years! J

Often times what else happens in the spring is upperclassmen send out emails looking for a roommate or two to live with them, because their current roommate is moving out (probably because they’re a third year). These are ALSO often ideal situations because you move into a practically fully furnished place and have upperclassmen to live that can show you the ropes! Befriending upperclassmen can only benefit you so that you’re better prepared to know which classes to study for, which books to buy, etc.

One more tidbit I wish I knew when moving out here is that you don’t have to buy everything new! I mean you totally can if you want, there’s no sales tax in Oregon so it’s a great place to shop, but the upperclassmen sell everything they don’t need before they go on rotations! The couch currently sitting in my living room is from a now graduated optometrist, and I got it for a steal! So keep your eyes peeled for those types of emails in the future too.

Another important thing to keep in mind is that you may have to rent starting in the spring to reserve a quality place. Its possible to find something you can start renting later in the summer, but the odds are unlikely. But of course there are exceptions to every rule so don’t swear by that one, just be prepared to build that into your upfront expenses of your move here.

If I haven’t convinced you to not look for housing yet, here are a few recommendations on places optometry students notoriously live. Parkview Apartments are very common; I’d say optometry students occupy the grand majority of their apartments.

The company that manages Parkview Apartments also manages Meadowlark Apartments, located near Safeway. Both apartment complexes have the same 2 BR, 1 BA internal design. Here is one picture to give you an idea of what they look like on the inside:

Another seemingly popular place to live is in the Sherwood Manor Townhome complex just north of the school. It is a 2BR, 1 BA 2-story townhome that is probably about a ten-minute walk from school. Here is a picture:

If you lived at the Sherwood Manor complex, there are a TON of students that live within just a few blocks from there because there are a lot of optometry renters in the houses in that area.

If you’re feeling more adventurous, you can live in Hillsboro. Some students really enjoy living a little closer to the city, either to shorten a spouse’s commute time or for easy access to the finer things that Portland has to offer. A few students have had good luck with the Jackson School Village apartment complex. They have a pool that is quite lovely in the summer! Here’s a picture of the inside:

And here’s a picture of the outside:

This is by no means a complete list of the housing opportunities available in Forest Grove and the surrounding areas, but hopefully it can get you started! Good luck and happy house hunting!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Starbucks Holiday Meet and Greet!

Boxer in the snow!
I love the holiday season! I can’t deny my excitement when I see people strolling around Portland with their candy-cane red Starbucks holiday cups. Though these often come out right after Halloween, ignoring Thanksgiving entirely, they certainly do their job! The scrambling for presents for friends and family begins, and the stress is piled high! All of us here at PUCO know how stressful the holiday season can be, so we like to offer a little break from all the hustle and bustle.

This photo belongs to Fiona Thomson and was found on Flickr; link here

On December 21st and December 28th, PUCO students from over 40 cities in the US and Canada are offering to grab coffee with prospective students­ at a Starbucks near the PUCO students’ location— and the coffee is on us! At these Meet & Greet sessions, prospective students will be able to ask questions that faculty or staff at the College of Optometry may not be able to answer, like “Why did you choose Pacific?” or “How many hours of sleep can I really get in optometry school??”
Students from past Meet & Greet sessions found the experience incredibly rewarding (not just because of the free cup of coffee!). One student said;
“The meet and greet gave me a very strong and personal sense of the friendly, caring environment here at PUCO... A student was willing to meet with me, and you guys bought me coffee. I think it is a clear picture of the type of environment a student can expect if they are accepted. That certainly has been my experience in the last year! I think this is a very creative and effective way to communicate who we are with interested students.”
The sessions will last around an hour, getting answers to questions you have about Pacific or the profession of optometry; to talk about living in Oregon; and to share with you why they decided to come to Pacific over the other optometry schools out there. We want you to have access to all resources about Pacific, so when you choose an optometry school, you can make the choice that’s right for you!

We will be sending out an email on the week of November 19th, at which point you will have until December 3rd to respond to the offer! If you have any questions regarding the Meet & Greet, feel free to contact Andrea or Abby with your questions and comments!