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How Did We Get Here?

To Lexington, Massachusetts that is.

I had been meaning to write a blog post on this for the longest time, but I kept waiting for the Army to make it “official” (ie – cut our orders), and by the time they did, we had such a small window to move and find a new place to live that this blog took a backseat.  So let me start from the very beginning.

We are moving to the Boston area so that Don can attend graduate school at MIT!

How did this come about?

When Don commissioned into the Army in 2009, he applied for an was accepted for GRADSO.  After your command time as an officer, you have 2-3 years of a “broadening assignment”.  This assignment can be teaching at a military academy, working with a college ROTC program, or many other things based on your branch – many Engineers end up working with the US Army Corps of Engineers.  Because Don took the GRADSO option, his broadening assignment is getting his Masters Degree.

How did you choose MIT?

One awesome part of GRADSO, is that the Army will fully fund a two-year graduate program at any university that you get accepted to.  We had agreed early on in our marriage that he would apply to schools in the Midwest because it’s closer to my family in Wisconsin, and with the majority of the Army bases in the south or on the east coast, we wanted to have some time being close to them.  Don threw in MIT for fun because it’s MIT and has a reputation as a great engineering school.

Well….Don got into MIT.  He also got into programs at Purdue (IN) and Madison (WI), but the program he was most excited for was the one at MIT.  How do you turn down a great program at a well known and respected university in a part of the country that the Army will never send you to?

The answer is… you don’t.  Plus, MIT sent an awesome “congratulations” package so they did a good job of woo-ing us.

What will he be studying?

Don will be in the System & Design Management Program, which is kind of a combination between engineering and business.  Since Don has an undergraduate in Industrial Engineering and his MBA, this is a great fit for him

How do I feel about this all?

I go back and forth on a daily basis.  Yesterday (the day before orientation begins), I had a total sob-fest in our living room.  But, I know that once I start making friends and getting used to our surroundings, I will feel a lot better.  The cost of living is ridiculous, and finding childcare has proven to be difficult.  However, New England has so much history and I’m excited to explore this part of the country.  Plus, we are within 1.5 hours of at least four different states so I hope to get many things crossed off my 40 by 40 bucket list!

The Army doesn’t have a base here, but lucky for us, there is an Air Force Base that we have access to for all the amenities that we’re used to thanks to the military.  In addition, MIT has a good amount of non-traditional students, so they offer play groups for kids as well as classes for the spouses, so I hope to take advantage of that.

Don’s first day of orientation is today, and I’m sure I’ll have many emotions and thoughts throughout our two years here.

What are some great New England places we need to explore?  Do you have any tips for making friends fast!? 

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8 thoughts on “How Did We Get Here?

  1. I’m so excited for you, Katie (and fam!) I’m from the New Hampshire/Boston area (and we frequent there often), so I know for a fact that you’ll love it! You’ll be there two years?! Plenty of time to explore and really get to know and love your new digs. We should definitely meet up some time when we’re in the area because you’re going to be in heaven – and I have alllllll the places you should go! Cheers to new adventures and, of course, best of luck!

    1. Thank you, I would LOVE to meet up! I will take all the tips and places to go, we want to do as much as possible while we’re here (yes, 2 years). If it’s easier, you can shoot me an email (

  2. The GRADSO is such a phenomenal option!! It’s honestly completely unmatched, in my opinion. We gave it up when Jamie got out of the Army, which was very very VERY hard to swallow!! Good for you guys!! <3 Loved reading this post!

    1. You guys have had a whirlwind of an army career! Thankfully both Don’s deployments were before we got married, so it didn’t take much of a toll on us. But if we were in your shoes, I think we totally would have done what you guys did! Thank you for reading!

    1. Totally – free education is the best education! And Don wants to make it a career, so the extra time owed doesn’t bother him at all. Good luck to Andy – when does he apply?

  3. I know so many that took the GRADSO option and are really happy with that choice. Kyle opted against it because he didn’t want to be out of the force for that long.

    1. Don went back and forth about using it because there were a few other options he liked, BUT we decided it would best for our family right now. So far, we’re happy with the decision!

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