So, I could use some advice. I've narrowed my options down to two schools, but there's a lot of pros and cons for both programs and I'm having a hard time deciding.
School A: A state school, but well regarded. PI has tenure but is still young-ish, great track record of getting students to publish and go to post docs. Research is interesting, and would teach me a few new techniques (at least). Cons: It's a tiny town, with an army of undergrads in residence. Stipend is pretty low, but I've been nominated for a fellowship. My SO might have a hard time finding work there. LOTS of required courses (2.5 years worth).
School B: Private, more renowned school. In a big city, which is one of my favorite places. I would have to learn a LOT to keep up, but it's new skills and branches that I've been interested in learning for awhile (genomics). Cons: Everyone has "warned" me that the PI is "intense" (their word). She definitely seems really driven, as she is up for tenure this year. I can tell she's not mean, per se, but it seems like she expects you to live your life in the lab and doesn't tolerate nonsense. No graduated students yet, due to some truly unfortunate cases where her animals died thanks to building maintenance and her lab had to be shut down. She has a 3rd year and two 1st years now, who all agree she is an excellent mentor but very, very tough.