The decision is coming down to this:
(A) School and city I love, advisor I adore/worship, beautiful apartment with MY OWN WASHING MACHINE AND DRYER, generous funding package, no major lifestyle change other than a slight pay raise. Same school as undergrad and my masters, and is ranked #1 in the country for my field.
(B) Totally new school, new (big scary) city, major increase in cost of living with not a huge increase in funding, and the two potential advisors (both have said they are willing to work with me, but it wouldn't be decided officially until I get there) who are supposedly (according to former/current students) wonderfully supportive and responsive but very very busy. And sometimes a tad hard to access. The department is relatively new and not ranked, but the faculty is made up of super-celeb professors.
I had thought I'd be going to School A almost from the beginning. Then I got into School B and they offered me a fancy fellowship and I took a second look, and convinced myself I wanted to go there. Now I don't know.
School A feels safe. School B would mean living in a giant terrifying city, probably in a shitty apartment with roommates and rats and roaches. But something about School B feels so incredibly thrilling. I'm excited by the research happening there, and I've already found about 10 people I want to work with. But School A has my beloved advisor J, who has been so good to me and always has my back no matter what.
I worry that I'm setting myself up for trouble by uprooting my life just when things have started to settle. Do I really want to risk it?
But do I really want to give up on something just because I'm scared?
Part of me wishes I'd never even applied to School B. And part of me just wants a new university e-mail address and a different color college sweatshirt.