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I am seriously considering going to Mizzou for grad school. Any thoughts on the city or tips before I move?

I live in Columbia. Rent here is pretty cheap and crime's not much of an issue so long as you stay out of the areas that are clearly pseudo slums. It's a university town, so there are undergrads everywhere. East campus can get pretty loud, so you might want to think twice about living there even if the house/apartment appeals to you. STAY AWAY FROM COPPER BEACH. Their apartments have all kinds of terrible structural and electrical problems. I would also suggest avoiding all Remi properties. Despite what the student population says, there is plenty of parking available on campus. Buy a parking pass and you'll be fine. There's also a free bus line that runs through campus, although you can easily walk. The city's bus system isn't, from what I understand, particularly good.

Commuting is fairly easy in Columbia even during rush hour, but this will likely depend on where you're driving to/from. The paint the city uses on its roads isn't reflective, so it can make driving in the dark during rain a bit of a pain. The city is also incapable of handling winter weather, so prepared to face terrible road conditions whenever a light dusting of snow hits town.

There are a number of good restaurants in Columbia: India's House, Bangkok Gardens, Shakespeare's Pizza, Boone Tavern, Addison's, Flatbranch, and the Heidelberg (I'm not a big fan of theirs, but practically everyone else is and it's right next to campus).

Let me know if you have more specific questions.

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I'm considering attending Mizzou too. I want to know typically how much would a couple cost in Columbia, including housing and life expenses. Is it convient to go to the movies, concerts or other entertainment? And how's the weather like there? Does it rain or snow frequently?

Thank you.

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I'm considering attending Mizzou too. I want to know typically how much would a couple cost in Columbia, including housing and life expenses. Is it convient to go to the movies, concerts or other entertainment? And how's the weather like there? Does it rain or snow frequently?

Thank you.

Columbia is generally pretty cheap, but the prices are variable. The three bedroom townhouse I live in costs $780 a month plus about $120 for cable and internet, probably an average of about $50 for gas, and around $120 for other utilities. There are some fairly nice one bedrooms on Providence south of Nifong that cost, I think, $620 a month including utilities. Providence Court, or something. They also have two bedrooms. Their neighborhood is pretty quiet. Keep in mind that a lot of the apartment complexes are full of undergrads. I dunno if that's a problem for you or not. If it is, make sure you give the place a good looking over and ask other students in your program about it, if possible.

Columbia is really easy to get around as long as you have a car. Parking isn't much of an issue; there are meters and garages downtown and plenty of parking on campus (just make sure you buy a parking pass). There are two first run theaters in town and one artsy one that shows a lot of independent and older films. I don't know what kind of music you like, but a lot of mid-level rock bands (Breaking Benjamin, Sevendust, Chevelle, etc.) play at the Blue Note. Kenny Chesney has a concert at the basketball arena seemingly every six months. Jesse Auditorium hosts a lot of speakers, comedians, musicians, and plays (the last two are generally aimed at the older crowd, though). Mizzou's football and baseball teams are very good if you're interested in watching sports. There's also other sports like basketball (they may be good again someday...), soccer, swimming, volleyball, gymnastics, wrestling, etc.

Columbia gets about 25 inches of snow a year. Despite this, the city is seemingly incapable of taking care of the roads during winter weather. If you get hit with six or more inches of snow overnight, expect to be stuck at your house for the day unless you live on a main road or within walking distance of campus. Driving can be tricky even when the city only gets 1 or 2 inches, too, just because no one knows how to handle it and the city doesn't help things.

As for rain, my view is skewed because I used to live in Portland, OR. Virtually everywhere seems dry in comparison. :D

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Go to Sparky's, the neon green local ice cream shop downtown with the ceramic bulldog in the front ... or maybe it got stolen again, I'm not sure, still go there. You can get normal flavors, then they have dairy free ice cream and weird stuff like red wine chocolate chunk sundaes and white russian shakes. Everyone likes Sparkys. There's also Buck's on campus for more fresh local ice cream. The frozen indulgent flavor is amazing. Both places are seasonal so get your fill while you can.

Also go to Ragtag. It's a theater that shows less mainstream movies and has a bar, so you can watch a movie and eat kit kats with a pint. I always got a cup of coffee and a bag of popcorn and I think it was $2.25 for both. They merged a local bakery with it a year or two back, so that's kind of neat. Around March, there's a weekend film fest that takes over downtown called True/False. Things sell out fast, but they do what they can to make sure as many people get in as possible. It's fun to see all the different venues that don't usually show movies, like the Missouri Theater and the Tiger Hotel. It's more fun to go with a friend because sometimes you end up waiting in line for quite a bit.

Apartments are kind of hit or miss so you really have to check them out. I'd personally avoid places up north by Columbia College. It's not that there's a lot of crime in Columbia, but there have been some break-ins there. If you do live there, lock your windows and doors and you'll probably be fine. A guy snuck in my friend's window and it was pretty bad for her roommates, but that's not too common. Around Stephens College seems to be okay. East campus is where all the undergrads go after they leave the dorms, so it can be pretty loud, though it's cheap and close to campus. Bearfield, south of campus, is the other place the undergrads go. My friends had a grill stolen and sometimes people just walk into houses, but it's usually people being dumb or drunk. Both are perfectly livable and I know quiet people who have been fine there, it's just generally noisier. I've only lived west of campus. It's a little less campus-y.

Use caution with Hinshaw and Remi rental companies. I've heard people who had success with them, but heard a whole lot of bad things. I have a lot of things to say about Hinshaw ... I think he means well, but there were so many weird things about my apartment and contract that really wore on me after a year. bleh. anyway. Columbia is kind of uneventful but it's pleasant.

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I've lived in Columbia for four years now and I've loved it. It's a small city that can get boring, but I've always managed to find stuff to do. Ragtag Cinema is great, especially since they moved into a new building. They have a bar there which is a good place to hangout. The Blue Fugue is a good place for local music. The Blue Note is a bigger concert venue that gets a lot of good national acts. Shakespeare's Pizza is my favorite place for pizza (it's a bit expensive, but I think it's worth it.). They are also my favorite place to go drink. I also like Flatbranch for food and beer. Great food and they brew there own beer.

I've rented apartments from both REMI and Hinshaw. I would avoid REMI at all costs. They were terrible, the apartment was terrible and almost everyone I know who rents from them has issues. I've rented from Hinshaw twice and I have had no problems with them. My current apartment is nice and they have been helpful if anything goes wrong. But defiantly go see apartments because Columbia landlords are somewhat notorious for a variety of reasons. Rent in Columbia is very cheap. I've lived on East Campus and liked it; It can get loud because of the Undergrads. Westcampus is where I currently live. It's nicer than the east side and still close to campus.

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Thanks for the info everybody! We'll definitely check out the ice cream and pizza places. And we love movies, so all the movie place suggestions are right on target.

Thebeard, are you still in the MFA program? I finished my MFA in 2006 and now I'm getting ready to do my PhD this fall. I was just curious how the community is within the department there. Do MFAs and PhDs hang out together or is there an unspoken divide? Our MFA program was pretty cool and also in a small town so everyone hung out and there were lots of house parties and things to do, but when I did my MA, I was in a bigger town and it was very weird. No real togetherness, all the going out was at bars and happened very seldom, the students were all very young and the division between the MAs, the PhDs and the rest of the crowd (no MFA program there) was very sharp. My boyfriend is also an MFA/writer and we definitely love to hang out, go to bars, go to movies, talk to other writers, etc. We're also a little older than the typical grad student (I should say: we're older than the typical MA/MFA), so I was curious about that mix as well.

Thanks for the advice. Can't wait for some of that pizza!

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So, I was recently accepted into the University of Missouri at Columbia and was wondering if anyone on here has any background information on it. I have family that lives in St. Louis and two of my cousins have been here (loved it), but that was 10 years ago, so I was wondering if you had any ideas about it?

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So, I was recently accepted into the University of Missouri at Columbia and was wondering if anyone on here has any background information on it. I have family that lives in St. Louis and two of my cousins have been here (loved it), but that was 10 years ago, so I was wondering if you had any ideas about it?

Columbia is a great town, but a tad small. Almost every state has one or two real "college" towns, and Columbia is certainly that. Personally, I wouldn't live there without a car. MU is a major university with a huge student body... so there's plenty to do. Lots of great restaurants, theaters, and parks... Cost of living is probably right at the national average, but definitely cheaper than a major city (assuming car-ownership in both scenarios).

You're a tad closer to St. Louis than Kansas City, but I'd definitely hit both up while you're there. (I grew up in Kansas City, so I'm a bit partial.) Though you'd probably find the drive in either direction is a tad prohibitive if you were imagining making the trip often.

Edited by qweticowoods

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I have family in St. Louis and just remembered that my great uncle is emeritus in bio at Columbia - it's one of the problems with having a large Catholic family, you forget who you are related to! I will definitely be making the trip often. I am getting a car. Currently, I am 4 hours from home. I wouldn't even consider that prohibitive with a car (but I don't have one, so I must rent/catch a ride). I love St. Louis and have been to Kansas City once on the way to Colorado when I was 9, but I don't remember it, so I will check it out! Thanks for the heads up!

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Columbia is generally pretty cheap, but the prices are variable. The three bedroom townhouse I live in costs $780 a month plus about $120 for cable and internet, probably an average of about $50 for gas, and around $120 for other utilities. There are some fairly nice one bedrooms on Providence south of Nifong that cost, I think, $620 a month including utilities. Providence Court, or something. They also have two bedrooms. Their neighborhood is pretty quiet. Keep in mind that a lot of the apartment complexes are full of undergrads. I dunno if that's a problem for you or not. If it is, make sure you give the place a good looking over and ask other students in your program about it, if possible.

Columbia is really easy to get around as long as you have a car. Parking isn't much of an issue; there are meters and garages downtown and plenty of parking on campus (just make sure you buy a parking pass). There are two first run theaters in town and one artsy one that shows a lot of independent and older films. I don't know what kind of music you like, but a lot of mid-level rock bands (Breaking Benjamin, Sevendust, Chevelle, etc.) play at the Blue Note. Kenny Chesney has a concert at the basketball arena seemingly every six months. Jesse Auditorium hosts a lot of speakers, comedians, musicians, and plays (the last two are generally aimed at the older crowd, though). Mizzou's football and baseball teams are very good if you're interested in watching sports. There's also other sports like basketball (they may be good again someday...), soccer, swimming, volleyball, gymnastics, wrestling, etc.

Columbia gets about 25 inches of snow a year. Despite this, the city is seemingly incapable of taking care of the roads during winter weather. If you get hit with six or more inches of snow overnight, expect to be stuck at your house for the day unless you live on a main road or within walking distance of campus. Driving can be tricky even when the city only gets 1 or 2 inches, too, just because no one knows how to handle it and the city doesn't help things.

As for rain, my view is skewed because I used to live in Portland, OR. Virtually everywhere seems dry in comparison. :D

I have lived in Columbia for the past five years, and we have NEVER gotten 25 inches of snow. Maybe a few inches here and there... and super cold weather from November- End of February, but thats about as bad as it gets. I came from Southern California, so the weather was a HUGE adjustment for me... but its not that bad. In terms of housing, there are TONS of places to rent downtown and within walking distance to campus. East campus is affordable, but mostly filled with undergrads and lots of partying. I live just north of the court house and its really quiet and the cost of living is really affordable (1000 sq. foot two bedroom one bath house for only $625/ mo)

If you have any questions feel free to message me!

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More opinions please. :)

I was there over the weekend.

Struck me as reasonable size college town, with decent coffee houses (a nice surprise).

Cost of living seems easy on a RA/TA, at the very least.

Edited by hubris

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I'm thinking about going to Mizzou (if I'm accepted, that is) and I have a question: I'm an international student and I don't have a car and don't plan to buy one (can't afford it and I'll have to leave after graduation so there's not really a point in buying a car for me...). Is it very inconvenient to get around in Columbia without a car?

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I have lived in Columbia for the past five years, and we have NEVER gotten 25 inches of snow. Maybe a few inches here and there... and super cold weather from November- End of February, but thats about as bad as it gets. I came from Southern California, so the weather was a HUGE adjustment for me... but its not that bad. In terms of housing, there are TONS of places to rent downtown and within walking distance to campus. East campus is affordable, but mostly filled with undergrads and lots of partying. I live just north of the court house and its really quiet and the cost of living is really affordable (1000 sq. foot two bedroom one bath house for only $625/ mo)

If you have any questions feel free to message me!

Forgive me if I'm speaking out of turn, but I think the poster you are quoting meant that they get 25 inches for the whole year. An few inches here and there usually adds up to 25 inches. :)

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I'm thinking about going to Mizzou (if I'm accepted, that is) and I have a question: I'm an international student and I don't have a car and don't plan to buy one (can't afford it and I'll have to leave after graduation so there's not really a point in buying a car for me...). Is it very inconvenient to get around in Columbia without a car?

I have visited Columbia a couple of times, so keep that in mind.

Seems to be a typical college town, in that there is a bus system and a large bike track system.

I think it could be done, but YMMV.

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I'm thinking about going to Mizzou (if I'm accepted, that is) and I have a question: I'm an international student and I don't have a car and don't plan to buy one (can't afford it and I'll have to leave after graduation so there's not really a point in buying a car for me...). Is it very inconvenient to get around in Columbia without a car?

As someone without a car, you're going to want to live right near or on campus (I believe a lot of the international students live in Tara Apts), or in the apartment complexes that aren't university run but are like, 98% undergrads which offer bus services as part of living there. Those would be The Reserve, Campus Lodge, Gateway at Columbia, Grindstone Canyon, Brookside Townhomes, Broadway Apartments, and the Cottages of Columbia. I do NOT recommend The Reserve. There are also three apartment buildings *directly* on the campus that are not campus-run but are VERY difficult to get into.

As a note, all stores (mall, grocery, Walmart, Target, etc) are located on sort of opposite ends of town and away from the university. So you will either have to use the not-awesome-but-not-worst-ever public transportation, or make friends with someone who has a car.

ETA: if you enjoy biking, this town is for you. I know people with cars that prefer to bike to campus and the stores. I personally think it's too far, but perhaps, not being a lazy American, you wouldn't find it too bad.

Edited by fsmn36

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Hi everyone,

I will start my graduate life at Missouri- Columbia this coming Fall 2011. But I have no idea about living on campus or off campus, which one is cheaper and how much for a one bedroom apartment. I would like to rent a one bedroom apartment (because I am married) close to University of Missouri-Columbia around the middle of July and in a secure place (the most important one) , so please give me any advice you think that is good for me. If you know any good place, please give my some detail information (if it is possible), for example, the contact phone number, email, how far to the Mizzou.

Thank you very much for helping me.

Phi

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Any updated information on Columbia? In particular, I'm looking for word on housing. I am considering Mizzou and would like to know about apartment complex that are affordable, nice, and close to campus (I won't have a car). Also, any word on what utilities/cable and internet cost would be really helpful when weighing my options.

Thanks!

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@brancan-- I've lived in Columbia for 7 years now (but a few of those were on campus) and have lived in several different apartment complexes, as well as a few houses. Prices are all over the map. I'm paying $600 for a 2 bedroom right now on the south side of town-- but that's a pretty sweet deal. I lived in a 2 bedroom apartment in Providence Court (which includes all utilities+ cable+ washer/dryer) for about $900 a month. A three bedroom house can be anywhere from $850- $1200, not including utilities. Most landlords assume their tenants will have roommates.

Most people get cable through Mediacom and much like every other cable company, it seems to cost more than it's worth. We actually only pay for the "basic" cable and internet, so our bill is only $45 a month. Full cable and internet can run you about $80-$100. There are a few other options in town, Mediacom just has the widest service area.

We do have a bus system. I don't personally use it so I can't attest to its reliability. There are apartment complexes which have their own shuttle services, mainly Brookside which is on the south side of town. Living there is kind of pricey-- but if transportation is important to you, it might be worth it. As for living close to campus, there are a lot of older houses east of campus known as "East Campus" (very creative).

Shop around, and feel free to PM me if you want any input. I would start looking now, as rentals and renewals are in full swing by March around here.

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@brancan-- I've lived in Columbia for 7 years now (but a few of those were on campus) and have lived in several different apartment complexes, as well as a few houses. Prices are all over the map. I'm paying $600 for a 2 bedroom right now on the south side of town-- but that's a pretty sweet deal. I lived in a 2 bedroom apartment in Providence Court (which includes all utilities+ cable+ washer/dryer) for about $900 a month. A three bedroom house can be anywhere from $850- $1200, not including utilities. Most landlords assume their tenants will have roommates.

Most people get cable through Mediacom and much like every other cable company, it seems to cost more than it's worth. We actually only pay for the "basic" cable and internet, so our bill is only $45 a month. Full cable and internet can run you about $80-$100. There are a few other options in town, Mediacom just has the widest service area.

We do have a bus system. I don't personally use it so I can't attest to its reliability. There are apartment complexes which have their own shuttle services, mainly Brookside which is on the south side of town. Living there is kind of pricey-- but if transportation is important to you, it might be worth it. As for living close to campus, there are a lot of older houses east of campus known as "East Campus" (very creative).

Shop around, and feel free to PM me if you want any input. I would start looking now, as rentals and renewals are in full swing by March around here.

Thanks for the info. I've been looking at places online, but I haven't made a decision on schools yet, so that's kind of tough. I'm still waiting to hear from a few programs. I did look at Providence Court. Or their duplexes, at least. I'm a single person, so they seem to have places for $680-710, inclusive. That's WAY cheaper than here in Toronto.

Surprisingly, though, I pay less than you for cable and internet. I was hoping it would be cheaper, but a lot of places seem to include it, so maybe I will take advantage of that. I believe Brookside only has two-bedrooms or more. Have you heard anything about The Courtyard, Columbia Crossing, or the Greens? How about The Reserve? I'm not so into the idea of a furnished place, but it seemed okay.

I know that I'm getting ahead of myself by looking now before I've even decided on a school, but the apartment hunt is the thing that's stressing me out the most. I'm only from Canada, but I'm still an international student, and Missouri is really far from home. And very foreign to me.

Thanks again for your help! I'm assuming Providence apartments/duplexes were okay?

Also, what are utilities like? I know that I was shocked by how much electricity was in Upstate New York. I don't pay much now, so I'm trying to get a feel for how much that would go up with the move. I've seen some ads on craigslist that say it's $100 for utilities for 2 people, but I saw another that said it's $75-150 EACH for 3 people. That's an exaggeration, right?

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@brancan my roommate last year was from around Toronto-- she always thought it was funny that Missourians get nervous driving on a few inches of snow, haha.

The Greens is on the north side of town, which is farther away from campus. A lot of people who use the bus system live in The Reserve-- I believe it's right on the line. It's also around several other apartment complexes (Copperbeech, Grindstone Canyon).

I really liked living in Providence Court because it was all inclusive and the rental agency, DBC Rentals, was great. They have two locations-- both on South Providence. The one farther south is the nicer of the two complexes. I know there's a bus stop nearby.

Cable and internet is just a money pit in the Midwest-- and I assume that's the case for most of the U.S. There are so few companies who provide the services in each area that there's almost no competition to keep prices down. I watch most of my shows online. I do get my internet for only $20/month from Mediacom because they were having a special.

As for utilities-- they vary greatly depending on which services you're getting from the city and whether you're paying for gas and electric or just electric. Each complex you talk to should be able to tell you the average utility payment for the different sized apartments. The utility companies also have that information. Ballpark figure for one person would be between $60 and $80.

I think it's smart to take an in-depth look at the area where you might live. It'll help you make a better decision in the end!

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@brancan my roommate last year was from around Toronto-- she always thought it was funny that Missourians get nervous driving on a few inches of snow, haha.

The Greens is on the north side of town, which is farther away from campus. A lot of people who use the bus system live in The Reserve-- I believe it's right on the line. It's also around several other apartment complexes (Copperbeech, Grindstone Canyon).

I really liked living in Providence Court because it was all inclusive and the rental agency, DBC Rentals, was great. They have two locations-- both on South Providence. The one farther south is the nicer of the two complexes. I know there's a bus stop nearby.

Cable and internet is just a money pit in the Midwest-- and I assume that's the case for most of the U.S. There are so few companies who provide the services in each area that there's almost no competition to keep prices down. I watch most of my shows online. I do get my internet for only $20/month from Mediacom because they were having a special.

As for utilities-- they vary greatly depending on which services you're getting from the city and whether you're paying for gas and electric or just electric. Each complex you talk to should be able to tell you the average utility payment for the different sized apartments. The utility companies also have that information. Ballpark figure for one person would be between $60 and $80.

I think it's smart to take an in-depth look at the area where you might live. It'll help you make a better decision in the end!

Thank you so much!

That's funny about your roommate, because I'm originally from Ottawa (and did my MA in Syracuse) and laugh at people in Toronto who complain about the snow. So I'm sure Missouri winters will be a breeze. I'm definitely not worried about that.

A poster above had reservation about The Reserve, so that kind of scares me. I'm also not so into the furnished apartments that seem to be EVERYWHERE in Columbia. I have a lot of stuff, and I also don't like the idea of using someone else's bed. It would make me feel like I was back in residence, and that didn't go too well the first time. :)

I have been looking at Providence Hill (versus Providence Court), which would make it the less nice of the 2 locations. I hope it's still nice. It's on the night shuttle route from campus, which makes it very attractive. And the all-inclusiveness is awesome. I will keep looking around, as it's still very early.

Thanks again for the info. I'm sure I will be back with more questions (especially if I decide to go and have to make the move!)

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I also really enjoyed living in a 2 bedroom at Katy Place. They have a really great pool and tennis court and only allow grad students (or those 21+).

Good luck making your decision! If you do decide to come to Columbia, I'm more than happy to help!

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My wife and I have lived in Columbia for the last year and a half while I get my MA. We'll be leaving this summer for another program or job and we already know we'll miss it terribly. It's a really nice big-little town. We live at the Lake Broadway Townhomes on W, Broadway. I highly suggest it for anyone who doesn't want to live near students, but live close enough to the action that a half hour walk up the street from downtown gets you home. Our rent is only $900/month for a two bedroom, two bathroom townhome. Plus, it includes EVERYTHING (electric, cable, internet, garbage, water, etc).

There is quite a bit to do here. I really enjoy all of the nature areas. There are only two real downsides in my opinion. First, there is really nothing outside of Columbia. KC is a few hours to the west, St. Louis an hour and a half or so to the east. Outside of that, don't expect much. The other problem has to do with the rate of growth in Columbia. The city is in the middle of a pretty significant population boom. Many of the street lights and roads, however, have not been adapted to the increase in cars. It can get pretty hectic. Couple that with the city's desire to allow bike riders a lane in the road and you've got a pretty big mess around rush hour (and many other times of the day). Still, this is minor in my mind. If I could have transitioned into a PhD program here (my dept doesn't have one), I wouldn't have hesitated to live here longer. Anyone with a spouse should not feel bad about bringing them to the middle of Missouri either. My wife has probably made more friends than I have and will probably miss the town the most.

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