Some will arrive in minivans stuffed to capacity with clothes and computers, dormitory décor and distraught parents watching their babies take that first, big step toward independence. Others will travel solo, returning to the town that has become their second home. They’ll settle into amenity-laden dorms and sleek high-rise apartments. Their energy will reach out to every corner of this community. The city will come alive again. The students are returning.
Inside Columbia celebrates this annual return with a handy guide for students (and those of us who would love to relive those glorious college days).
Columbia’s music scene hits all of the right notes, from live music to record stores.
College is all about learning and experiencing new things while earning your degree, and it’s a great time to expand your musical horizons. But music can be more than just listening to Spotify in your dorm room. It can open a door to an interactive, thriving community that is teeming with life in Columbia.
Matt Gerding, the co-owner and operator of two of Columbia’s most popular music venues — The Blue Note and Rose Music Hall — knows and loves CoMo’s music community.
“I am a huge lover of live music,” he says. “It is the very best nightlife option for anyone anywhere at any time, students in particular.”
After Gerding and his business partner Scott Leslie bought The Blue Note — arguably Columbia’s most popular music venue since 1980 — they put the club at 17 N. Ninth St. through a physical transformation, remodeling to create more space and more potential for private events.
The Blue Note now boasts more amazing talent than ever. Acts like Blues Traveler, Tallest Man on Earth and Young the Giant will be making their way to The Blue Note this fall.
In contrast to The Blue Note’s exposure to mainstream, popular acts, Rose Music Hall (formerly known as Mojo’s) at 1013 Park Ave. offers a more intimate, underground experience for concertgoers. The smaller club hosts up-and-coming acts from around the country, such as Hawthorne Heights and Wild Child. But the club is also a hotspot for local talent.
“Rose has a much stronger identity in the local music scene,” Gerding says. “It gives people an outlet to create their art and show it off to everyone. I encourage people to take a chance on shows, whether it’s at The Blue Note or at Rose Music Hall. You might discover your new favorite band and you might have the best night of your life, but you have to get out there and push yourself to try it.”
Other notable local venues for live music include:
Roxy’s, 1025 A E. Broadway, www.roxyscomo.com
The Bridge, 1020 E. Walnut St., www.thebridgecolumbia.com
Missouri Theatre, 203 S. Ninth St., www.concertseries.org/venue/missouri-theatre
The music scene is not limited to live performance venues in Columbia. One of Columbia’s many hidden gems is the small but extensive record store, Hitt Records.
Located directly above 9th Street Video and right next door to Ragtag Cinema, Hitt Records offers an intimate music experience for all. Owner Kyle Cook says vinyl records offer a more personal experience than more modern technology.
“There’s something about getting a record and studying it and reading about it and listening to it,” he says. “It’s like a deeper, truer listen.”
The store offers a listening station for customers to experience the records it offers, along with a reading corner where shoppers can learn more about the music offered within the store.
“We always hoped that this would be a place where people would feel comfortable, and a place where you won’t feel harassed about buying something,” he says. “If you’ve got a question for me, great. If not, I’ll leave you alone. That’s pretty much how we operate.”
Other record stores in Columbia include:
Vinyl Renaissance & Audio of Columbia, 16 N. 10th St., www.vinylren.com
Whether through live shows or shelves of vinyl, Columbia’s vibrant music scene offers much for music buffs. If you love listening to music, be sure to take the time to become an active member of.
Fighting The Freshman 15
Adopting a healthy lifestyle while maintaining your college freedom will help you keep off those dreaded pounds.
Freshman year of college comes with a certain level of freedom. No parents are around to tell you what to do, keep you on a strict schedule or watch what you eat. And while that freedom can be fun and exciting, it also can be very unhealthy.
The legendary weight gain known as the “Freshman 15” is battle many college students must wage during freshman year. Here are a few tips from fitness professional Derik Kincaid, coordinator of personal training at MizzouRec, on how to keep your weight in check.
- Don’t stress about it.
College comes with an already high level of stress. You worry about friends, classes, roommates, and activities along with dozens of other miniscule concepts. Worrying about your weight will only add to the stress buildup.
“I do not believe you need to worry about the ‘Freshman 15’ if you’re being proactive about it,” Kincaid says. “Just don’t stress yourself out.”
Be conscious of your weight and what you need to do to keep it down, but don’t let it dominate your life.
- Make being active fun.
The word “exercise” can be a source of fear for some people; going to the gym is just absolutely not for them. But as it turns out, that’s OK!
“Just get involved in something,” Kincaid says. “It doesn’t have to be weights, it doesn’t have to be running, it doesn’t have to be a ‘workout’ in the normal sense of that word.”
If workouts aren’t for you, make a daily effort to go for a walk. Try hiking and see if that’s an activity you could do once a week. Find an activity that is both active and fun in order to make exercising less daunting.
“It’s about finding something you enjoy and getting yourself moving,” Kincaid says.
- Don’t diet.
“The word ‘dieting’ is kind of taboo because we’re talking about lifestyles here, we’re not talking about a temporary change,” Kincaid says.
Rather than cutting out high-fat or high-carbohydrate food items, it’s more important to make sure you’re eating healthy food more often than you’re eating junk food. It’s OK to indulge in a fatty snack, as long as you indulge responsibly.
“Taking the time to enjoy those things that are looked at as ‘bad’ is fine as long as it is in moderation and you’re still eating the right things the other 80 to 90 percent of the time,” Kincaid says. “If you try to eat perfectly, you’re really just setting yourself up for failure.”
- Keep everything in moderation.
The key to success, Kincaid says, is moderation in all aspects of your life. If you want to eat junk food, do it in moderation. If you want to play video games, do so in moderation. Even if you want to go do an intense workout, do it in moderation. Don’t obsess over any specific aspect of your life. Instead, try to make the individual part of your life balanced.
Dorm Decorating Essentials
You can make even the smallest space feel like home with the right accessories.
Some incoming freshmen look forward to dorm life, and others dread it. But dorm decorating is something everyone looks forward to — right?
Most dormitory rooms seem tiny compared to a student’s room back home, and the small space most likely has to be shared with a roommate. Think of this tiny room as a blank canvas — other than the beds and desks — where students are free to make their side of it look the best it can without breaking any dorm regulations.
Light up your life — and your room — with an attractive lamp and some string lights. It’s nice to have a little light when the room light is turned off, and a cute lamp will spice up a boring desk. A colorful lamp adds an element of fun in contrast to neutral dorm furniture. Hang up string lights on an empty wall and decorate it with pictures, or put the lights up by the bed to create a cozy nook for yourself. You could even line string lights all around the room, with your roommate’s consent.
Because dorm wall and furniture colors are neutral, it’s important to take advantage of your bedding to make it look less plain. Pick colorful bedding with lots of patterns, and tone it down with neutral throw pillows and blankets. Or do it the other way around and pick neutral bedding some fun throw pillows and blankets over it. Keep in mind that bolder colors can make a room look smaller, but there’s nothing wrong with a little accent color. Choose a color scheme, and throw some rugs and curtains in there, too, to complete the look.
Friends will stop by, but with only one desk chair in the room, where will they sit? It never hurts to have extra seating. Pick a chair that’s really comfortable, good for guests and comfortable for you when you don’t want to sit in your hard desk chair anymore. From saucer chairs to poufs and beanbags, there is a wide range of chic seating options that can add another pop of color to your room.
It’s easy to get messy in such a small room with two people, so organization is a must. Use storage bins to organize all the clutter, and keep them under the bed or inside the closet so that the room doesn’t look too full. Consider buying matching hangers. The closet is going to look cluttered with all those clothes, so keep the hangers uniform to make it look neater overall.
A dorm room is home away from home for two semesters; unleash that inner interior designer and have fun decorating!
What Not To Wear
Mom won’t be there to tell you to go back to your room and change.
Oversized T-shirt, athletic shorts, and shower shoes — such a typical college outfit. T-shirts and shorts may be comfortable, but when paired up wrong they often end up creating the gross no-pants look. And although it is very convenient to walk out of your dorm in shower shoes, it doesn’t look all that great for class.
A good alternative to an oversized T-shirt is a loose dress. A boxy tunic dress will feel just like your regular oversized T-shirt. Wear the dress with casual shoes that are good for walking and throw on some jewelry. You will be the class of the class, looking good and feeling great.
Piko tee-shirt dress ($34.99)
TOMS shoes by LaQuist ($95)
Long tassel necklace ($25)
The Unofficial 7
We will neither confirm nor deny participating in any of these Mizzou rites of passage.
The University of Missouri has many traditions — singing “Old Missouri” at football games, the Tiger Walk for incoming freshmen and Tiger Prowl for graduating seniors, taking off your hat as you walk through the Memorial Union archway … the list goes on.
There’s also an unofficial list of traditions that you won’t find on MU’s “Campus Traditions” webpage. These tasks have been passed down by word of mouth throughout the years. Here is your unofficial guide to the unofficial seven things to do before you graduate, ranked from piece-of-cake to highly inadvisable.
- Scream “I love Mizzou!”in the center of Speakers Circle.
Speakers Circle is a place for voices to be heard, so why not use it to profess mad love for your school? Walk to the center, shout as loud as you can and let the amphitheater project your voice throughout campus. Your only risk is looking a little silly.
- Ride the tiger.
If you don’t ever change your Facebook profile photo to you riding the tiger statue, how will people know you even went to Mizzou? The big bronze statue that guards Tiger Plaza is one of the campus’ best photo ops. Go with your friends, help each other up and snap a group photo. But be warned: the tiger is a lot harder to climb up than you’d think — especially in a dress.
- Swim in Brady Fountain.
Brady Fountain is practically begging you to take a splash bath. Take off your shoes, make sure your cellphone isn’t in your pocket, and jump in.
- Streak across the Quad.
Not the most dangerous of tasks, but probably the most embarrassing. If you’re going to have an audience, make sure it’s your close friends who won’t take videos or steal your clothes.
- Kiss the 50–yardline.
This is where things start to get a little difficult. Kissing the 50-yard line at Faurot Field seems like it can only easily be done if you’re actually on the football team. You can try sneaking into the stadium, but you risk getting caught for trespassing. It may be best to cross your fingers and hope the Tigers win another SEC East Championship, prompting everyone to storm the field (which is also frowned upon, but when in Rome …). Take advantage of the opportunity!
- Explore the tunnels.
Rumor has it there’s a labyrinth that winds under campus, just begging to be explored. Pack some snacks and a flashlight, poke around some manholes until you find an entrance, and let the adventure begin. Just don’t get caught.
- Climb Jesse Hall.Warning: Only attempt if you have a death wish. Besides the obvious danger that comes with scaling up the side of a building (mainly, falling and breaking your neck), Jesse is armed with alarms that will bring the police swarming.
CoMo Family Fare
Give visitors a real taste of Columbia
When your family comes to town, skip past the fast food and show them what true Columbia cuisine really means.
Broadway Diner, 22 S. Fourth St.
Cafe Berlin, 220 N. 10th St., www.cafeberlincomo.com
Ernie’s Cafe & Steakhouse, 1005 E. Walnut St., www.erniescolumbia.com
Strange Donuts, 1020 E. Broadway
Pizza Tree, 909 Cherry St., www.pizzatreepizza.com
Main Squeeze, 28 S. Ninth St., www.main-squeeze.com
International Cafe, 26 S. Ninth St., www.internationalcafecolumbia.com
Kampai, 907 Alley A, www.kampaialley.com
Shakespeare’s Pizza, 220 S. Eighth St., www.shakespeares.com
Booches, 110 S. Ninth St.
The Heidelberg, 410 S. Ninth St., www.theheidelberg.com
Flat Branch Pub & Brewing, 115 S. Fifth St., www.flatbranch.com
Addison’s, 709 Cherry St., www.addisonsgrill.com
Hot Box Cookies, 1013 E. Broadway, www.hotboxcookies.com
Sparky’s, 21 S. Ninth St.
Don’t You Forget About Me
You’ll want to remember to pack these conveniences.
Starting college is a crazy period in students’ lives; just three months ago they had to raise their hand to go to the bathroom and now they have to navigate complex financial aid, health care and housing agreements. With all that to think about, it’s easy to forget the basic items that are going to help them get through the next several semesters. Here’s a list of essentials that no college student should be without.
This is going to come in super handy for college roommates who have different sleep schedules and one needs to catch some Z’s while the other needs to cram for an exam the next day. Mighty Bright Black Xtraflex LED book lights from Batt Inc. are available at Barnes & Noble for $6.62.
Flat bins small enough to go under the bed are extremely practical for college students because they help eliminate clutter, which is a must when two people are living in a dorm room the size of an office cubicle. The 41-quart size storage boxes by Sterilite are available at Walmart for $9.57.
Communal bathrooms, aside from being awkward at times, can get downright gnarly. Shower shoes are a must-have for protecting those tootsies. Mesh shower shoes by Walter Drake are available at Walmart for $10.98.
Picture trying to carry shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, a razor, a toothbrush, toothpaste, etc., by hand to the bathroom. Shower caddies are a necessity for that little shower-robed hobble from the dorm room to the bathroom. Basket shower totes are available at Bed Bath & Beyond for $4.99.
Scientific studies suggest 50 percent of student meltdowns are due to the stress of losing money to dorm laundry rooms. Drying racks are a lifesaver after putting eight quarters into a machine and still getting damp clothes. Compact Clothes Drying Racks by Polder are available at Bed Bath & Beyond for $19.99.
College Without A Car
It’s easy to get around Columbia without four wheels.
Mizzou students come from all walks of life — busy metropolitan areas, international provinces and rural towns right here in Missouri. For those who aren’t from here, getting about Columbia might seem daunting at first, but there are plenty of options for newcomers.
Most of Columbia has bike lanes, so students who don’t have cars should consider bringing their bikes from home or buying one once they get to Columbia. There are plenty of stores that sell bikes — from vintage to mountain — and expert repair shops for fixing and replacing broken parts. Students also may bikes check out bikes for free from the MU Student Center. Come as early as 7 a.m. to check one out and ride it anywhere in Columbia as long as it’s returned by 11 p.m. the same day. Having a bike helps students explore more of Columbia’s many nature trails, including the MKT Trail that intersects Columbia and leads directly to Katy Trail State Park.
Another option for getting around Columbia without a car is the city’s public transportation system, COMO Connect. The bus service features 11 different routes that carry people anywhere from the mall to the grocery store, and fares start as low as $1.50 per ride. Frequent riders can purchase a one-day, one-month or yearlong pass. Most students qualify for a discount rate. An added feature of COMO Connect is its bus-tracking system, DoubleMap, which allows students to check from their computer, tablet, or phone to see when the next bus is coming.
On Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights students can take advantage of a free-ride service known as STRIPES. Founded as a way to combat drunk driving in Columbia, STRIPES stands for Supportive Tigers Riding in Pursuit of Ensuring Safety. Mizzou students are free to call the service between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. if they’re getting out of work late, trying to escape a bad date, or just need to get home safely from a party.
For those who opt out of living on campus after freshman year, know that some of Columbia’s off-campus housing features free shuttle services. Pick up a shuttle pass after signing a lease. Each apartment complex has its own hours for runs; schedules are readily available.
Another idea to consider is making friends with people who have cars. Find out if a co-worker, roommate or classmate has a car and buy them coffee. That person will become a best friend, but be sure to pitch in for gas if you want the friendship to last.
Or, try walking. Much of Columbia is accessible by foot. As a side benefit, walking helps ward off that pesky “Freshman 15.”