There’s no place like home

Banners+hang+from+the+columns+on+Francis+Quadrangle.+Photo+by+Asa+Lory

Banners hang from the columns on Francis Quadrangle. Photo by Asa Lory

Ji-Ho Lee

Banners hang from the columns on the campus of the University of Missouri – Columbia. The columns and the campus, both highlights of the city, have been put to shame the actions and events that have unfolded in recent months.
In 2015, Livability.com labeled Columbia, Mo as the third best college town to live in. More recently, in 2016, the city was selected as the 46th best placed to live in, nationally. Despite the issues with the racism, the protests, the infringements of the First Amendment, the drug issues of the college football team and the scandals that tear down the college’s student government, let’s take a look at why Columbia, Mo is still a great place to live.
The views. Any Columbia resident will tell you that the city boasts some of the most strikingly beautiful sunrises, sunsets and afternoon skies in the country. In order to compliment this natural gorgeousness, the city has decided to add massive construction plans — putting up road signs, cutting down trees and building massive mounds of dirt. After all, nothing says, “That’s a great sunset,” like a dump truck and a detour sign.
The traffic. Columbia, Mo has schools, which is terrific. After all, education is very important. It is, however, difficult to receive an education when students of three different schools must use the same routes to get to their respective school.  This is, of course, simply a stroke of genius from the city of Columbia. Education departments have been trying tirelessly to improve communication skills amongst students. Why not sharpen those skills during a 30-minute expedition in the car on your way to school. Furthermore, sociologists and psychologists can all agree that the family dynamic is slowly but surely deteriorating in the country. Columbia just wants to keep families together. Sure, it might turn a 10-minute drive into a half-hour journey, but it’s all for a good cause.
The traffic, Part 2. Columbia has roads, which is terrific. Every city should have roads. One would expect that if a city had roads, especially roads leading into large neighborhoods, those roads would be left open. But not Columbia. According to FindTheHome.com, there are nearly 1,000 people living in the Thornbrook neighborhood. This includes 1,000 people with friends, families and jobs they wish to get to in a timely manner. Although it may seem like a large hassle for a 5-minute drive to turn into a 40-minute detour, it’s really a simple plan by the city to improve lives. After all, following a long day at the office, you need some time to yourself to unwind; time that is so generously offered by the city of Columbia as you drive yourself halfway around town to avoid construction.
The family-friendly atmosphere. Columbia could be one of the friendliest cities in the nation, on weekdays. The downtown area is lively with great cuisine and shopping, on weekdays. The people are generally friendly and warm-hearted, on weekdays. But the downtown nightlife gets even better on the weekends, especially during football season. After all, who doesn’t love the profanity-laced, derogatory chit chat of drunk college students to wrap up a Saturday night with the family. These students are accompanied by the piles of frustrating traffic, as fans migrate from Faurot Field to their respective homes. All of these fun festivities are topped off by the Sunday morning walk to religious services, accompanied by the overflowing litter of beer cans and bottles.
The equal and honest University of Columbia – Missouri. In November of 2015, college students took to buildings, streets and open grass fields to celebrate. Not because their team had performed brilliantly on the football field, but because the system president was fired. This makes you wonder just how great of a job would that president would have to have done in order to spark a celebration upon his resignation.  
The equal and honest University of Columbia – Missouri, Part 2. Lots of the local kids look up to the college athletes, which is both a both a typical and cool sight. It’s especially wonderful when the star players on the team are charged with marijuana, assault and cocaine. Oh, wait, kids aren’t supposed to look up to people who do drugs and are charged with rape? Well, that definitely changes things. Hopefully, next season, Missouri football can have more wins than players charged with illegal extracurriculars, but that could be wishful thinking.
In all seriousness, Columbia, Mo is a wonderful place to live. I’ve called this city home for the last 17 years. But this place needs help, and that is a statement that nobody can refute. So the next time somebody says, “Columbia is a wonderful place to live,” they are absolutely right. Columbia is a place with wonderful places and wonderful people. But understand that this wonderful place to live can get much, much better.