No parents, no problem: A guide to amenities around Columbia

Taking care of your basic necessities is easy once you know where to go around campus.

Your friends and family might have stressed you out about living in “the real world” after you move to college, but don’t fret. Sure, mom won’t be there to buy you groceries or do your laundry, but the MU campus and Columbia are in many ways a haven for young adults learning to live on their own. But before you leave the nest, here’s a guide to the amenities at your new home.


Doing laundry is a new experience for plenty of new college students, so don’t feel embarrassed if you’ve never done it before. Every residence hall has a laundry room. It’s most likely located in the basement. The washers and dryers are coin-operated, but you can also student charge laundry. Although plenty of students will put in a load of laundry and come back when it’s finished, it’s best to bring some homework and wait for your clothes to be done. Don’t be surprised if you return to find your wet clothes in a pile on the floor, especially if you used the machines during rush hour. Sunday nights are usually the most crowded, but you can avoid the rush by checking for available washers and dryers ahead of time using If you want to save a little money or be a little more eco-friendly, drying racks are available to check out at the front desks of most residence halls.


It’s a good idea to open an account at a local bank if you don’t want to end up racking up ATM fees during your time at MU. If you’re ready for a change, there are several different banking options on campus and in Columbia. The MU Student Center has a U.S. Bank and U.S. Bank ATM, as well as UMB Bank and Boone County National Bank ATMs. The Tigers Credit Union is located on the lower level of Memorial Union, and there are ATMs for the Tigers Credit Union and Boone County National Bank on the main level.

In the downtown Columbia area, there are also local branches of the U.S. Bank, Boone County National Bank, Premier Bank, Landmark Bank, Bank of America and Commerce Bank.


Even if you think you’ve thought of everything, the last minute trip to Target or Walmart on move-in day is almost unavoidable. Target is hosting an after-hours shopping event from 10:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m on. Aug. 19, with buses departing from Hatch Hall, the student center, Lowry Mall and Laws Hall. For more information, check out the Facebook page. Of course, you can always drive or bum a ride from a friend to Target or Walmart throughout the year. Most items you need are available at the bookstore, including toiletries and organizational needs.

Depending on your meal plan, you might want or need to buy additional groceries for variety, or just to have some snacks in your room. If you need a Red Bull or pack of Ramen Noodles at 1 a.m., head to a Mizzou Market. The markets are open at three different locations — one on Hitt Street in Pershing Commons, one inside the student center and one in Center Commons — and they carry microwaveable meals, beverages, snack food and some cleaning and toiletry items.

The selection in the markets is limited to mostly necessities, so if you need baking supplies or you’re looking for something specific, your best bet is to go to a local grocery store. Hy-Vee and Schnucks are both a short drive away, with the latter on West Broadway Street and the former on Forum Boulevard. Another option is the Columbia Farmers Market, which is open from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday mornings, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays from late March to November behind the Activities and Recreation Center.

Books Buying from the bookstore is most likely the easiest way to get your books, but it’s usually not the cheapest. Early Bird textbook reservations through the bookstore allow you to pick up all of your books in one stop a few days before classes. To take advantage of this option, sign up at and then pick up your books in the lower level of the bookstore from Friday, August 12, to Tuesday, August 23. You can select a preference for used, rental and e-books using this option, and you also don’t have to go running through the store trying to find your books.

The downside to this is that you might have to spend hours waiting in line at the bookstore, and then haul your box back to your dorm. A similar option is to order your books from the bookstore, and they will ship to your house starting August 1, or as soon as received.

If you’re looking to save some money, look to Amazon or Amazon Student offers free two-day shipping on some items, and up to 90 percent off on textbooks with the choice of buying or renting e-books. The downside to using Amazon is that you can’t rent textbooks, but you might end up buying the books cheaper than you would pay for a textbook rental elsewhere. offers e-books and used books, and offers rentals as well. You might not be able to avoid the bookstore entirely, though, as some professors use books they wrote themselves that you cannot purchase anywhere else.

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