Basics

On Moving to St. Louis

Having visited the city only once in my life, I was a little worried about moving to St. Louis. What exactly was I getting myself into? However, St. Louis is so much better than I ever expected. The rent is really cheap compared to what I was used to back home and other living expenses are generally much lower, too. It’s a driving-friendly city (hardly any traffic) and pretty much everything is within a 20-minute drive. There’s plenty to do here, from the zoo to the art museum to the Anheuser-Busch brewery and the Arch. And it seems like there is some sort of festival going on every weekend. Best yet, Forest Park, one of the biggest urban parks in America, is a block away from the medical school. People are fairly friendly and it is not unusual for strangers to say “hi” when you pass on the street. There are plenty of wonderful restaurants — especially in the Central West End — and lots of great places to get a beer with friends. St. Louis is a great place to live and before long you might just start thinking of it as home.

— Ethan T., M1

On Finding Your Own Housing Off Campus

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St. Louis offers a huge selection of off-campus housing options.

Living in Olin is tempting — however, taking the extra step to find your own place can be worth it, especially if you want your own bathroom and kitchen. The apartment tours during second-look are a great opportunity to see the apartments yourself, but don’t worry if you can’t make it; we’ve also compiled a ton of information in the housing section of this Dis-O Guide about places to live! (I found my apartment by checking out places from the Dis-O Guide and it worked well for me, but feel free to look elsewhere. There are a lot of other nice places, too!) As you think about housing, it’s important to consider your priorities … Do you need a pet-friendly building? How much are you willing to spend? Do you want to walk to school or live further from campus? Once you’ve got all of that figured out, find places that meet your needs. Then, either come to St. Louis to check them out in person or call the leasing managers to compare your options!

— Kelly M., M1

On Owning Your Place

Owning your own place is highly recommended, assuming you can afford the initial investment and are able to settle into a place for the next few years. Real estate in St. Louis is very (very!) affordable, and you will save gazillions on rent. Literally, gazillions! Not long after my roommate from college decided to join me here for med school, we took our bromance to the next level by going halfsies on a condo in DeBaliviere. We are very happy with our decision and our relationship has never been stronger. There is really nothing like waking up in the morning knowing that the smelly, shirtless guy in the next room will be a constant in your life for the rest of med school. Above all, it’s nice to have a stable, dependable man around to do your dishes and take out your garbage. Many people in your class may also opt to purchase a home or condo in one of the many neighborhoods around campus. Few, however, will have a soul mate with whom to share the experience. If you’re on the fence about owning your own place, think about that fence. It’s YOUR fence, right? I rest my case.

— Rowland H., M1

On Buying a House

As an MSTP student, I found that buying a townhouse was a rather economical decision. St. Louis is an affordable city with the downtown to the east and the super nice suburbs about 20 minutes to the west. Purchasing a house is a nontrivial task, and fortunately, I was able to find a place in only three months. Of course, it didn’t hurt that I was a Wash U undergrad and had a family friend as an agent helping me right from the start. The medical school is conveniently located by a highway exit and I planned to drive to school, so I wanted a garage, which unfortunately limited my options a little bit. However, I was able to find a great place to live just a few miles west of school, so I don’t have any trouble getting to class on time. Overall, I’m pretty happy with my decision, but it’s not for everyone, so plan accordingly before pursuing this option.

— Jerry F., M1

On Finding a Roommate

While many of my classmates met their roommates at Second Look, I still had not found one by May. Thankfully, the Facebook page was filled with posts by fellow procrastinators. I messaged my current roommate, Laura, and after a few days it was decided. Within a couple weeks we had signed a lease. It couldn’t have worked out better!

— Casey B., M1

On Living with Roommates

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Believe it or not, all of these students would make great roommates.

Living with a roommate is highly recommended, even assuming your roommate isn’t as perfect as mine. First of all, my roommate never leaves his room. I mean literally never, except maybe to make me a sandwich, which has definitely happened. Why is having a hermit for a roommate desirable? Because it leaves the rest of the place open for you to do activities. Since I am too cheap to buy furniture, our sparsely decorated living room doubles as a private gym, ballroom, nightclub, and tai chi studio. Requirements for membership? You must be me. Sorry, folks. Although, if your roommate happens to not be a hermit and wants to “hang out” with you, that’s okay too. Hey, it could be nice to have someone to spontaneously ballroom dance with if that’s what you’re into. Second, and perhaps more importantly, a roommate helps pay the bills. You don’t have to be madly in love to realize that splitting the costs of homeownership (or rent) just makes a lot of sense. Charter internet costs $29.99 per month. For the price of a slightly slower connection at certain times in the night, it costs $14.99. No brainer, right? So although you will never find a roommate who is as good of a match as mine, you can easily find someone eager to split your monthly payments.

— Rowland H., M1

On Living Alone

I absolutely love living alone. I am a total homebody, so it was really important to me that I live in a place that I like, that I find relaxing, and that is an escape. Medical school is a lot like junior high in a way, because we all take the same classes and we’re involved in many of the same activities. For those who go to class, we see each other EVERY SINGLE DAY. I didn’t want to spend the entire day with the same people and then have to come home to one of those very same people. My apartment is mine, which means that it can be as messy as I want, I can clean when I feel like it, I can play loud music early in the morning when I wake up, and I can have people over whenever I want. I don’t have to check in with anyone. There are no expectations and no obligations. Medical school is stressful in many ways and a major part of first year is learning how to manage that stress. I can manage my stress better (and generally be a friendlier, happier person) when I have time to rest, relax, and recharge my batteries alone.

— Lindsay B., M1