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Old 12-28-2011, 03:28 PM
2 posts, read 4,036 times
Reputation: 12


Hello. I have not found any posts irrelevant to my exact situation. I apologize in advance if I am not using proper forum etiquette.

I am a 24 year old female. No kids, no pets. I currently live in New York. I am most familiar with Pittsburgh, Long Island, NY, and D.C. I do not want to live in the Northeast anymore.
I am changing my major and career path to computer engineering, and I decided to attend the University of South Carolina- Columbia for my degree. I am going to be living in Columbia, most likely Richland county, starting or before August 2012. It looks like I can find an apartment for under 1200 dollars. (Way better than now, I currently pay over 1500 dollars for a studio living solo). I will most likely be living alone, unless my fiance will be able to transfer his work closer. (Possible, but he might have to join me a few months later. He works for airlines at NYC international airport.) I am not familiar with Columbia. I visited Charleston, SC a few times because my older sister and her husband lived there for 3 years. I loved it, but I didn't really get to feel it out. As far as work goes, I am self employed as a web designer, so I am not too concerned of the job market as of now.

So, will I be able to meet other active, young people my age?
Is there many activities for somebody my age?
And. . do you imagine people will be friendly towards me?

I am, in a sense, "starting over." I just want to get some insight before I make my full decision.
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Old 12-28-2011, 05:21 PM
Location: Charleston, South Carolina
9,358 posts, read 12,648,798 times
Reputation: 1954
You might want to contact COR (Columbia Opportunity Resource), a young professionals' group.
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Old 12-28-2011, 07:41 PM
2 posts, read 4,036 times
Reputation: 12
Ok, cool. Hopefully I will get to meet people that way.
Does Richland country seem like a good place to reside?
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Old 12-28-2011, 08:35 PM
Location: Charleston, South Carolina
9,358 posts, read 12,648,798 times
Reputation: 1954
I live in Columbia proper in Richland County. Love it.
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Old 12-28-2011, 09:13 PM
25 posts, read 33,506 times
Reputation: 15
Hello! I wish you the best of luck.

I am a 33-year-old single guy who just moved here from the big city (San Francisco). Perhaps my perspective will be useful.

I am an academic, started a professorship at USC, would have loved to stay in San Francisco if it was possible... but it wasn't. I don't like everything about Columbia, but there are many things I do like, hopefully I can allay some of your worries and tell you what I've found.

First of all, I've found everyone - literally everyone -- in Columbia to be extremely friendly, despite the fact that I don't really fit in all that well. People of all races and ethnicities seem to mix, religion is big here but my agnostic friends don't feel mistreated, I know a vegan who eats happy, there is a LBGT community and about 1000 people turned up for a gay pride festival.

The culture here is very different from what I'm used to. To give one example, I went to a yoga class, and afterwards my classmates very kindly invited me to dinner somewhere (in the Vista) a mile away. Lacking a car, I thanked them, cheerfully walked there (it was nice weather), and arrived twenty minutes later. It turned out they were worried sick about me, and when I told them I walked, they fell over themselves to apologize for not having (somehow) anticipated this and given me a ride.

I am a very energetic person -- when I lived in San Francisco I prided myself on taking yoga classes with the hardest teachers, taking improv classes with the studio that invented long form improv, going to swing dances where 200 energetic and happy experts would show up weekly, etc. You can find some of that here, but the signal is thinner, the mood is mellower, and for the most part there isn't the same concentration of energy. (That said, there *is* an excellent yoga studio.)

That said, I have only been here four months, and I have been out of town on business for much of that, so I haven't turned up every rock. (Indeed, previously I posted on "What brings out enthusiasm and energy in Columbia?" or something like that on this forum -- you might look for it -- and I have not yet gotten to try all the suggestions.)

There seems to be at least something of an undercurrent of pessimism here. It's not overwhelming, and it's not at all universal (indeed you can find many cheerful optimists on this forum!), but it is something I've noticed compared to other places I've lived. At any rate it's not like San Francisco where everyone I knew was quitting their job to become some kind of life coach. I think this should be balanced against the strong sense of hospitality, consideration, and concern for others. Good comes with bad, it's up to you to decide which is more important.

There is a car culture here but actually I find the place extremely pedestrian-friendly, especially compared with most places in the South. There are sidewalks everywhere, the neighborhoods are beautiful, there are ped/bike shortcuts if you know where to look, and the weather is usually good. I own a car and I barely use it. Also, check out the beautifully rehabbed apartments on Main Street (Capitol Places) and in the Vista, or the apartments in the beautiful neighborhoods around USC (Senate Street, University Hill). Outstanding for walking to USC and elsewhere.

Many of the grad students I know kind of don't like it here, I regret to say, the general complaint is that it's not as lively as some other places. However, everyone I know (including me) has some good things to say and has found at least something to do.

If I had the option to move to a big city, I would probably take it... but you say you want to leave the Northeast! (I would move to New York or Boston in a heartbeat.) I like many things about Columbia, and many people absolutely love it here and for excellent reason. If you think you would enjoy a mellow, low-key lifestyle (albeit definitely one with things to do -- there is a symphony, rock clubs, check out the Art Bar; good restaurants; etc.) then you might love it here.

I wish you the best of luck. (and let me know if you have any questions... and other forum participants let me know if you have any advice!)

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Old 12-28-2011, 10:32 PM
Location: Columbia, SC
6,452 posts, read 13,319,513 times
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In your $1200 apartment budget you will have a lot of options. I used to live in a quadruplex a few blocks from Five Points and close to USC in the Wales Garden neighborhood and loved it. If you prefer to live in a complex then there are a lot of options from high rises to garden apartments to lofts. If I were in your situation I would want to live within walking distance of USC, Main Street, Five Points and the Vista. The neighborhoods you may want to look at will be University Hill, the Vista, Main Street, Shandon, Wales Garden, Hollywood Hills, Old Shandon and maybe Melrose Heights. A little further away would be Rosewood, Elmwood Park, Cottontown and Earlewood Park. When I moved from my apartment and bought a house I couldn't afford to stay in the area I was in. If I had it to do over again I would have waited an extra couple of years so I could have afforded more house and stayed in the Five Points area. I'm just north of downtown now, but not within walking distance of restaurants, bars and shopping and I miss that convenience even though I have less than a 10 minute drive to all of the above.
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Old 12-29-2011, 01:39 AM
Location: Not where you ever lived
11,544 posts, read 24,350,687 times
Reputation: 6133
It is a culture shock to move whether it is to a town 100 mile away or the opposite coast. North to South, East to West, there is culture shock involved. The South is a slower paced life. But you will still find familair stores such as Trader Joe's, Apple, Whole Foods and I believe Costco. It is not like moving to Chicago. You can still jump in your car and go to the ocean. You are not that far from NOLA or Atlanta. If you have the time and the money there is a lot to explore, enjoy and learn about America. You are also not too far from Greenville, which is another pretty and interesting SC town that offers shopping too.

Food is different, too. I don't know if you can find five star upscale dining, I don't that you cannot. Regardless, you should find pretty good food and an airpor tso you spend sometime with your bf. .

You are turning a new page in your life. You have a good attitude and I think you will do just fine.
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Old 12-29-2011, 06:54 AM
Location: Charleston, South Carolina
9,358 posts, read 12,648,798 times
Reputation: 1954
Frank gives what I consider to be an objective, fair assessment. My suggestion is to either have a reliable car or live within or adjacent to the central part of town; i.e., downtown proper, the Vista, Five Points or around the university.
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Old 12-29-2011, 10:31 AM
Location: Olde English District, SC (look it up on Wikipedia)
244 posts, read 291,052 times
Reputation: 294
I lived in Columbia for 10.5 years, not completely willingly. I moved to pursue a graduate degree and discovered that the program was not a good fit for my interests within a couple of months. I decided to finish the academic year and transfer (out of state), but ended up meeting my future spouse, who was employed in Columbia. So, I stayed until we both ended up with jobs in another SC city and moved. My assessment: Columbia has decent shopping areas on opposite ends of the city, but the downtown area is not very vibrant or walkable compared to Charleston, Greenville, or even Aiken (I am from Pittsburgh and that city has many more walkable areas). Large sections of Columbia curl up and die on evenings and weekends. If you love USC, college football, and beer you'll find it easy to meet your social needs. Or, if you're religious, a republican, and very family oriented you'll be happy in that particular scene. I mostly wore out the chairs at the local coffee shops and bookstores during my time in Columbia, being indifferent about sports and religion, and having outgrown nights ending with puking on my shoes. I should be part owner of Barnes & Noble in Harbison for as much time and money spent there
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Old 12-29-2011, 10:32 AM
9 posts, read 13,537 times
Reputation: 14

I am originally from New Jersey, and I relocated to South Carolina for my undergraduate degree at USC three years ago. My parents and grandparents have also moved down. I like it a lot here compared to the north, sure you will miss some things, but there are plenty of great things going on in the Columbia area. Compared to other cities up north, I find Columbia extremely clean and extremely cultural. Since it is a University town, there are tons of cultural aspects within this city, especially within the south. There are tons of restaurants, parks, and activities always going on. People are extremely friendly as Frank has stated, it can't get any better than that. I think you will have no problem meeting people, and if you are a church goer, there are many local churches in the area with young professional groups to make friends and connections.

In respect to housing, be-careful where you will be renting. With your budget, you should have no problems finding somewhere very luxurious and safe. I would personally look within Shandon, the Vista, and Capitol Places (Main Street). Do stay away from the Five Points area, Rosewood and Olympia. Others may disagree, but as a woman who may be living alone, I would not live in those areas. One complex I suggest you check is Adesso Homes, they are luxury condos right on Main Street/Blossom Street, basically on the campus of USC. I would bet money though that no students live there because it is a bit pricier, so you won't have to put up the noise. I toured them not too long ago and I believe the agent said there are many young professionals that live in the building. It is literally walking distance to everything on campus, so it may be perfect for you and it is definitely safe. The Capitol Places on Main Street also seem to be pretty nice. It feels like Columbia is having a boom of building and some excitement within the Main Street/Vista areas. Lately there have been many new establishments such as Mast General Store, and the Cowboy Steakhouse which seem to be revitalizing the area. I think you'll like it!
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