Like many I grew up hearing mostly negative things about living in Memphis, I was often too nervous to speak out against the naysayers. It only grew worse in high school, always hearing classmates say things like “I can not wait to leave this city”, and “after I graduate I am never coming back here.” I on the other hand never felt this way, I grew up in a house where a University of Memphis flag hung right outside our front door and the Cooper-Young festival was a annual tradition. I loved the city as a kid and teenager. When time to apply to colleges came around it was a no-brainier for me, I wanted to go to Memphis. Everyone else around me felt quite the opposite. It was not until my later years in college that I noticed a sudden change in most people’s attitudes towards our hometown, they very suddenly became huge fans of the city and things in it. While I believe a huge part of the new fan base for the city was based largely on the recent success of the local professional basketball team, it became apparent that other reasons lingered.
While Memphis has its obvious down falls, it has accumulated a large number of positive aspects as well. These positive aspects being the post-graduate options for young people fresh out of college. The first aspect is the number of graduate school programs that have sprouted in Memphis over the years and made quit the name for themselves. The Humphrey’s School of Law being located downtown and climbing the later in rankings is not only attracting kids to stay or return home for further schooling but it also attracts students from out of state to come and live in Memphis. The University of Tennessee Health and Science center has multiple programs that are ranked in the top twenty-five in the nation and do an amazing job getting top students from all around to attend school. Finally the University of Memphis’ program for Speech Pathology and Audiology is ranked in the top fifteen in the nation and is a huge reason the University got to leave the death trap that is the C-USA. As we all know you have an extremely high chance of living in the city that you attended graduate school in (Or at least near by) especially if you attend law school. After all, the connections you make will most like with people in the school’s area. So we can thank these post-grad programs for retaining young people who will improve the city socially and economically.
Another huge benefit of moving or moving back the the Bluff city is the low cost of living. Chances are that most kids that are freshly graduated are not rolling in the dough. Which makes living in Memphis a fantastic option for young people. Forbes Magazine had Memphis in the top ten place to live for young working men and women due to the low cost of living and job opportunities. Anything that can reduce debt and make paying new bills easier is a great thing in my humble opinion. Also, with the young and vibrant community growing the the midtown area it is not hard for young people to find a part of town they would love to live. Midtown, specifically the Cooper-Young area and grown and now provide young Memphians attractive places to eat, shop, and spend their late nights.
So it is really no surprise that most of my high school friends and changed their tune about living in the blue collar town. It is quite humorous to see them all end up back in their home town, and then actually enjoy it. I would love to be that guy who gets to say I told you so and that I have loved this city longer than any of you, but lets be honest, not one likes that guy. It is a great sign that young college graduates are filling the city and allowing it grow in multiple aspects.