My Wife and I went to college in Kirksville, Truman State University. Its a nice little town with that big city appeal, however you will feel as though the town closes at 5 pm. The area will give you that time to focus on your studies for sure but the big three are all about an hour and a half to 3 hours away, Kansas City, St. Louis and Jefferson City (the capitol). If you are looking to get a way and do some shopping and some larger big city stuff, your not too far, but the area surrounding is still nice. My favorite was going to Thousand Hills State Park, beautiful lake with many parks along the water to picnic or fish. With a lodge house/diner and boat rentals there is always somthing to do. Loved it while I was there.