A place to call home

MU law student finds a home for her family living with Residential Life.

Hannah Milster and her daughters Nancy, 9, and Mia, 4, at the playground of Tara Apartments
Hannah Milster and her daughters Nancy, 9, and Mia, 4, at the playground of Tara Apartments. “We have never felt more at home,” Milster said. Sam O’Keefe/University of Missouri

By Theo Schwinke

Residential Life is a place to live, learn and thrive for Tigers of all stripes. For students like Hannah Milster, it also provides stability for her family and a sense of community.

The single mother of two daughters is among the thousands of students settling into their new homes on campus this month. Now a student in the MU School of Law, Milster had lived in Residential Life’s Tara Apartments when she was an undergrad.

“Tara was great for my family,” she said. “It’s close to campus, and I had the Tiger Line shuttle to get to classes. The school that we were zoned in, Locust Street Elementary, is really good, and my kids’ friends from school lived at Tara, too.”

The family’s life was disrupted in spring 2020 with the arrival of COVID-19. “The pandemic hit and closed everything down, including my then-second grader’s school,” Milster said. “We watched as the town cleared out and the parking lots emptied.”

The family stayed put at Tara until after Milster graduated with her bachelor’s degree in psychology. Finally, in July 2020, it was time to leave.

“We were sad when we left because we never felt like we got to actually say goodbye to our town and the people that we had built relationships with during those years,” Milster said.

The family relocated to St. Charles, where Milster had found work. But just a few months later, she was wanting to continue her education at Mizzou.

“I was interested in law,” Milster said. “I want to help other moms. I’m passionate about being an advocate for women and children in tough situations.”

“In December, I took a leap and applied to law school,” Milster said. “To my shock – because I’m a 33-year-old non-traditional student and a single mom – I got in!”

Milster knew immediately she wanted to return to Tara. “The familiarity was so important for us,” she said. “Plus there are resources, like Adventure Club and Tiger Pantry, that are going to help immensely when I’m in law school so I can focus on my classes.”

In early August Milster’s family moved into their new apartment, conveniently close to a playground.

“My kids will get to go back to the same schools as before with the same friends, which is a huge blessing.”

“We have never felt more at home,” Milster said. “I’m just so grateful to be back.”

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