Living Situation — Part 3: Living alone

Story by Martha Landry, News Editor

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The classic college off-campus housing experience of living in a huge house may be fun, but an option some students are turning to may be one most people haven’t considered—living alone.

Mike McHugh, owner of Clear Water Real Estate, said it is natural for students to transition to smaller places as they advance in their college years.

“I think it’s a general transition that the younger classmen, women, freshman, sophomores are more eagerly pursuing the larger number of bedroom units,” McHugh said. “As they progress through their academic career, definitely the trend is for them to reduce the number of roommates down to living by themselves.”

Senior Ashly Curtis said she chose to live alone the last two years and hasn’t regretted it at all.

“Initially I wasn’t sure if I wanted to live off campus or on campus,” Curtis said. “By the time I made my decision, everyone else had already made plans so I just lived by myself.”

After deciding to transfer to Eau Claire in late June, junior Hannah Horman didn’t have any option other than to live alone. Horman signed her lease just five days before the start of the semester.

Horman lives in a two-bedroom apartment and is responsible for paying the entire rent. With a monthly rent payment of $590, Horman said finances and occasional loneliness can make living alone difficult.

“I think the worst part is paying that much, and I guess if you do have something going on during your day, you can’t really go home and be like, ‘oh this is what happened’ because no one is there,” Horman said. But she also admitted she enjoys having a place of her own.

Going back to sharing a space is something Curtis doesn’t know if she would be able to handle.

She said she enjoys not having the drama of living with other people and being free to do whatever she wants.

“For the second year, I just got used to living by myself and doing whatever I wanted and having my own stuff in my fridge,” Curtis said. “I was not interested in sharing after not sharing for a year because it’s really fun living by yourself.”

Horman said she never feels unsafe living alone. But if she did, her brother lives in Eau Claire, which gives her peace of mind.
“I get home and lock my doors,” Horman said. “I don’t ever think something is going to happen.”

Next semester, Horman is having a subleaser to lessen her cost even though she has enjoyed living alone.

“Honestly to live by yourself, you are looking at almost spending probably close to three-fourths the costs of a two-bedroom, divided by two people,” McHugh said.

McHugh said that utilities, rather than rent, can drive up the costs of a person living alone. He said most people don’t realize there is a base fee attached to utilities in addition to the monthly bill.

As long as people expect the higher costs and can manage it, McHugh said the positives do balance out the potential negatives.

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