The Single Life
On campus: Some prefer solo, but it’s hard to come by
“Living in a single room makes it easier to practice my lines, easier to write for the show,” Brotter (COM’13) says. “I knew it would be a better place to work when I requested a single.”
Living with a roommate is usually considered quintessential to college life, making use of all those lessons learned in kindergarten — sharing, collaboration, consideration. Yet some students would rather live alone, but remain involved in University life.
“I don’t really know why someone would want it any other way,” Brotter says. “If anything is wrong with the room, if I don’t wake up for class on time, it’s totally my fault. But it’s also much easier; everything’s on my own terms.”
As an incoming freshman, Brotter didn’t expect to get a single in Warren, but figured it was worth a try. After all, he enjoyed having his own room back home in Westchester County, N.Y. “I knew I would never be isolated,” he says, “because it’s hard to be isolated when you’re in one of the biggest dorms in the country.”
His room is sometimes a haven for friends on the outs with their roommates; they find solace in stopping by. He decorates it to his liking, paying homage to the colored lights lining the Hyatt Regency Hotel on the other side of the Charles. A friend even created a replica of the Hyatt on his cinder-block wall with Post-it notes. From his 11th-floor room in C Tower, he has a “million-dollar view.”
Not all singles are created equal, according to Marc Robillard, director of housing. There are 1,014 of them in dormitory-style accommodations without attached bathrooms, but some are part of a suite. Only 113 freestanding singles have private bathrooms, but half of those are earmarked for resident assistants. In the 68 suites on campus, there are 272 single rooms — although most people don’t consider them true singles because of the group setting. Robillard notes that few students opt to move out of a single once they get one.
As well as being difficult to obtain, singles are among the most expensive options on campus, according to an analysis of 2010-2011 housing costs. The price of a double, triple, or quad is $7,980. But living in a single without a private bath is $10,530, with a private bath it’s $11,120.
Nevertheless, these rooms remain in high demand.
“Continuing students know what they’re doing when they select a single,” Robillard says. “They’re choosing a lifestyle, maybe because they don’t want interruptions.”
Freshmen who live in a single, he continues, “need to meet a lot of people, so my advice is to make the effort to meet people with different majors, different backgrounds. Get involved with floor activities, clubs, and don’t just go in the room and close the door.”
Angela Holohan (COM’11), who lives in the HoJo at 575 Commonwealth Ave., is enthusiastic about the single life. “I originally thought I would be lonely, but I see my friends,” she says. “It’s really nice not having to go to the library, playing music whenever you want, going to bed whenever you want. I have control of my surroundings.”
Brotter plans to live with friends next year, but will miss his Warren Towers single. “The best part is, no one yells at you if it’s messy,” he says.
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