Column: Leaving ‘my house,’ a bittersweet experience

By Susan Kantor

I have spent three years living among the tree-lined, generally vomit-free streets of Urbana.

And for my senior year, that is all going to change.

I love Urbana. It’s my home. It’s quiet when you need to study, with some great house parties that have the potential to be more fun than any bar. The 22 picks me up steps away from my building. And while my rent is on the expensive end for Urbana housing, my apartment is so large that I refer to it as “my house.”

As I see my landlord show prospective tenants my current apartment, I become more and more distraught that I will spend my last year away from it.

But it is time for something different. I’m breaking off my three-year relationship with the city. Last summer, my apartment building seemed to attract many people that were clearly not residents. When someone defecated in my stairwell, it made me question why I signed another lease for this year. I’m convinced there must be something out there that is cheaper, safer and without an unlocked stairwell open to anyone who cannot find a restroom quickly enough.

Last week, the market for leasing apartments opened. A good portion of campus rushed to get the best apartments and signed leases within a few days. While I wasn’t high-strung enough to sign a lease on the very first day of leasing season, I did start my quest for the perfect Champaign apartment. I spent a good portion of my Wednesday evening searching local landlord’s Web sites, going on virtual tours of potential living spaces.

I forgot how many beer-stained couches and wood-paneled walls are out there. It is difficult to imagine my cute Paris-themed framed posters replacing the Miller Lite posters tacked to those wood-paneled walls. But I kept on looking.

What I did find in my research was that there is really little difference between many of the apartments. Location seems to determine how much I will have to shell out every month.

Far away, cheap and classy; or a block away from my real home at The Daily Illini (at Fifth and Green streets), expensive and not that cute. It’s a conundrum, but it’s a problem we all have to find our own solution to.

After a few days of the search, I think I might have found my perfect apartment. It is clean, has a nice view of the Quad and has a dresser large enough to fit all of my clothes. My roommate and I will take another tour on Tuesday and then we have to make the decision if we should sign the lease or keep searching for better. My use of the 22 will drastically decline because it will take me two minutes to walk to Green Street and five to the Quad. I think I have a crush on my new potential Champaign apartment.

Time will only tell how long it is going to take me to get over Urbana.