Some Form of Statistical Evidence
According to a survey of 7,095 graduate and undergraduate students, only 9% of them live alone (with 18% of graduate students living alone).
So when I say “I live alone”, this is what I imagine people start thinking:
- I guess she doesn’t have friends to room with.
- It cost so much to live alone.
- I bet she’s lonely a lot.
(P.S. I’m an undergraduate in college.)
For some reason, there’s a cloud of social stigma around living alone in college.
My Roommates: A History
Born – 3 years old: Roommates with my grandparents (And I guess parents. I’m not sure, I was young.)
3-years old – 11 years old: Intermittent roommates with my younger sister
(I distinctly recall a time when we tried separate rooms, but I begged my parents to move her back to my room in case of a fire. In my young mind, there was some sort of logic behind that reasoning.)
11 years old – 18 years old: No roommates, just familial housemates
18 years old – 19 years old: First college roommate, potluck.
19 years old – 20 years old: Three roommates of my choice. Two were friends from high school, and one was a friend from college. All three were a year older than me.
20 years old – current: My cat is my roommate.
Living Alone 101
Obvious Perks of Living Alone
- Clothing optional, closing the bathroom door optional (No judging, you’d do it too)
- No distasteful surprises in your kitchen sink or bathroom
- Complete power over guests (even if you can only really fit 4 people and a cat in your place at one time)
- You can sleep, eat, talk on the phone, watch TV, throw things, blast music, cry, yell, shower, and do all things humans like to do but don’t like to admit they like to do all the time, never, and whenever you want
Difficult Decisions When You Live Alone
- Grocery lists – I inevitably overestimate the amount of food I can eat, but my fridge still looks apocalyptical.
- When to eat and wake up
- What is worth leaving the apartment for
- Wearing pajamas vs. wearing real clothes
Cons of Living Alone
- Price (I got fairly lucky but also don’t have the largest place)
- Limited space (see above)
I didn’t originally set out to live alone. I knew that I wanted to change roommates, because all three of my previous roommates would be graduating a year earlier than me.
My roommate search went a little like this:
- Considered living with two friends I knew.
- Was approached by three other friends because their fourth person bailed.
- Even went apartment hunting with an old friend from back home who had just transferred here.
In the end, I honestly just decided that if there was no clear cut answer as to who to live with, I might as well try living alone.
“If you can afford it, always live alone.” – People say this (or at least they’ve said it to me)
What pushed me to try voluntary solitude was that some (most?) people live alone at least once in their life. Maybe in grad school, maybe when they get their first job, probably before they get married.
Earlier that school year, I went through some fairly meaningful life changes and at that point, had vowed to make more internal and external changes to my life. My top goal was to like myself more, and a close second was to learn to be more comfortable by myself. Alone, not lonely.
My first night in my apartment, I battled some insomnia. My cat and I had made a 4-hour drive and unpacked all of my non-furniture luggage. My cat was busy exploring our new place, and reveling over her new lack of space.
It was really dark, really humid, and really dusty. I was simultaneously sneezing and flipping around on a mattress on the floor. Coaxing Pumpkin towards me, trying to get her to settle down, I remember looking at her and thinking, “It’s just you and me now.”
It was kind of sad (and cheesy), but we haven’t looked back since.
Real Life Benefits of Living Alone in College
- I focus a lot on what I like to do, particularly reading and cooking. I tend to say “YES” a lot when asked to do something, so living with others, I can sometimes overbook myself with their activities.
- I’m choosier about who I invite over so it’s left me with a better understanding of who’s actually important to me. Living with roommates, you make small talk with their friends, and even bond with them. Your friends overlap, and you get mutually excited when your shared friends come over. You feel obligated to include your roommates in your activities with your own friends. Living alone counters this more-the-merrier paradox.
- I have more responsibility over keeping my place clean and organized.
- Appreciation for quiet and solitude.
I do want to qualify this entire blog post though. Living with others is great. It’s fun, and I honestly believe that living in an apartment with my three friends gave me memories that I’ll always value. I’m just trying to provide a viewpoint for the alternative.
Tangent / Closing Statements
I have been MIA for a week, which is not great for a young, blossoming blog. I have an excuse though: I was taking my GRE this past Saturday.
A belated thank-you to everyone who’s liked my posts and followed me!