Dealing with a roommate or multiple roommates is a different experience for everyone. Some roommates may get along perfectly, and some may not. Therefore, some students may choose to live alone, thinking it may be the best option. As someone who lived alone for a good part of college, here is the reality of doing so:
Everything’s on You
When living alone, you are on your own when it comes to making food, cleaning the place, repairs, and any other tasks associated with keeping the apartment and yourself afloat. Therefore, it becomes a long list of tasks to complete daily, and often without help (unless you invite someone over to help). Unfortunately, any sickness may also result in dealing with it alone, unless someone else is once again invited to help you out. However, when dealing with all the tasks single-handedly, you are learning to become more effective at essential life skills, such as cooking, cleaning, and handy work.
Freedom Comes at a Cost
Though living alone may mean a life rid of sharing and dirty stacks of laundry/dishes, along with freedom to choose how you live and how your apartment looks, it comes at a cost. Many activities you may have become accustomed to with roommates suddenly vanishes. Oftentimes, watching games, Netflix, eating meals, and other activities that may have been done with roommates become solo things. Waking up in the morning and having those casual conversations with a roommate become confined to only technology. Though living by your own standards is a plus, you are only setting it for yourself.
Peace and Quiet
This can be interpreted in two ways, as something that can be good or bad. With good, peace and quiet can mean living alone equals the absence of loud music, yelling, loud TVs, or any nuisance. The bad can mean it becomes too quiet when you live alone.
Living alone can lead to an increased dependence on technology, more so than having roommates. Having roommates can result in human-human interaction frequently, and even lengthy conversations. Living alone results in no human interaction unless someone is over, which means that using your laptop, phone, or TV is more likely to pass time. Though digital conversations such as FaceTime may be an option, they may not be able to last like an in-person conversation because at some point, the other person may have to leave. A relaxed day with minimal assignments can lead to boredom, and with no roommates, the most likely option is becoming immersed in technology.
The Dynamic Changes When You Walk In
Having roommates means walking in after a long or stressful day to somebody else who might ask you about your day, has dinner covered, or will be ready to watch TV with you. Living alone means walking in to nobody, and eliminates the chance to destress with somebody else. Therefore, destressing methods change drastically when living alone, because you are left figuring out how to effectively do it. Talking on the phone or FaceTiming with somebody else is an effective method, but it is a new dynamic compared to talking with somebody in person.
Your Own Way of Living
Though the reality of living alone may be daunting, the most beneficial part of living alone in college is being able to live per your preferences. It is a very relaxing lifestyle, and many friends can come over and watch games or eat with you as you wish. Nobody else can interfere with your living arrangements, and simply observing how you live on your own is a great way to learn about yourself. For example, you learn that you like to keep things clean, prefer a certain organization of items, or are good at making quesadillas. Living alone is like a lengthy solo vacation, full of observation, learning of your tendencies, and spending time by yourself to achieve tranquility and inner peace, an added feature in today’s fast-paced world.
The reality of living alone in college is significantly different than living with roommates. Though it is an adjustment compared to having lived with roommates, this lifestyle has pros and cons. There is no set “guide” to live alone nor are all perspectives about the lifestyle similar because solo inhabitants have different experiences, but if you do happen to live alone at some point in college, learning to become dependent on yourself is great training to be successful in life.
Rishi Patel is a senior majoring in Communication Studies at the University of Iowa. He has written as an intern for SPORTalk and Study Breaks Magazine. He also loves to write fiction, non-fiction, and poetry as a hobby to expand his writing prowess. He hopes to work as a writer/editor when he graduates.