August 26, 2016

Seven Things I've Learned from Living Alone in College

I mentioned to a friend in a text the other night that I couldn't believe that tomorrow will mark one year since I moved into my apartment. Fifteen minutes later, it hit me that I could write a post about living solo. Pretty sure that every conversation I've had with someone about our respective living arrangements has gone something like this: 

Them: "Wait, you live by yourself?"
Me: "Yep."
Them: "You don't have a roommate?"
Me: "Nope."
Them: "Huh."


I'm not sure if the surprise stems from financial questions or personal questions, but I know it's not  all that common to live alone as an undergraduate. I didn't plan to not have a roommate; I'll spare you all the boring details, but in short, nothing ended up working out. My current place fell into my lap  when I really just wanted to give up (my tips for finding off-campus housing are right here), and it was perfect.


So perfect that I renewed my lease for another 16 months ("home" is only an hour north, so this made sense— I live here full time, even over summer). Do I like living alone? No. I don't. I love it. Would I recommend it? If you can afford it, and you want to, I highly recommend it, yes. I apologize for my rambly introduction, so here's what I've learned— and what you should know if you're considering a 1/1—over the last year living by myself. 


+ You can do whatever you want, whenever you want.

Really. Blast some throwback music while you bake a cake at 1 AM, sit around in your towel for an hour after you shower, don't leave a sock on the doorknob, decorate however your heart desires. You do you. Nothing beats having a space that's entirely yours, or at least I think so.


+ You have to do everything yourself.

I feel like this is a given, but it needs to be said. No one is going to take out the trash. No one is going to do your laundry or wash the dishes. And when your toilet tank overflows three days after you move in, no one but you will be mopping up all that toilet water with clean towels before calling the landlord about a plumber. Yes, this happened to me. 


+ You still won't feel like an adult.

It's been a year that I've lived alone, and I still don't feel any more adult, really. Yeah, I buy my own groceries, (unfortunately) cook my own meals, and, not gonna lie, feel pretty cool when I roll down my car window so I can use my grown-up access card to get into the grown-up basement garage, but I still don't really feel like I'm "adulting." Maybe it's because I still live only an hour from home. Maybe it's because I don't pay all of my bills yet (very blessed and thankful for this). Either way, I'm grateful that I have this time to start figuring it all out, even if just a little bit.


+ You will feel independent, even if you don't feel like an adult.

Many people don't live entirely on their own until they graduate college, so living alone in college gives you a sense of independence. As I mentioned, you have to do everything yourself and, when you do cross all the apartment stuff off your to-do list, it feels pretty good. And it's good practice for the "real world."


+ You'll have to fight your inner hermit.

My freshman year I hated spending time in the dorm. I was out of there as soon as I was ready in the morning and avoided going back until the evening. I could never do any work in my room and just had no desire to be in it, so it was really easy to get out and do stuff and see people. Now that I have my own space, staying in by myself and having a Harry Potter or Grey's Anatomy marathon after a long day of being surrounded by people is just so tempting. I definitely have to make a conscious effort to make plans and get out because it's just so easy to stay in when you're off campus and away from people and activities.


+ You'll want to go to class even less than you already do.

You might think this is impossible. Let me tell you that it is very possible. You don't have a roommate who also has to endure classes. You're (probably) living off campus. The lack of motivation to get up, get ready, and drive to school is very real.


+ It does get lonely sometimes.

I'm what's called an "extroverted introvert," which means that I can make myself extraverted when I need to be, but naturally, I prefer to keep to myself and need to be alone to recharge. I love, and require, alone time, especially after a tiring day or a bad day, or a tiring, bad day. That being said, I'm still human, and sometimes living alone does get, well, lonely. This is where fighting your inner hermit comes in. Call someone and make dinner plans. Invite a friend over. FaceTime someone. Or, if you want to and can afford it, adopt a cat or dog.

Do/did you live alone in college, or would you consider it?

4 comments

  1. I totally agree with all of these. I was an RA for two years and had my own room. I certainly loved the ability to close the door and sleep in without interruption, but it was a good challenge to make sure I stayed connected with friends, especially since I didn't have a roommate!
    -Caitlin
    LemonadePressBlog.com

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    1. Exactly! Making plans is definitely what I struggle with most.

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  2. After two years of problem roommates, I decided that living with one wasn't for me and going into my junior year, I got my own room. I'm so glad I did! People ask me all the time if I get lonely, but I only sometimes do, to their surprise. I'd agree that it's so easy to become a hermit, but I use my room to recharge after a long day of being around people. Wouldn't have it any other way, and so excited to start this upcoming semester with my own room again. Hope you are too! :)

    Melissa | melissa-manning.com

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    Replies
    1. I definitely am! I'm glad you were able to resolve your roommate issues by getting your own space because those are never fun haha

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