Living with the same six roommates for two years can take a toll. While I was able to develop and foster strong friendships, I also developed more passive-aggressive tendencies than I care to admit. (“Can someone who doesn’t have work tomorrow swap parking spots with me, so I can make it to work on time in the morning?”)
Now, in my fifth year at Ohio State, I’ve downsized from a seven-bedroom house to a cozy little studio apartment all by myself.
Though I miss having others around while getting ready on the weekends — roommates to style my hair or pick out my outfits while offering up their own closets — being able to leave an occasional dish in the sink without upsetting someone has been refreshing.
Namrata Pujara, a fourth-year in political science and economics, can attest to the positives and negatives of living with company. While a brief experience of living alone over the summer allowed her to be a little messier from time to time, she said it got old and became too much of an effort to try and meet up with friends.
“I definitely prefer living with roommates,” she said. “I live with four other girls right now, and it’s great because there’s always someone to hang out with, even if that’s just watching a show or getting groceries together.”
Having people around to complete a chore or run an errand with is something I grew accustomed to, so I thought living alone would be a scary adjustment. But my studio is just enough for one person, which makes me feel comfortable being on my own.
I’m still learning to be calm, cool and collected when it comes to killing my own bugs, but other than that, I’ve adapted to a lifestyle that requires more independence and accountability.
Meghan Cahill, a fifth-year in political science and Arabic, also adapted to an independent lifestyle. Though she lived with roommates during her first three years at Ohio State, she said she ultimately prefers living alone.
“I am a really introverted person, and coming home every day to a house full of people was really hard,” she said. “I needed to conserve my energy at home in order to go back out into society and be a friendly, productive person.”
Cahill makes a point I can agree with. Living with roommates can make you feel like you always have to be on and ready to socialize. However, having a space that’s entirely your own, rather than just a bedroom door to close, gives you a true moment to relax before stepping back out into the real world.
“Living alone has been incredibly restorative for me,” Cahill said. “I have even intentionally forgone Wifi and most technology in order to make it a place of respite and quiet. This has been so freeing.”
For some, having roommates can be the freeing part, whether it be one person in a dorm or six in off-campus housing. I dodged the former, as I transferred to Ohio State for my third year right into a house, which was a relief. (I dabbled in dorm life for one semester at Ithaca College my first year, and knowing that someone in the building was running to different floors for poop-in-the-shower pranks didn’t sit well with me. I like my showers feces-free.)
While two years in the same house offered comfort, living with the same roommates got old — not because of the roommates, although I can’t speak to all students’ experiences, but because I was ready for a new living situation.
I knew I was the only one of my roommates sticking around for another year of school, so I had to consider my next move. Future roommate options were slim, and I did not feel like working out living details with anyone new. Venturing off by myself seemed like the most comfortable option.
I only scheduled one apartment tour before settling my decision. I visited the building, called my dad, headed to the leasing office and put down a deposit all in a day’s work. Easy and done.
While I didn’t put too much time or effort into the apartment search, it still worked out, and I’m comfortable with where I am now. I miss the house that made so many memories for me and having people to talk to regularly, but being by myself encourages me not to spend as much time in the apartment. If I need to get my social fix for the day, I’m forced to leave.
If students are considering their next step, not thrilled at the idea of living with people again but concerned about pulling the trigger on independence, I would recommend taking that step toward living alone. It’s a learning experience and an opportunity for growth, and you don’t have to cater to anyone’s preferences but your own.