It has been a month since I started living single at Penn. Sometimes it’s very hard to get out of this space. I take one big step outside my room, and I am surrounded by others who are living single too.
“Oh my god! You are so lucky that you got a single,” is the shocked response I receive from family and friends every time I disclose my rooming situation. These types of comments contribute to the glamorization of living by yourself and having lots of privacy. Jaws drop even more when I tell them that the price is the same for singles, doubles and triples.
Although it seems as if people in singles are having the best times, there are disadvantages that come with living alone. Yes, we may have the utmost level of privacy, but there are social and monetary implications that are not always accounted for, such as feelings of loneliness, fears of missing out and high room and board expenses.
Having a roommate in a double definitely helps you get out and into the social scene. Going out to events or simply eating at the dining halls together creates a basic level of friendship. At the end of the night, there is someone four feet away from you that has just gone through the same daily college grind.
Forgoing this friendship was the main argument presented by the people who questioned my decision to live in a single. At the time, I didn’t think of doing a cost-benefit analysis of the situation. Truthfully, I believed that I could do it all on my own.
Back in April, when every freshman was applying for housing, I ranked the Quad first. Then, I proceeded to select my room type — all singles. Everyone has their reasons for choosing the type of room they want to live in. This decision can dramatically change your first-year college experience.
After having suitemates during my time abroad in France and a summer roommate in a pre-college program, I was ready to live single in college. It is not necessarily that I had the infamous “bad roommate experience,” but I thought it would be a new, interesting lifestyle to do everything by myself and on my own time.
During my weekly hall meetings, I finally get the chance to interact with other people in my hall. It is noticeable that many of the people who live in singles never attend. Maybe they don’t want to become friends with us? Or, maybe it’s very hard for them to come out of their space they have been accustomed to by living in a single?
To be completely honest, there have been a few days when I haven't wanted to get out of my room. And, I appreciate that I am by myself without anyone else with me. I am able to work on myself and reassess my priorities on what needs to get done, though this can sometimes take the whole day. On most days, I definitely would like to see another person being productive, and I believe that would motivate me to get up and do my work.
For example, College freshman Carmen Duran believes, “With the tiny closet of a room that I live in, living in a single makes it easy to keep to yourself and exclude yourself from people. Even with a small room, I have also spent so much money for my own things, instead of splitting costs with a roommate.” This is a sentiment that can be felt by most freshmen living in singles.
Cost is one of the major factors that I didn’t take into account. It’s much easier to split costs for things like a refrigerator or a coffee maker. Suddenly, I am now thinking that the $700 I spent for myself could have been significantly reduced if I had a roommate.
It is important to acknowledge that everyone always has something they wish they could improve about their living situation, whether they are living in a single, double, triple or a suite. Not everyone will get along with their roommates, although some people do.
Being in a single is not the most luxurious experience in the world. There are many perks to having your own space, but the social drawbacks are much more impactful.
Ultimately, it comes down to the person on how they want to live their life and choose to make the best out of the situation they are in. On one side, people who live in singles are lucky that they beat out the other freshmen who wanted to have that option. In contrast, it might not seem we are the lucky ones once the door closes from the other side, and we are all alone.
CARLOS ARIAS VIVAS is a College freshman from Stamford, Conn., studying communication. His email address is email@example.com. “Convos with Carlos” usually appears every other Tuesday.
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