I spent 12 years sharing a room with my twin sister, and another six being no more than 10 steps away from her. My first year at Penn I stayed in a double room in Kings Court, occupied by only myself — my assigned roommate moved to the Quad before we even met. I spent my sophomore year living a few blocks off campus with one of my best friends. This year, I again live alone, and I’m loving it.
While I recognize it is not a viable option for many to live alone, I recommend Penn students not automatically counting it out of the question when considering their housing options. Many people expressed concerns that I would be lonely living in a studio apartment or that I would feel isolated from my peers and even my friends. This is not even close to the truth. My first year living alone, when it felt like everyone else had a built-in best friend in the form of their roommate, was trying at times, and an odd kind of jealousy boiled within me for a while. But when I realized that I actually enjoyed being able to throw my clothes on the extra bed because no one was sleeping there, and that my six o’clock alarm wouldn’t wake anyone but myself, this jealousy melted off me.
I like having a social life, going to work, chatting with friends, and then returning home after a long day and not owing anyone else more conversation. As an introvert, I need time to recharge after a full day of being around others, and living alone is the best way for me to get this much needed time to myself. If you’re like me and often feel drained by constant conversation, then living alone — be that in a high rise single or an off-campus studio — may be the best option for you. I never thought as a twin so used to sharing that living alone would be what I prefer, but my living experiences over the past three years have fortified this preference.
I think there’s this preconceived perception on Penn’s campus that saturating yourself in social activity is the only way to get the most out of your four years here. You have other things happening during these special four years: family dramas and successes, personal relationships, internal growth. Living by yourself is a choice that can make those factors more at the forefront of your mind, instead of what your roommates made for dinner or who stole your last razor.
I have also had the experience of living with one of my best friends, which was chaotic and fun and an amazing learning experience for both of us. It taught us compromise and I am thankful to have lived with him for the year. But it also made it very clear to me that living alone in college is the way I want to finish my last two years at this university, and, if you think this would also suit you, don’t be afraid to go for it if you can. Living in a big house with eight other people might be the perfect environment for extroverts who love conversation, but if you’re an introvert who just wants their own space, don’t let the pressure of Penn’s party scenes and popping social lives scare you away from doing what’s best for yourself.
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SOPHIA DUROSE is a College junior from Orlando, Fla. studying English. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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