Risk another random roommate nightmare, live with a friend and risk hating each other by the end of the year or live alone?
This year, I opted for the solo lifestyle with a purple and red spoiled-rotten betta fish named Royale for a roommate.
Considering going roommate-less next year? Here's some food for thought that might help with the decision.
More bang for your buck: I have almost the exact amount of space I was paying to share with another person for close to the same price, even a little less with more amenities. Plus, at the end of the year, there is no hauling all my stuff down 10-plus flights of stairs in the early summer heat in the middle of finals with everyone else moving out.
Freedom: Do you want to keep the thermostat on 68? OK. Do you want to dance around in your underwear and rock out to "Old Time Rock and Roll" like Tom Cruise in "Risky Business?" That's fine also. Living alone means you have complete control over your schedule. When you have roommates, you have to be — or should be — respectful of their personal preferences and schedules. This might mean putting off printing a novel while your roommate is trying to sleep or not turning on the lights to vacuum at 2 a.m.
Privacy: It's great knowing that after 12 hours of being at school and at work, combined, it isn't required have to come home to a bored roommate who wanted to chat, was staying up all night to finish that project they had procrastinated on or has brought all her friends back for a night of drunken tomfoolery. There's also no fear of walking in on your roommate making out with her boyfriend in front of your desk or letting dishes and leftover food fester for weeks. Living alone allows you to avoid all those awkward moments that no one willingly experiences. Plus, you can be the one in control of your space, whether you have friends over or spend the evening with Netflix.
Fear: Things that go bump in the night can be 10 times scarier when you're home alone. It's easy to get freaked out by bumps and creaks in the night, especially when your imagination creates a situation where a huge bug is going to crawl into your ear and start eating your brain. But what might be worse than having to face the boogieman (or boogiewoman) alone is having to face the army of ants invading though the windowsill or the spider in your bathtub by yourself. Maybe it's just a part of growing up, but having a buddy to bond over the insects and specimens that find themselves in your personal space is definitely a special experience.
Can be lonely: Sometimes after a long and hard day, someone to listen and talk your problems out with can be nice. Living alone means sometimes you're deprived of that friendly ear to vent to. It also means you'll have to seek out socialization since it won't be readily around you, like in an on-campus residence hall. Sure, you can whip out your phone and have a conversation via phone or even Facetime, but both of those alternatives fail when you're in a moment when all you need is a hug. One is the loneliest number, especially when you're in a tough spot and you seek help from a friend.
It's all on you: It might still be less expensive than living on campus, but if you live alone, you're solely responsible for all the bills. Too tired to cook tonight? Then you'll go hungry, because no roommate means no option for alternating cooking nights. You're also solely responsible for all those dreaded chores like cleaning toilets and vacuuming. Cleaning a bathroom with a buddy doesn't initially sound like fun, but when you pump up the music and have a singing session with a friend, it can become entertaining and productive. A roommate can ease that "To-Do" list in addition to being fun and productive.
Samantha Smoak is a junior in communication studies. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
This content appeared as a part of the fall 2013 housing guide.