Do I risk another random roommate nightmare, live with a friend and risk hating each other by the end of the year, or move off campus and live alone?
After two years, two residence halls and two roommates, I decided roommate No. 3 would be a purple betta fish. Royale never leaves the dirty dishes in the sink for weeks on end, never keeps me up all night writing a paper and I never have to worry about pernicious behavior damaging our relationship.
Living alone was one of the best decisions I've made since making the move from home sweet Nashville to UT, but the solo lifestyle isn't for everyone.
If you are considering going roommate-less next year, here's some food for thought that might help with the decision.
Pro: Sweet freedom
Do you want to keep the thermostat on 68 degrees? 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?" OK. Don't like the Pinterest-inspired light-up solo cup garland "decorating" your wall? Then take it down, because living alone means you have complete control over your schedule and living space. When you have roommates, you have to be respectful of their personal preferences and schedules.
Con: Things that go bump in the night
So maybe watching "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" before bed and spending the night trying to convince my imagination that millions of gigantic ants are not coming to eat me alive wasn't the best idea. Speaking of ants, what might be worse than facing a masked villain might be facing the army of (normal-sized) ants stampeding in the window. Though your roommate might hate the creepy-crawlies as much as you do, it's nice to have the moral support.
Pro: Peace of mind
It's great knowing that after 12 hours of being at school and at work, I didn't have to come home to a bored roommate who wanted to chat or has brought all her friends back for a night of drunken tomfoolery. My stuff is always in the same place as I left it and my bottle of shampoo is never mysteriously empty. Living alone gives you the extra peace of mind and control of your space, whether you have friends over or spend the evening with Netflix.
Con: One is the loneliest number
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 you won't be able to trot down the hall in your bunny slippers to chat with your friend. Sure, you can whip out your phone and give someone a call or FaceTime them, but sometimes it just isn't the same as talking to someone in person.
Pro: 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. And much to the relief of my parents, 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.
Con: Campus disconnect
It's harder to stay connected and attend campus events when you're required to commute. My connection to The Daily Beacon has kept me involved in campus life and provides a tight-knit group of friends to make up for not living with a whole floor of friends. At UT, living alone also probably means living off-campus, so you have to put forth the effort to seek out activities since they won't be just down the hall or across the street anymore.
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 spring 2014 housing guide.