Sips Tea: How Living Alone Changed My Life

Photo courtesy of Idalia Candelas

Photo courtesy of Idalia Candelas

This year marks my second year living alone. To some people, the words “living alone” might seem scary, but I’m here to tell you why going “solo dolo” could be the next best decision you make. It worked out for Beyonce and trust me, it can work out for you too.

My college living journey began with me moving into a suite-style dorm my freshman year with seven other girls. Now if you have sisters or are a girl yourself, I’m sure you all just imagined miscellaneous makeup and hair products flooding a small bathroom counter, a mess of clothes and shoes thrown on a shared living room couch, and just a hot mess in general. All of this is a somewhat accurate depiction of my living situation during that year of my life.

As someone who very much enjoys her own space and takes pride in having a clean place to come home to, living with half a dozen other girls was quite a challenge for me. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t trade the memories we shared for anything. I think in a way that was exactly what I needed as an 18-year-old entering a totally new world — an immediate support group. You also suddenly have a couple more closets to choose from and there is always an on-demand going-out crew to roll with, a study group to review with, or people to vent to at the end of your day. But as you get older, that friend group becomes more of a VIP area at the club, not a general admission concert.

The next year I chose to live in a two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment with the same roommate, one of our suitemates and a friend of hers. As someone who is especially particular about the vibe of my living area (minimum of three candles lit at a time, at least one motivational quote on display, and a freezer always stocked with hot pockets), sharing a room oftentimes drove me insane. With three roommates who were in sororities, and me not being in one, our extracurricular schedules were a bit different. While we had our fair share of fun late nights as a group, Wine Wednesdays became the bane of my 8:00am Thursday class.

Living with roommates can be the best of times and the worst of times. While you always come home to a familiar face, you might sometimes come home to your leftovers eaten, dirty dishes, and your new shoes worn with a “Borrowed these last night. Hope you don’t mind” note.

And that’s how I ended up in my own studio apartment. My first year living alone was both the most magical and the most lonely. I loved every second of having an apartment all to myself. I could do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted (clothing optional). It was the definition of zen. But, living alone can have an effect on people. You happily sip your wine and watch your shows, and before you know it, you haven’t left your apartment or hung out with your friends in weeks. This made me realize how much I missed the convenience of having my closest friends right there when I lived with them, but it also prompted me to start making more plans to connect and maintain the friendships that mattered to me.  

Sometimes being alone is the best way to get to know yourself. Living alone teaches you how to be the most independent version of yourself — a version that can cook, clean, and even fix a maintenance problem you never knew you could. So to anyone considering getting their own place, DO IT!