Living Alone As A College Student: 5 Things I’ve Learned
I lived alone for five months in a tiny studio apartment, in a large populated city. Doing so was such an eye opening experience. I learned so much about myself, boundaries, mental health, + relationships. One thing people automatically ask when they hear I live alone is, “Are you lonely?” or “Don’t you get bored?” There is a huge difference between being by yourself + being lonely. Everyone experiences loneliness from time to time. Something not everyone gets to experience, that I feel everyone should, is living alone. Being able to do things alone without interruptions is one of the biggest perks of living alone!
Here are 5 things I learned while living alone:
#1] This is a huge chance for some inner reflection + growth
When I began my journey of living alone, I’ll admit, I was very scared. This was my first time being fully on my own. Without roommates or family surrounding me. It was nerve racking, but also a little freeing. Coming home to an empty house is one of the best feelings for me. As someone who spends the majority of the day socializing + being on social media for work, it gets draining to have to come home to people + strike up even more conversations. With this new environment, I was able to recharge my batteries by spending time alone. I’m a very independent person by nature, so I thrive while living alone. I was able to create a space that was mine + I was able to escape from the rest of the world.
#2] I was in control of something for once in my life
I am someone who suffers from anxiety, which means part of my daily routine is feeling like I have no control over anything. I genuinely feel that every decision that is made for my life is impacted even a little by someone else’s control. I never truly feel like I have full control over my life. Except for when I started living alone. I could control everything. The temperature of my home, when I ate dinner, what music I listened to + at what volume. I controlled how late I slept in + how early I went to bed. I controlled everything + it gave me a sense of stability, something I hadn’t felt in a very long time.
#3] I learned to face some of my fears
Having anxiety, it also causes me to draw back + rely on others for certain things in life. For example, answering the door for our food delivery, making a phone call, or speaking with a landlord. Living alone forced me to practice these acts everyday + overcome those fears, even just a little bit. You also gain confidence knowing that no matter what, you will be okay on your own. I don’t need to fear dependence, because I know now how I am fully independent.
#4] Full freedom to be YOU
Do I put on a full performance every night when I’m in the shower? Yes! Living alone means I can be as loud as I want, listen to whatever music I want, with no judgement. It’s truly the one place where I can be myself, on my own, on my own terms.
#5] You are pushed to make more of an effort to see friends + admit when you are not okay
As someone who struggles with mental health issues, this was a huge fear of mine when living alone. What if I got really bad again + no one was there to help me or support me? + at one point, I did get really bad again. I found myself not reaching out to friends or family, relying on my own company + thoughts to get through it. I learned quickly that that was not going to work. I found my voice + reached out to friends + family, expressing that I needed help + got the support I needed. Like I mentioned earlier, there is a difference between being alone + being lonely. But sometimes, living alone can lead to loneliness + you find yourself repeating unhealthy patterns. No one is there to force you to eat, shower, or get out of bed everyday. You have to be there for YOU + understand when you are hitting a breaking point. This is when it’s important to reach out to friends, leave your tiny studio apartment, get outside, + do something good for you. Break the pattern + continue breaking the pattern, no matter how many tries it takes. But don’t give up on yourself.
So if you’ve ever wanted to live alone, go for it! It’s going to be hard work + you’re going to learn a lot about yourself. But you’ll also have the most amazing feeling of independence, self-growth, + love for yourself that you’ve never experienced before. While I loved living alone, I will be living with roommates for the next year. To be transparent, it is expensive + something I’m so grateful for this experience. It is truly eye-opening + something I believe everyone should experience at least once.
*Disclaimer: If you struggle with mental health, we encourage you to check out our Mental Health Resource Guide