So… it’s April of your senior year, and you’re meticulously filling out forms about your sleeping habits (why yes, you do tend to sleep at 2 AM and think 12 PM is ‘early’) and cleanliness habits to send to your future home for the next four years. Or, you’re a college freshman re-applying for housing with your dorm BFF/sorority sister/random classmate from English 101. Come June, you receive that nice envelope or automated email from Residential Life, hoping to get for what you asked for (please no early-bird neat freak!) And in that nice little slot, lies ROOMMATE: NONE. And your address happens to have an S by it.
Yup, you’re in a single. Obviously, a single room isn’t the image most conjure up when thinking about college dorms (and most freshmen aren’t lucky enough to get one), but they’re out there.
Nervous? Excited? Don’t really know what you’re getting into/how you’ll fit all your stuff into a 120 square foot box? Don’t worry; here are the pros and cons of life in a single.
PRO: You Can Decorate However You Want
Double rooms, although slightly larger than singles, have two of everything but the same amount of wall space. In a double, you just have to hope that your roommate doesn’t have orange sheets to clash with your purple pillows. In a single, you get to decorate it however you’d like (as long as the tape you’re using won’t ruin the walls, thank you ResLife.) You’re more likely to feel at home here because you’ve provided all of the decoration yourself. Plus, you don’t need to fight with your roommate when your Hannah Montana poster looks out of place next to their Metallica one.
CON: You have to bring everything yourself
At my school, rooms are allowed one TV, one microwave, one fridge, one toaster… You get the picture. If you’re living in a double, you can coordinate who brings what. If you’re in a single, you get to bring all of that yourself. College close to home? You’re in luck there. For some people, coming by plane from 2000 miles away, it isn’t possible to bring all of those. It can be a problem if you want to store certain liquids, but you don’t have a fridge to put them in. Better make friends with the girl across the hall with the 40-inch plasma screen for your homesick Sex and The City marathons….
PRO: You get your own space
I can’t stress this enough. YOU. GET. YOUR. OWN. SPACE. You can do whatever you want! Are you a fan of Skyping at 3 AM? No problem. Like to take 3 hour naps in the middle of the day? Go ahead. You don’t need to share your space with anyone, thus you don’t need to make any rules, like ‘Lights off by 12 AM’ or ‘No Boys Overnight’ with your roommate. Oh did I mention that you can do WHATEVER you want? So, it would come in handy when you’re entertaining a caller of the opposite sex at strange hours of the night. You’re not going to have to worry about keeping it down for your roommate. If you time it right, it’s like she/he was never even there.
CON: Muy Expensivo
You get your own space… at a cost. Dorms are extremely expensive, and singles just follow that path. Last year, my single cost approximately $6200, compare to the $4900 of that of the double. For some families, this can mean less furnishings/trips home. In the end, it’s up to you to decide if that little bit of privacy is worth the extra money.
PRO: No Roommate
You’ve probably heard stories of roommates walking in on each other, sexiling each other or all-out hating each other. No matter how much people love their roommate, their subtleties and tics can eventually gnaw on the relationship. There’s also the more common path (in my experience) of being apathetic or disliking their roommate. I’ve had friends who weren’t comfortable hanging out in their own room out of sheer dislike for their co-habitators. Living in a single you NEVER have to deal with that. Be grateful you can study in your room when that girl down the hall has to trek to the library to study out of fear for what her roommate would do.
CON: No Roommate
Yes, having no roommate has its downsides. If you’re going to a school where you don’t know anyone, your roommate can be the first friend. She can also be your source for free clothes, homework help, and a connector to new people you’d never have met on your own. Plus, for every two stories I hear about roommates hating each other, I hear one about roommates that absolutely love each other and are now best friends for life.
VERDICT: Having lived with a roommate that I loved dearly and in a single, I much preferred the privacy/freedom that the single offered me. If you have a single, embrace it! If you don’t… embrace your roommate (and all her quirks) and hope/pray for a better housing assignment next fall!