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People never really seem to understand how I can live by myself. They think it's too difficult and too lonely to not have at least one roommate. While I have had a few difficult and lonely moments, the amazing experience that comes from living alone far outweighs them. People also assume that living alone is only for introverts who don't like to be around people all the time, which couldn't be further from the truth! I don't consider myself to be an introvert at all; I absolutely love being around people. Living alone is for people who feel that they have enough independence and self-reliance to thrive on their own. I moved 20 minutes away from campus after my freshman year into a studio apartment and haven't regretted a moment of it. Here's how I have made the most of my time living alone: 

1. Learn how to cook 

Cooking for myself has been the biggest adjustment since I moved into my apartment. It's not just learning how to cook though, it's learning how to cook for just you. Most recipes feed more than one person and leave you with tons of leftover ingredients. This also means learning how to grocery shop for one. It's so easy to go to the grocery store without a plan, keep putting things in your cart and then end up spending more money than you needed to. Make sure you have a list of easy recipes to make sure you have a list of things you need when you go to the store. 

2. Get out of the house 

After having roommates, living alone is a whole new exciting experience. However, after a while of enjoying your time alone, you realize just how important it is to be around people. Whether you're an introvert or an extrovert, everyone has days when they just want to stay home and watch Netflix; and while there's nothing wrong with having those days alone, too many of them could mean detaching yourself from your social life. Saying yes more when your friends ask you to go out or just going over to someone else's apartment and hanging out will help you feel more connected. 

3. Make friends with your neighbors 

This tip is especially important if you don't live close to any of your friends. Neighbors are great when you need help in a pinch or just want to have someone to hang out with. It's also nice to have someone to talk to if there is a problem with your landlord or apartment building. I have a wide age range of neighbors in my apartment building, so I get to hang out will my college-age friends when I get home but I also have the sweet old ladies on my floor if I ever need anything. Also, if you live in a building with young families you never know when they're going to need a babysitter! 

4. Keep your space clean

Having roommates means that there is always going to be some kind of a mess but it also means that the mess is never fully going to be your fault. Living alone means that the mess is always your fault and you always have to be the one to clean it up. Dishes piling up in the sink is something that everyone with roommates complains about and unfortunately, there are still going to be dishes in the sink when you live alone. Making sure that your mess doesn't become too overwhelming is important because cleaning an entire apartment or house for hours by yourself is not fun. 

5. Enjoy your independence 

Living alone can be stressful at times but just remember that it means that you can do whatever you want whenever you want to! You don't have to worry about the schedules of your roommates or how the way you live your life is affecting anyone else. You're free to decorate your space however you want, listen to music without headphones, take up all the bathroom counter space and so much more. Living alone means that you learn more about yourself and your habits and grow so much through the process. 

Hey there! I'm Sarah Beth, I'm a Junior at the College of Charleston majoring in communications. Hobbies include going to bed early, losing bobby pins and eating carbs.
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