What Living Alone Has Taught Me

When I first started thinking about college, the one thing I never thought I would do in my four (maybe more) years, was live alone. I never expected to be living alone in my third semester of college, but I am grateful that I did. Though I have only lived alone for a semester, it has taught me so much.

Everyone constantly asks me how I live alone or tells me that they could never live alone, and I understand because I felt the same way. Living by myself wasn’t what I had planned, but in reality, it was what I needed.

My schedule this semester was the best schedule I could ever have, I had only Tuesday/Thursday or online classes, which meant that every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, I was free. This was the perfect schedule to have along with a job, but I ended up not getting a job, which meant that I had a lot of free time.

Since I was living alone, free time was also alone time. With the abundance of alone time I had this semester, I learned a lot about myself. One of the most important things that I learned, is that I am the longest commitment in my life, so I need to get to know myself and put myself first more often. I realized that I, too often, put other people before myself. That isn’t a bad thing, but I started to notice that I would do things for others in place of doing things for myself, which isn’t always the best time. You are important, and you need to treat yourself like you are.

I learned that alone time is not always bad. The end of the summer and the beginning of the semester had a few big life changes for me and I was honestly worried that being by myself all the time would give me time to overthink everything, but in reality, it helped me realize why everything happened. All of the alone time allowed me to come to terms with everything that was going on and rationalize it and try and look ahead at the bigger picture.

I learned that I am, what I would call, a social introvert. I enjoy being around people and socializing, but I will always need alone time. How social I am, changes on a day to day basis because some days are just so draining that being around people is hard and exhausting. At the end of the day, I need some time by myself to recharge.

I learned that I am stronger than I think. I absolutely love my parents, and though I was so excited to move away my freshman year of college, I missed them like crazy but having roommates helped a lot. I was able to come home and have other people near me, so the thought of living away from my parents AND by myself honestly scared me a little. I didn’t know if I was capable of it, but day by day (and with a lot of phone calls to my mother) I made it.

I learned what it is truly like to be comfortable in my own skin. Growing up, my mother always told me that once I was comfortable in my own skin, I wouldn’t care what others thought of me. Even though I could have sworn up and down I was comfortable in my own skin, I really wasn’t until now. Every day I would wake up and I had no one to face but myself (aka my biggest critic), which means that the only person whose opinions I should care about are mine. And if there is something that I didn’t like about myself that I can change, then I need to put in the effort to change it, and if I can’t change it then I need to come to terms with it.

Even though living alone wasn’t what I expected for myself at this point in my life, it was such a blessing. I learned so much about myself that I think is really important and I don’t know how else I would have learned it without living by myself. Even though I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to live alone, I am excited to see what the new semester, new year, and my new living arrangements have in store.