What It's Like Living Alone

I am a Junior now, and it has been two years since I started attending a university in Boston. I lived on campus during my first year, but I then ended up moving into an apartment by myself in Cambridge during my sophomore year. I am going to be extremely honest, I did not enjoy living on campus. I thought my dorm was very cramped, there were no overhead lights, and sharing a bathroom with seven other girls was unsettling. As an introvert, I like having my own space, and I was able to get this when I started commuting. 

Living alone has been such a drastic yet interesting change in my life. I am an international student, and I barely have any family here with me in Massachusetts. I am from Bangladesh, and Bangladesh is a place where families play such a crucial role in one’s life. It’s so common to see many families back home sharing such intimate and close relationships with one another, and it’s such a lovely sight. When I went back to Bangladesh over the summer, I visited my grandfather’s house often. I remember hanging out with my relatives at their beautiful and spacious rooftop whilst admiring the vast view. We would all sit along my grandfather’s balcony and we would all have these conversations while helping ourselves with tea, biscuits and a few traditional Bengali snacks.

I was so used to being around my family back home, but living completely by myself was something very new to me. I immediately felt as if the responsibilities I had to fulfill had already started to kick in. Living alone comes with a lot of responsibilities: keeping the flat clean, grabbing groceries, maintaining laundry and being responsible with time so I can catch the T for school. Since it takes approximately 20-25 minutes to reach my university, I have to make sure that I leave the house early in the morning. I felt as if I became an adult within such a short period of time, from making the decision to live on my own.

Along the way, I experienced life lessons that molded a new me. After spending more time with myself, I started reflecting more about myself and the choices I made in the past as well as the present. There were times when I struggled with handling past memories that have impacted me negatively. I started thinking about all the people who left me and did not give me the love and support I needed when I began struggling with personal issues. All this contemplation resulted in me becoming more understanding and somewhat tolerant towards other people, and I began seeing things more differently than I had done so in the past.

For those of you who are living by yourselves, consider this to be a time when you can really change yourself for the better if you have problems with self-esteem. Consider this as a blessing, because not everyone is given the opportunity to live alone. Yes, there will be times when you may feel lonely and this experience may intimidate you at first, but these are all worth it. Believe me. You can do this. Just make sure that you know what you’re doing because it’s difficult to balance school with everything else if you are a commuter. Until then, you’re good to go!