My friends had now been discussing their roommate situations for weeks. Each time another one of us learned who our roommate(s) would be, we would all do the classic social media and Google stalk, attempting to find out every possible fact about who these future best friends or mortal enemies would be. I anxiously awaited the email announcing my fated living situation for the next year, contemplating what my future roommate might be like. Finally, the email arrived. I opened it to only find out the roommate that I had been extremely nervous (yet excited) to meet didn’t exist.
After wrapping up my first quarter, I am looking back on not having a roommate, which many students at UC Davis and across the United States view as a quintessential college experience. For starters, I did request to live in a single, but not in the way one might think. I put a double as my preference and a triple as my next choice. Then, I put my name on the waitlist to be put in a single without actually considering that I might receive one — after all, less than three percent of bed spaces available are single-occupancy rooms, according to the UC Davis Student Housing website. Before moving in, I went over the perks that came with having a room all to myself. I wouldn’t have someone else’s annoying alarms or mess. I didn’t have to worry about bugging a roommate when I wanted to stay up late. I could do homework in my room without any distractions. I could choose my visitors. I could watch my favorite TV shows without earbuds. And most important of all: I could avoid the conflict that comes with living with someone else.
I love all the benefits that come with having my own room, but there are other aspects of having a single, some of which I am still struggling with. At my floor meeting on my first night of college, everyone arrived with their roommates by their side. I came alone. There wasn’t anyone to accompany me. I realized, at that moment, that I didn’t have an automatic companion, which I often wish I had. I quickly learned that stigma comes with having a single room. My peers seem to assume that I chose to have my own room because I do not enjoy being social or am an introvert, neither of which are true. For my first couple of weeks in Davis, I eased my loneliness by turning to my high school friends on campus. This worked for a while, but I soon felt left behind as some of them became close with their roommates.
I am lucky that I have become friends with my neighbors. Despite this, I have to put myself out there a little more than people in a double or triple to make friends. Living in a single is a luxury if one knows how to navigate it. I always classified myself as a fairly independent person, but not to the level I am now. My experience in a single has forced me to learn to be content spending time alone. I have had to become my own friend in a sense, and I’d like to think that my experience has been a growing process. I would not trade my single for a double or triple, but I realize now that I have to reach out to people more to make friends.