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What I’ve Learned and Love About Living By Myself

Though college is the time for making friends and sharing experiences, I never felt myself thriving while living with other people. Of course, that time taught me lessons of compromise and understanding which are important. However, it wasn’t until I had an apartment all to myself that I started to see changes in my life and realized some of the things that I’d missed out on. 

Personal ResponsibilityThere is something satisfying about being responsible for your own space. It gives you a purpose, especially since you can’t fall back on others to do the work for you. You are now in charge of doing your laundry, cooking dinner, and paying the bills. It forces you to be accountable for yourself and encourages you to be more productive. I found that since living by myself I’m more focused on my school work and I don’t fall behind in my chores.

Stress Free Environment I vibe off the energy around me and found living in the dorms to be a very negative environment. Constantly being surrounded by drama was hard on the soul, I missed having that space where I could go and leave everything behind. Living by myself allows me to have that neutral territory where I can return to after a long day, de-stress, and leave all my worries behind. I can also choose who and when can enter that space on my own terms. 

Party for OneI can get into work mode throughout the day and can have a difficult time letting loose. My outward persona is rather serious and quiet, so it’s nice to be able to throw my own dance party without fearing judgment. I can be as silly or weird as I want without worrying about others. Having the ability to let loose on your own terms is freeing as I never felt I could fully do so while living with a roommate. 

Rediscovering FoodSince having to cook all my own meals, I’ve fallen in love with food. When living with someone else, it can be easy to get in the habit for going out to restaurants for dinner or frequently ordering in take-out. But since living by myself, I’ve probably cooked 95 percent of my meals. Though I’ve always loved cooking, my culinary palate has expended and the kitchen has become my go-to for relaxation. Whether it’s baking cookies just because or attempting 5-star meals, it’s a place of enjoyment and not just something you do because you must. 

Embracing Being Alone, but Not LonelyThere is such a pressure to be a social butterfly in college. I used to love doing things by myself, but lost that as I felt I had to keep up with everyone else or be left behind. I’d forgotten what it was like to have myself for a best friend; to just enjoy my own company once and awhile. This is something that I’ve found creates a positive energy in my life. I schedule dates for myself to go to that movie I always wanted to see, work on painting that dresser I never had time for, and just focusing on the things that matter to me. 

 

Artwork by YAOYAO MA VAN AS

Olivia is a Professional Communications in Emerging Media student at the University of Wisconsin - Stout. Currently the Campus Correspondent for Stout's chapter, she hopes to find a career in journalism. Originally from Milwaukee, Olivia has put her city life on hold to follow her dreams. You can follow her at her Instagram or blog, Olivia Marie.
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