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Studio Living: What’s it Like to be Completely Independent?

I recently moved into a cute little studio apartment. I haven’t been here long, but what I’ve experienced so far has been both harrowing and rewarding. This is what I’ve learned:

You are the only person who’s going to get things done. There is no one else to blame for the dishes in the sink, and there is only one person who will do them. You can’t rely on anyone to cook some nights, or to kill the bugs in your apartment. You are solely responsible for everything that does or doesn’t get done. On the other hand, you have previously unimaginable freedoms, and you aren’t obligated to anyone but yourself.

Courtesy of Sammi Burke

Get a pet, if possible. My gecko does a couple of things for me. Obviously, he relieves my emotional distress (he’s got the cutest smile), but caring for him is also very rewarding; I have to clean his terrarium, and it inspires me to clean the rest of my apartment; feeding him helps him stay healthy, and I’m proud of myself for it. If geckos aren’t your thing, other great options include betta fish and even plants!

I thought the fear of a break-in would consume me, but it didn’t. Living alone, far away from family can be terrifying, especially when it’s your first time. And, for the first few days, I succumbed to that fear; I left the apartment as little as possible and laid awake for hours at night, listening carefully to every noise I heard in the dark as if I expected intruders. But, the only way out is through; I began reassuring myself with positive thoughts, and a week into sleeping alone, I overcame my fear. I still double-check that I lock my door, and I am more cautious now than I was when living at home with my family, but I can sleep through the night.

All of a sudden, I have a lot more free time. Being responsible for no one but myself and my gecko means I get to focus on and develop my hobbies, as well as take time for mindfulness. This alleviates the stress that living alone can put me under.

There is no one to talk to at a moment’s notice. Living in my childhood home meant bouncing between my sister’s room and my father’s office to tell them my ideas as soon as I had them. They’re only a call or text away, but I miss face-to-face interactions, especially so given the pandemic.

Studio living can create new anxieties for many, but they can be mitigated. Just because you’re living alone doesn’t mean you have to feel alone; make time for friends, and make time for yourself, and you’ll find it’s not so bad after all.


Caitlyn Simson

Virginia Tech '23

Professional Technical Writing and Creative Writing double major, International Public Policy and German double minor. Tea enthusiast, dog person, proud Hokie.
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