Last year, I managed to snag one of the very coveted single dorms in my residential hall. This was after a roommate situation freshman year that was not so much a "situation" as it was "that one time she threw up in my bed." After that debacle, I had dreams—dreams of lying on my futon with my Netflix queue, pantsless and devoid of obligatory social interaction, dreams of privacy and personal space and vomit-free furniture.
But after a year of living in tiny room by myself, I can tell you there are perks, perils, and unexpected near-death experiences unique to the single dorm experience.
Perk: You don’t have to act like you have a life.
There’s no need to go out and socialize for your roommate's benefit. Mine had friends over a lot, and it often felt like I was lurking in the corner of a slumber party I hadn’t been invited to. In a single dorm with no roommate, you explain yourself to NO ONE. If you feel like spending the whole weekend under the comfiest blanket ever while eating an entire gallon of ice cream and sharing it with nobody, then what’s stopping you? Answer: only the fact that you don’t have any whipped cream to go with it. And you can eat that right out of the CAN.
Peril: There’s nothing forcing you to have a social life.
Yeah. On the other hand, it’s pretty easy to fall into the hermit trap. Soon you’ll be the Boo Radley of your hallway, and people will crane their necks to catch a rare glimpse of the girl who is more myth than human.
Perk: You can do WHATEVER YOU WANT.
So if you want to dance around in your underwear or watch horror movies on mute because it’s less scary that way, go right ahead. Pull an all-nighter without worrying that you're going to wake your roommate. Rearrange all your furniture at 2 AM if it strikes your fancy. (Don't actually do this. I did, and by 3 AM I was trapped under my desk and crying.)
Peril: You could die, and no one will ever know.
This occurred to me numerous times, namely a) when I was trapped under said desk, b) when I heard a noise one night and thought it was ghosts, and c) when I choked while eating soup. All I could think was, "I’m going to die, and they’re going to find me eating soup out of a can, using a cardboard box as a table and a dryer sheet as a napkin. And no one’s going to find me until my parents realize I haven’t called in a while. Oh my God. When was the last time I cleared my Internet history?"
Perk: You can be a human disaster and no one has to know about it.
If you want to chuck everything on your floor and deal with it in the vaguely near future, no one’s going to judge you. We all go through periods of homework overload and maximum-capacity stress. It’s nice to be able to flail around in the privacy of your own room and let the chores be tomorrow’s problem.
Peril: Before you know it, you’ll be living in a pile of your own filth.
Apparently the only thing standing between you and a disgusting, bachelor-pad lifestyle is the presence of another person. It happened to me and it’ll happen to you.
With all that being said, I definitely recommend at least having a roommate your freshman year. It’s a total eye-opener, and like every boring adult who’s ever given you their opinion on the matter, I’d say it’s a good experience. But after that—once you have a handful of roommate horror stories under your belt, and once you’ve seen things you can’t un-see—then feel free to nab the single. Basically, if anyone’s going to puke in your bed, it’s going to be you, and to me that one little perk is worth all the perils.
Do you prefer living alone to having a roomie?