Living with a Roommate vs. Living Alone

So you have made the absolute decision that you would live on college campus (dorm or apartment). The next major decision that needs a great...

So you have made the absolute decision that you would live on college campus (dorm or apartment). The next major decision that needs a great deal of attention is whether to live alone or share room with a roommate. Although most college freshman living in dormitories do not have this choice as most dorm rooms are assigned double occupancy from the get-go, regardless, this piece will still be relevant throughout your college years.

Of course the most important determinant of  your rooming situation is whether you can afford living as a single resident or double residents. Although many students in general would prefer living alone by themselves than to share room with a roommate, living with a roommate does have its advantages that you should be aware of. With the rising costs of tuition and other living expenses, deciding to go live by oneself can be a huge financial burden unless the student has a good stream of cash flow from a part-time job or parental support.

Living alone in a campus apartment can run in the amounts of $1,000 to $1,500 in California and other high rental states. However, if you share a room with a roommate, you can cut that amount in half and use the rest money towards your food, books, shopping, entertainment or even save for raining days or a new car or towards paying off your students loan (if you have any).

Yes living with roommates can be a nightmarish experience as I have experienced myself, however, having the mindset that it is a temporary living condition certainly helped me get over it, and the second time was a charm.

While living alone give you the utmost privacy to do whatever you please (throw party in your room, play music, tv, having friends over etc.) and the assurance that nobody will touch your stuff, living with a roommates can come in handy when least expected. For example when you forget to bring your homework to class and your roommate happens to be coming back to campus, they can print it for you and bring it to your class without you having to miss anything, or when you need that extra opinion at midnight before turning-in the paper you have been procrastinating since a week, and besides your roommate can be your 'wing man' (wing woman) when the situation arises (assuming you two are not competing for the same person).

So, if you have the choice of choosing your roommate, make sure it is somebody you understand, trust and respects your privacy and that can take suggestions. During your first few weeks of rooming together, you two should develop ground rules on who is responsible for cleaning what and when it is permitted to use each other's stuff. Nothing ruins a roommate experience than to come back home from an exhausting class and find out that the left-over pizza you were hoping to munch has been cleared up by your roommate or that flies have taken your dishes hostage.

Anyway, regardless of your preference of either living alone or living with a roommate, before you sign that apartment lease, make sure you are up to the task of dealing with a roommate or living alone and paying hefty sum each month.

I welcome your comment on this issue.


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