I’m not going to lie. The first two years at college were a struggle for me, compounded by the feeling that I shouldn’t have been struggling. And, even though my third and final year has barely been off to a start yet, there have been definite ways that life here has been improving.
And so, I present you just a few things, in no particular order.
1. My own room
I feel like I’ve been brainwashed for the last two years. Yeah! Having a roommate is great! It means I’m never alone! You could watch scary movies without fearing the dark corners of your room. You would never sink into that sad little life of people living on their own. You’d never develop your own quirks, like walking around naked. And colleges would reinforce that belief by making it at least $2000 harder for people to want single rooms, so we would all convince ourselves that this is what we want. An opportunity to live with one of your best friends for 8 months.
What was I thinking?? Having a room to myself absolutely rocks. After the grueling
30-minutes day of interactions with friends all over the place, having a place to retreat to like a little hermit is a godsend. It’s part of the reason why college kids are so tired! Never being alone and not having a place to recharge is exhausting. And, no one knows what you do in your room. If you want to partake in some weird little ritual you like to do at home, you can finally do it at school!
Have I sold it to you yet? Good.
2. Cooking for myself
What? You mean I get to decide what I want? No more refreshing the dorm hall menu obsessively to see if it’s Chicken Broccoli Bake day? I can cook it myself every goddamn day if I wanted to? Hell yes! Just set me loose at any nearby grocery store and I will go crazy. It’s like a buffet of cheaper eat-out food that you have to prepare yourself! No more paying for the too-expensive meal plan that was set because they thought everyone ate like a HIPPO, which I sometimes did because I felt like I was obligated to. No more unhealthy delicious food that resulted in the 5023894 pounds I’ve gained since senior year of High School. No more. I’m free!
3. A home away from home
Despite how they market it, a dorm room is exactly that: a dorm room. It’s a little jail cell disguised and furnished to make people believe that they can reside in it for long periods of time (can you tell how much I hate dorms yet?). And, except for your freshman year dorm hall, there is no sense of community or there is too much sense of community, which makes the first part of that sentence kind of null, doesn’t it? Like your permanent residence, living off-campus gives you the ability to choose your anonymity level. You can choose never to be acquainted with your fellow apartment-ers and neighbors or you can choose to be that person and bring over fruit cakes all the time. A dorm, on the other hand, is definitely forced interactions, which may be necessary for the first part of your college career, but definitely not the last part.
You’re off campus. It’s like not really being at school, despite the fact that you’re swamped in school work. And you’re not assaulted by the fact that everyone is going out that weekend. You can hermit in peace. And, when you feel up for it, you can choose to visit that other population that lives closer to your school and party with them. It’s just that home feeling that makes you like the atmosphere a little more.