My name is Tucker Johns, and I live by myself. Sometimes when I say it, I feel like I must sound like an old spinster who lives with her cats in a musty apartment. I, however, am not a retiree or even, in my opinion, a fully functioning adult. I am simply a college student with my own apartment. Is that so strange?
Judging by the smorgasbord of reactions that I get when I let slip this fact, some people think it is. Of course, I appreciate my friends, clearly struggling with roommates who neglect to clean the bathroom or stink up the kitchen with another burned dinner, who seem envious and ask me how great it is to have my own space. This sense of assurance disappears as quickly as it comes, though, when the next person I tell looks at me like I’m some sort of social leper.
It’s not that I don’t have friends to live with or couldn’t find a house; this semester, living alone simply emerged as the best option for me. I lived on campus last year and knowing that I would be home for the summer and abroad in the fall, I had no interest in signing a 12–month lease and competing with half of the junior class to find subletters. Since I wanted to sublet, I pursued all avenues, listservs, friends and even Craigslist, until I compiled a list of all possible options. The choice that rose to the top of the pack was a five–month sublet in a fully furnished apartment close to campus. Great, I thought, until I read the fine print: one–bedroom.
Whatever, I’ve lived on my own before, right? At home, I’ve had the entire basement to myself since my brother moved upstairs after fourth grade, afraid of nonexistent rats. I had a single in the Quad freshman year, AND it had a sink, so I could even brush my teeth in private. Last year, I shared a bedroom for one hellish semester and my own room in our apartment in the spring suited me much better. As I considered these past arrangements, I realized that, while I had had my own bedroom for the majority of my life, I had never actually lived alone.
Well, after three weeks, I’m getting used to the single life. I can set my alarm as loud as I want, turn the heat to whatever setting I feel like and even use the entire fridge. Heck, I can watch all the "Keeping Up with the Kardashians" I want, even at two in the morning (yes, it has happened more than once).
I’m not saying there aren’t downsides. When I come home after a full day of class and see my bowl of mostly eaten Cinnamon Toast Crunch still on the counter, I know I’m going to have to wash it. When I locked myself out sans shoes or a jacket the other day, I had to call the landlord instead of simply knocking on the door. The silence that greets me upon entry is sometimes nice and other times kind of eerie.
I certainly don’t regret my decision to live alone this semester, and in a sense it’s good practice for the years after school when such an arrangement will probably happen again. I’m happy, though, that I’m moving back in with friends in the fall. Maybe, I can bring some of my newfound responsibility to the house with me.