Enjoying Alone Time

By Hayeon (Kayla) Lee ‘23

During the first few weeks of my freshman year of Pomona, there were four questions that I was consistently asked when I met a new person:

  1. What is your name?
  2. Where are you from?
  3. What’s your dorm?
  4. Who’s your roommate?

I could answer all of these questions quite quickly. My name is Hayeon Kayla Lee. I’m from Los Angeles but spent my high school years in Connecticut. (Usually, the person would make an “I-am-very confused-please-explain” face, and I would clarify that I attended a boarding school.) My dorm is Wig. (Insert a few snickers and jokes about the lack of air conditioning.)

Last, but not least, I did not have a roommate; I lived in a single. People’s responses to this answer always puzzled me. There was always a look of pity, followed by an invitation to join them and their roommate on a lunch date, and an assurance that, indeed, I would be able to make friends as the school year went by.

3 students on window seat in dorm stairwellContrary to their skewed conception, I did not need a roommate to have friends; I already had made plenty of friends outside my dorm life. I had no trouble making friends, and I chose to be in a single for my freshman year and will continue to choose to live in a single once we return to campus. For me, one of the best decisions I made during my freshman year was to choose to live alone. Once things are safe and we can return to somewhat normal life outside of COVID-19, here are my top three reasons why I requested and enjoyed living in a single–perhaps they will help you make your decision on your housing form.

1.Having my own space

All the pros listed below can be summed up by this one statement: one of the main reasons I decided to forgo a roommate my freshman year was to have my own space. Although I enjoy socializing and meeting new people, I recharge by spending time alone as an ambivert. During my freshman year, I was constantly meeting new people, spending time with different friend groups, trying out new clubs, and adjusting to college. Having a quiet and calm space where I could reflect on the day without constant stimulation was something that I was grateful for throughout the year.

2. My room, my lights

student studying at desk with lampMy sleeping schedule is, ironically, not a schedule. I tend to sleep at odd hours, so not having a roommate allowed me to have my lights on or off whenever was best for me. If I needed to wake up early for early classes, I did not need to tiptoe around the room to prevent someone from waking up. I could turn on the lights. If I was having a migraine and needed some alone, dark time, I could turn off the lights. As much as it seems like a minimal issue, not stressing about whether or not my schedule affects someone else in my living space was a huge burden lifted off of my shoulders.

3. Inviting who I want to invite

3 students in dorm roomThere will be moments when you want to invite your friends over for a Chinese takeout night or a movie night. By having the room to myself, I could invite who I wanted, when I wanted. I could skip double-checking with my roommate to see if they were okay with me bringing someone over and avoid any arguments that can come with this scenario. I was also not placed in an awkward position to say “no” to my roommate if they were bringing someone over when I wanted to be alone.

Although these are my reasons for enjoying a single, everyone is different and has different levels of boundaries! I am an introvert and on the shyer side, and many of my friends who had a roommate enjoyed their experience and are close friends with their roommates. Ultimately both choices have their pros and cons, and you will undoubtedly learn and be pushed out of your comfort zones in either situation. My  advice? Don’t be afraid to choose a single because others may question it. Stay safe, and be well!