The single life
Ellis Riojas | Monday, October 5, 2020
At this point, all the simple models I’ve learned in my forecasting class would predict that I would somehow find a way to have more than five roommates my senior year, but sadly that’s not the case.
As an resident assistant in Baumer Hall, living in a single-occupancy room was the only option, and although I am quite happy to have my own space, this isn’t the best year for me to live in a single.
As a first-year who didn’t click with his roommates, I found friendship and household with my friends Ben and Daniel down the hall, and spent more time in their room than my own. Their companionship was my experience of residential life, and we roomed together with other friends for the next two years. Living together was the foundation of our friendship: Working side by side at our desks as classical music whispered through Ben’s radio, eating granola with peanut butter as we got ready for bed and talking about things that matter and things that don’t late into the night. Even if the day was lonely, there was always a familial space to return to — a household where I could let my guard down and share life with others.
But now my household is just me, and I don’t have the same agency I did my first year to increase its size.
Baumer Hall is proving to be an amazing community. The common spaces are always full of life (even if that life is hours of late 2000’s reruns of Deal or No Deal), laughter and conversation frequent our hallways and there’s always a good crowd that gathers to pray each night at mass with Fr. Pete and Deacon Robert. But no matter how wonderful our communities, we all — especially in the exhausting world we find ourselves in — need a space of retreat: somewhere to take our masks off, somewhere where nothing is happening, somewhere where we can simply be.
I didn’t lose that “somewhere,” but I did lose the people I shared it with.
It wouldn’t be any less safe for me to have a designated household than for someone living in a quad to have three roommates, but as the rules stand, it doesn’t look like I’ll get that household experience this year. And not just me, but the hundreds of others who live in singles too.
Was expecting us to go months without close contact with anyone the plan? None of us chose our single-occupancy rooms with knowledge of what precautions and policies would be in place, and now, following those policies to a T is often counterproductive for our wellbeing.
I hope that by the spring semester the University can rise to this challenge the same way it did to designating closed pods for football games — returning to us single-dwellers the opportunity to have a household where we can let our guard down, a safe, closed pod of friends, a space of communal retreat.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.