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How to survive the single life

| Monday, March 22, 2021

On Jan. 28, 2021, Notre Dame students received an email from the Division of Student Affairs outlining many campus updates prior to move-in. This email discussed residence hall updates including a then-expanded guest policy. In that same paragraph, just lines below, the Division of Student Affairs encouraged students interested in living with fewer roommates to contact the Office of Residential Life. 

Hours after I received this email and read it through, my roommate texted me to let me know that she had been approved to move to a single and would no longer be my roommate throughout the spring semester. After a semester of getting to know each other and living in our (small) Pangborn room together, I learned that our double would now become a room I lived in alone. My story wasn’t unique to me. In fact, in Pangborn Hall where I live, there are very few double rooms remaining. Since I live in a hall that mainly houses transfer and cancelled study abroad students, there were many empty rooms that students took advantage of after receiving this email. 

Throughout my first year at Saint Mary’s before I transferred to Notre Dame, I lived in a single. Being a freshman and enduring the natural struggles that came with getting accustomed to college meant that living alone probably wasn’t the best for me. I found myself falling behind in my classes at times, staying up too late and not keeping up with my responsibilities. When I found out that I would be living in a room all by myself for a semester, I was worried. 

Luckily, I’ve found ways to keep up with my mental and physical health, despite being entirely alone most of the time. 

1. Waking up early. 

When I moved in before spring semester officially began, I got myself in the habit of waking up at 6 a.m. each day. Making this choice allowed me to ensure that I was ready to tackle the day by 9 a.m. when I had to complete most of my responsibilities like attending class or posting on the Observer’s social media. I have to admit, waking up this early every morning was difficult, but I developed a foolproof way to get myself awake at any time, no matter how early. Since my bed is lofted, I placed an alarm clock on the other side of the room. When it goes off in the morning, I have to climb all the way down my ladder, walk across the room and turn it off.

2. Getting at least 30-45 minutes of exercise.

Now, I don’t go to the gym each day. Honestly, I’d be lucky to make it once every few weeks. However, I still like to make time for exercise. Each day, I like to go for a walk around campus or do around 30 minutes of yoga. Working out in some way helps me to remain motivated and to still feel accomplished even on days when I don’t get much done. 

3. Eating meals with a friend. 

Recently I’ve found myself heading over to Saint Mary’s nearly every day to eat dinner with my friend Hannah. Eating with someone else and making sure that I have the opportunity to have a conversation with someone throughout my day is really important to me, since most of my daily tasks are done alone. 

4. Doing homework outside of my room. 

When I spend multiple consecutive hours inside of my room, I often find myself distracted or overwhelmed by other things I have to get done like laundry, dishes, etc. Finding somewhere around campus to complete my schoolwork allows me to complete my work more efficiently and I stay attentive for much longer than I would inside of my room. Furthermore, when I spend so much time inside of my dorm, I’m dying to get out and find somewhere to go!

5. Participating in clubs and activities. 

Although I’ve participated in mock trial and worked for the Observer for much longer than just this semester, I’ve been able to throw myself into my activities throughout the time I’ve lived alone. I’ve found myself appreciating my teammates and colleagues much more than I did before, likely because my social-meter runs out much more slowly than it did when I was living with someone else. I’ve found how much I truly enjoy the things I participate in around campus and how much I look forward to the time I get to spend with other students who are passionate about the same things I am. 

6. Keeping a clean room. 

This one seems obvious, but it can definitely be hard when you spend so much time confined to a small room. When you live alone, your dorm serves as your sanctuary. It’s the quiet place that only you get to see, and where you consider “home.” That’s why it’s especially important to make sure that you keep your room clean for yourself! 

Even though I’m now growing to love it, getting used to living in a single is hard, and I’ve had to put in the work to ensure that I was both physically and mentally healthy, while also completing my schoolwork, maintaining a social life, and still keeping up with my responsibilities. If you live in a single and you’re finding yourself struggling, I hope that implementing some of my suggestions helps you!

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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About Veronica Navarro

Veronica Navarro is a junior at Notre Dame from South Bend, IN currently serving as The Observer's Social Media Editor. Navarro is also a member of the Notre Dame Mock Trial team and a resident of Flaherty Hall.

Contact Veronica