At some point, most only children are faced with questions such as “Do you get everything you want?”, “Do you get all of your parents’ attention?” and “Don’t you get lonely?” While these stereotypes may or may not be true for some only children, most do share some common experiences. While I had always wanted a sibling, I enjoyed, or rather needed, my alone time. I spent most of my time with my friends and parents; however, I always relished the moments when I could retreat to my own room and spend some time by myself. There were definitely times when I did feel lonely as an only child and so I was excited to go to college where I knew that I would always be surrounded by other people. When it came time to get my housing assignment, I found out that I had been assigned a single room in a suite of four. I was happy about this since having my own room would not be that much different from my living situation at home. But as the summer progressed and move-in day crept closer, I began to worry about living in a single room. Sure, I would have my own space and be allowed alone time. But would I become a loner? Would I end up retreating to the confines of my room instead of making friends? Would I get lonely without a roommate?

Upon settling in after the first month or so at school, I realized that these fears were unfounded. I found it very easy to be social both on and off my floor. While I had my own room, I did not feel as if I was living alone in my suite of four. We all learned the importance of communication and cooperation. And whenever I just needed complete alone time outside of the suite, I could always find a quiet spot on campus to think and clear my head.

And for those only children living in a double or triple room, know that this will work out too. Several of my friends have told me about their experiences as an only child living with one or two roommates. All new students must go through the same adjustment process. While it may take a little longer for us to adjust, with an open mind and cooperation it is absolutely doable. In fact, some of my friends say that they could never imagine going back to having their own room after sharing one!

And what about my parents? Growing up, I was extremely close to my mom and I was worried that our relationship would change after coming to college. And while I would say that the nature of our relationship has changed somewhat, I think it has only changed for the better. While it took some time to navigate the changing relationship with my parents, with patience and effort from both sides, we have stayed very close despite the 2,000-mile span between us. Whether it be staying in touch with my parents or navigating my living situation, coming to college has taught me a lot about the value of communication, compromise, and cooperation.