Greetings, Bears! I can’t believe that we’re already at that point in the semester where things are starting to wrap up. One of the many changes that can occur with the change of the semesters is housing arrangements, as some students move to different residence halls, off-campus, or even potentially have a roommate move out. With those changes happening, I wanted to use my post this week to talk about a perspective that I can share, for any students who may be living alone or preparing to do so for the first time—especially if it was not your first choice. Unfortunately, the holiday season can also bring upon feelings of loneliness for many people, so I thought I would give you my tips, as a student who has lived alone both on and off campus, to help you combat those potential feelings and make the most of your living situation.
As I have mentioned in previous posts, getting involved both on and off campus can greatly aid in combatting feelings of loneliness, as well as help you get out of the house (or residence hall/apartment). This can look like a lot of different things, whether you join an organization or just spend time with friends. Either way, it’s important that you make time in your schedule for you to do those things, so that you can prevent feelings of isolation from others. Both the MSU campus and the Springfield community have endless opportunities for involvement. Try to find at least one thing you can start doing every week, even if it’s small, so that you have something to look forward to. I, for example, sometimes like to go roller skating on weekends when I find that I have nothing else to do. If you give it a chance, you are bound to find something that you enjoy, both on and off campus.
Something else that you can do to help yourself better adjust to living alone is find a hobby or two that you enjoy doing, or something that you will happily devote some extra time to. Occupying yourself at home can make the days where you don’t have class, work, or any other commitments that you are involved in feel more purposeful, as well as bring you joy! Filling your free time with hobbies is a completely necessary act of self-care. Your hobbies can be whatever you want them to be as long as they make you happy. Even in the busiest weeks of the semester, devoting time to your hobbies is a great way to relieve stress or feelings of anxiety about living alone.
Making the Most of Your Space
For those who are living alone or preparing to do so unwillingly, it can be hard to believe that there are good things about living alone, but I promise you that there are perks. One of the bigger benefits of living in a space by yourself is that you have full creative control! Another thing that you can do to bring yourself comfort in your living situation is make it your own, which can look like all sorts of things. I loved having the ability to decorate my first residence hall room however I liked, and there’s a chance that you will love that too! Feel free to experiment with décor to create a space that you feel at home in. Feeling comfortable in your space can also aid in combating loneliness and similar anxieties.
I hope, especially if you are approaching an unexpected solo living situation, that these tips help you feel more comfortable with the idea of living by yourself. It might also be that you have chosen to live alone willingly, which I have done too. No matter what, though, any student is subject to potential feelings of loneliness, even if you live with several roommates, and hopefully these tips can apply to those situations too.
Remember that if you are experiencing feelings of loneliness or unhappiness regarding your situation, there are several on campus resources that can help you, including The Counseling Center and our very own CAST office! Our Peer Mentors would love to talk with you about getting involved on campus and finding other on campus resources. You can request to meet with a Peer Mentor online or come to our drop in hours (Fall 2023: Tuesdays, 1 to 2:30 p.m. and Wednesdays, 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.). I hope that you have a joyful holiday season (if you celebrate) and the best Winter Break. Good luck with the rest of your semester!
(Bio: I am a junior out-of-state student studying Creative Writing and Philosophy.)