Sharing is not always caring

Hailey Glasnovich

At Augustana, students can live in a single dorm by choice or accommodation. Regardless of the reason, students must pay more for these rooms financially and socially, as single rooms are more expensive and may make it more difficult for students to interact with the campus community.

Most students do not randomly end up in a single dorm, as they are willing to pay more for medical or personal reasons. However, it is critical that accommodations be met before any other reason because single dorms are limited on campus.

First-Year Natalie Stanfield lives in a single dorm due to accommodations at Westerlin Hall.

“I am on the spectrum and people can easily overstimulate me. My mental health professional team and I decided before school started that it was best if I came home at the end of the day to myself in order to decompress and avoid unwanted stimulation,” Stanfield said.

It may be the best option for some students, but that does not make the situation easy. Social interactions are limited and potentially intimidating without the support of a roommate. For First-Years, living alone on a new campus can feel isolating. 

It is the beginning of living independently, and students who are alone might not feel comfortable going out on their own to interact with others. Non-First-Years could already have connections on campus, not worrying about the isolation of living alone.

“I didn’t have a predisposed ‘friend,’ which forced me to actually put myself out there. In hindsight, I’m glad because I was forced to build on my interpersonal skills. My mental health was affected at the start, but now that I have my groove, I have no difficulty interacting with others,” Stanfield said.

There are no roommate conflicts in a single dorm, but this also takes away the possibility of a built-in friend to go to campus events with. For some students, this seems like the necessary choice. They might not like the risk of being paired with someone new or not having alone time. 

Students who live in single dorms may be viewed differently by some, but the majority of others would not bat an eye at the thought. Some even feel jealous of their personal space.

“I often get told how lucky I am that I have a single,” Stanfield said.“Although I didn’t get one by chance, I am lucky to not have to share my space with someone. I have heard people passing by my room making comments about how ‘weird people live in singles.’ I don’t think that’s the case whatsoever. Otherwise, I think most people have a pretty neutral view towards me despite living by myself.”

There should not be any stigma for people living alone on campus. It is not odd or demeaning to want to live alone. Not everyone can mentally handle rooming with a stranger they met online, and not everyone has the opportunity to live with someone they already know. This works for a majority of students, but it is not for every student

Rather than focusing on the uncertainty of fitting in on campus, students who need accommodations for a single dorm should not be forced to pay more for something that they need.