This is you without a roommate. Image from Pexels.

This is you without a roommate. Image from Pexels.

To answer your first question, no, that’s not a typo, and if you’re looking for an article about being single, you came to the wrong place. (Feel free to check out these articles about being single or, you know, my entire life.)

Despite the administration’s best efforts to efficiently utilize space (read: fit as many people as possible into technically humane-sized living quarters), some lucky students every year wind up living in a double room…without a roommate. At my school (or, at least, on my freshman floor), we refer to these rooms as “dingles”:

dingle: noun. a double room with exactly one person living inside.

After living in one of these unusually spacious abodes for slightly less than two months and living next to one for most of freshman year, I’d consider myself an expert in dingle-ology.

The Origins of the Dingle

You don’t search for the dingle; you wake up one day, and the dingle finds you. That said, if you’re adamant about getting a double room to yourself, it helps to familiarize yourself with the ways that these situations happen:

1. Roommate Transfer

My would-be-roommate this year transferred schools last minute–too late for Residential Life to assign a replacement roommate, at least. The pitfall of this situation (besides the fact that my would-be-roommate is one of the sweetest people that ever existed) is that, at any moment, I could be assigned a roommate who is unhappy with her current living situation. They could move in at any moment (and be horrified by the condition of the room). No matter how much of the room I take over, I have to be prepared to retract myself back to half the room.

2. Unofficial Move-Out

This is the most “stable” form of this situation. If your roommate has a boyfriend/girlfriend, they might unofficially move out into their significant other’s room, leaving you with the whole double to yourself and no fear of having a roommate randomly assigned to you because, on paper, somebody else lives there.

(Caution: Sometimes, the creation of a dingle means three people (a triple’s worth of people) living in a double, depending on who moves in with whom and where. A triple crammed into a double is asking for trouble.)

3. Basically a Commuter Student

Your roommate still lives in your room, sure, but they also live fifteen minutes away, and go home every weekend, and for dinner, and you haven’t seen them in three months. They might be keeping all their stuff in your room, but you’ll still retain most of the dingle benefits.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The benefits are clear, I hope: extra space, no roommate conflicts, stay up with the light on as late as you want, push the beds together and stop worrying about falling off your sliver of mattress, your room can be party central (if you’re into that sort of thing), you can build a blanket fort… You have so much (read: like, actual human room-sized) space! Few people find out they have a double to themselves and are disappointed because, overall, it’s a great circumstance.

Be careful, though–it’s not all rainbows and sunshine.

1. No Peer Pressure to Be a Functional Human Being

When you live with a roommate, you have some motivation to seem like a put-together person. You clean up your half of the room somewhat frequently so that your roomie doesn’t wind up with a surprise pet cockroach. You go to sleep at a reasonable-ish hour so that your roommate can also go to sleep at a reasonable-ish hour. But when you have a dingle, you not only lose all that peer pressure–you have room to become twice the slob you ever could have been. You sleep so much later than you should, distracted not only by homework but by music and Netflix and everything else you can listen to while your not-roommate is not-sleeping.

2. Party Central is Not the Best Place to Live

Last year, my hallmate’s room became “party central” for our hall. Any time more than two people wanted to watch a movie together or hang out, his room was the clear candidate. It was basically public space, to the point that “Can we use your room to watch James Bond?” was never really a question as much as it was an expectation. I never heard him complain about it, but, I mean, sometimes you need to have less than six people in your room.

3. Big, Empty Spaces

Of course, you don’t have to make your dingle public property, but having such a large empty space all to yourself 24/7 can be kind of lonely, in a way that probably isn’t as noticeable when you live in a single. That same hallmate whose room was the social center of our hall once said, “What good is a dingle if you have no one to share it with?”

Not to mention that, if your dingle originated from situation 1 or 3 (or if situation 2 goes wrong), you’ll always need to leave some space to be re-colonized by a roommate. At the beginning of the semester, half of my room was a barren wasteland that served only to remind me of my disappeared roommate.

Long Story Short: With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

If you have a double all to yourself, celebrate–spread out, make pillow forts, stay up all night playing music, invite your friends for sleepovers, etc–but remember to be a good roommate to yourself. Be responsible, keep your room clean, go to bed at somewhat reasonable hours, share your room (in moderation), and enjoy it while it lasts.

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the author

Gabrielle Scullard hails from suburban Arizona, where she is a senior at a public high school. She spends most of her life taking AP classes and crying about her future. When she is not stressing out about school, she plays viola (it’s like a violin but better) and signs in an American Sign Language choir (it’s like a vocal choir but better). She wants to be a superhero, but an internship at The Prospect is basically the same thing. She hopes her writing can help someone or, at least, make someone smile. You can find her on her Tumblr or at home, but she would prefer it if you didn't do either of those things.

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