Living alone?


Just curious, Do most students like to live by themselves during their PhD or share accommodation?

Have heard both ways for this one. I love living by myself and enjoy the flexibility it gives to my schedule, but lately I'm starting to realise I have become bit of a hermit, with no social interaction for days on end. I think of the money I would save if I share and hopefully have people to talk to. But then again, I have become so used to living alone (letting the place get messy once in a while, listening to bad music, cooking in the middle of the night) that I wonder if I would hate sharing a flat. I wish I could experiment for a while, but the lease terms are one year minimum and I don't want to be stuck in a bad living situation during the most important part of my PhD...

What do you guys think? Anyone who lives alone in an overpriced house but hasn't gone insane?


I am fortunate that my family lets me live with them. I have considered moving out to a sharehouse (couldn't afford single rent) to be closer to work and get away from the family. However with all the horror stories I hear about share houses I have been turned off completely. A 1 year minimum lease is way to long for me personally to risk living with horrible housemates or bad owners/real estate agents.

Maybe if you can find a place with just one other person it could work better as opposed to some of the houses packed with people you see around.

Some stories are just wrong.


======= Date Modified 16 Nov 2011 08:24:10 =======
I live with my husband and three young kids. Sometimes I daydream about living alone. ;-)



Working people don't understand your workload, and tend to get needy. And it is too much to live with other phd students. You see enough of them in the uni, and they keep talking about their phd. Boring!


I live with my wife now, but when I first got a job back in 2007/8 I lived on my own for a year. It is brilliant! I loved having a place to myself. I still saw my friends, just when I wanted to instead of all the time. It was expensive though (it was a 3 bed house! In a scummy area but still...). After that I moved in with 3 friends and hated it. I liked them, but was too used to being in my own space. I gradually spent more and more time at my girlfriend's instead (she lived on her own) and eventually moved in with her.

Once you've lived on your own I would say sharing with anyone other than your significant other or a VERY good friend becomes hard. I didn't go insane on my own, I loved it, so I'd suggest that if you can still afford to then keep living on your own.

Avatar for Batfink27

I live on my own too, have done for years and I really can't imagine living with other people (though I did share with people when I was younger). (I'd love to live with my partner, but he's in negative equity on a flat that's too small for two people, so that will have to wait.) Living alone is expensive, and I find I do have to make an effort to socialise and meet up with friends to avoid complete isolation, but the freedom to work my own hours and make my own mess is so worth it! At the times when I'm working 14-16 hours a day I like being able to just get up, work, eat and sleep without worrying about what time it is or whether I'm disturbing someone else or whether I should do housework. And when my time's a bit more free it's good to be able to play music or spend a day just watching DVDs or whatever without worrying about disturbing someone else.


Yes I've heard those horror stories about flatmates too, its basically a gamble to find one you can get along with. I am also thinking if having a flatmate would make me more accountable and motivate me to cook more often (assuming other people are better than me). I look at my bank statement at the end of the month and wonder how bad could it be to share.. But I can't bring myself to do it just yet, and not sure if the extra money is worth the loss of freedom, I guess the holiday in Peru can wait :)


I wish i could afford to live alone. I have lived with the same boy for 2+ years now, it's like living with your boyfriend but having none of the associated good bits.

I have thought about getting someone else in (i rent the place from my mum and he lodges with me - he pays more to live there than i do, but is till on quite a good deal), but my biggest irk as an undergrad was being kept awake late at night, and though he has the worst taste in music, ever, he does turn it off by 11ish. And he has never, ever, ever had a gf back keeping me awake with *those* sorts of noises. So, i'm going with it's better the devil you know. Cleaning up after him is less irritating than being kept awake when i'm trying to sleep. Will continue to try and win the lottery though! Or find a boyfriend who wants to move in. Neither alternative seem very likely at present though!


I must echo much of what's been said already. I live with my better half and much as he's super supportive I daydream about living on my own sometimes for the sake of being able to get on with my work a bit better. Terrible, TERRIBLE priorities, I know but it might do away with that constant nagging feeling of not putting in enough hours... Because he works a fairly standard working day I try to fit my own working hours around that so that we can continue to spend quality time together and have a relatively normal life. I've noticed however that my PhD work doesn't very neatly fit into these hours (well, my brain capacity to work on my PhD anyway), and that I could really do with working a lot more in the evenings and at weekends. I do of course do this on occasion, but I grudge it a bit as well when he's around and I'd like to spend time with him too! So I do think that living on your own does have its advantages while you're doing your PhD as you can totally suit yourself. As regards becoming a hermit, well, if it's any consolation then beyond the person I'm living with I've next to no social interaction either these days ;-)


I lived in house shares for 12 years and can't say I ever had a really bad flat mate. The stories that end up online are worst case scenario, and they get there because they're interesting to read. No one wants to read "I moved into a flat share and met some really great people who three years later I still see regularly as friends" (true story on my part).

I spent my entire PhD living with 5 people. It meant my PhD studentship stretched a lot further and I was able to sustain myself writing up for another six moths after my funding ended. I'd never have been in a position to do that if I'd lived on my own. Of my housemates from my final houseahare, I didn't particularly get on with two of them, but equally didn't hate them. They were fairly curtious, paid the rent and bills on time, and as we wern't close friends, they left me alone to get on with my work.


Honestly, if you're managing okay financially, I think you should keep living on your own until you finish your PhD. As others pointed out, it's hard to adjust when you're already used to having your own space, and your own work pattern. Once you've finished, you can spend all the time you want with your friends. Having a quiet space to write is too valuable of an asset to lose right now!


======= Date Modified 16 Nov 2011 21:37:53 =======
I can relate to your hermit lifestyle. For me, the PhD is isolating enough as it is without living by yourself too. I'm in my third year of living with 'strangers' on campus and I love it. I am an introverted person and I could have chosen to have a studio rather than a shared apartment, but I find it helps to have other students around.

At the moment I live in a six bedroom apartment. For me it feels easier to do work when there are others doing the same. Not to mention that med students getting up at 5am makes my life seem comparatively easy! I still have plenty of privacy and, while we don't sit around talking each day, it's nice to have a coffee break and a chat with someone in the kitchen. We have a communal cookie jar and occasionally a few bottles of wine.

However, when I lived with two friends things were much less rosey: they didn't get along and I was stuck in the middle, trying to act impartially. When you live with strangers, there are naturally more boundaries and less expectations for sharing time together. I find this is a good thing. Also, when people live with friends they can sometimes let bad habits override a positive personality!


I live alone because I moved to a different country and didn't know anyone. This meant that I had to force myself to make friends and to socialise to avoid becoming totally isolated (I am also the only one in my research group that looks at my topic). I now have a lovely group of friends that I go out with regularly and a wonderful boyfriend. However, I also have the freedom of living alone to walk around the house in my pjs, watch Desperate Housewives, Sex & City and other tv shows of that ilk without having to worry about what someone else wants to watch (except when bf is round - then we watch boy stuff like Star Wars :-/). I can keep the house clean in the OCD way that I like, everything in the bathroom belongs to me (bathroom issues are of particular concern to me) and on the days when I have been interviewing and hate the sound of my own voice I can be silent and not have to come home and make small talk with others etc. Sometimes when bf is away and friends are unavailable, it can be a bit lonely but there's always the phone and the gym (as a last resort).

I will say that I wish my bf and I were in a position to move in together as I really would like us to live together and move towards settling down, but having lived the luxury of single occupation of a 2-bed house, I would not consider living with others or even good friends. I am way past the housemates/flatmates stage of life.

Avatar for Eska

Hi Mumbler, I live on my own too and I can also relate to your 'hermit' comments. I am now in the habit of making regular arrangements with people for coffee etc through the week, so that I don't start growing a beard and living in a deep, dry hole... I also pop over to my local cafes where I chat to the owners quite a lot. I find that breaks up the day. My situation has it advantages though: I can write where and when I want (I've finally settled an all white space I've made in my tiny hall); I can wash up etc when I want; choice of TV - or not TV - is mine; and I just really like the feeling that this is my space, my home. For the duration of the PhD this is the best situation. No distractions. I can be completely selfish. I think if I had more sociable work, where I saw people every day, I'd be all right, no need to bend the ear of local cafe owners. I speak on the phone quite a lot too.


I can totally relate to this. In the beginning it was really hard for me to live alone, and the rent is just really expensive it takes up more than half of my allowances. I'm a very social person, thus it drove me mad when I found myself alone when I arrive home.. I cried almost daily, missing home. Despite of living abroad for the last 7 years, this is really the only time I live in a flat without a housemate.

I did, arrange meetings for coffee and lunch and hiking over the weekend with friends I made at the university. I even joined the undergrad's and master's classes, just to make friends that I could drag for lunch. It worked, and I started to get used to this lifestyle and actually cherish it.

But recently a friend asked if she could share my flat because she just got a job nearby and I immediately said yes. I do miss my "alone time" now, but then I could always go to the library. I try to keep my gym-ing and lab-ing schedule as my top priority rather than hanging out with my flatmate even though it looks more fun to do. But gotta set priorities now. :D

So bottom line is, both could work, depending on how social you are, you will find a way. ^_^