You’re probably seeing a theme. Sundays are time for cups of tea, talky posts and lifestyle bits. And today I thought I’d lift the lid a little on my uni living situation this year. So grab a cuppa~ <3
I made the decision last academic year, that for this one – my fourth and final 10 month haul – I wanted to live on my own. No sharing. No flatmates. Just me, myself, and I. And a mountain of work.
It’s a bit of an odd decision to make when university is supposed to be such a whirlwind of socialising and meeting people. It never stops, at almost every turn (read: night out) there are new faces, new opportunities and new people to add to your little circle, to welcome into your life. It’s a bit of an odd decision when you look at me, too. I enjoy being social. I’m definitely more extroverted than I am introverted –
and yet I still wanted this year to be just me.
When I told – or tell, actually – people that it’s just me in my flat, there were so many questions about whether or not I’d be lonely, how I’d manage my mental health, how I’d look after myself. Granted, the last one was very much just my family – but I guess I’d thought about those other concerns myself, too, at some point. Living on my own for the most stressful year at uni was not a rash decision.
The last two years I’ve had shit flatmates. I spent a year living in Korea and ‘it was tough’ is an understatement. Third year was hard, my accommodation wasn’t great either, both the flat and the flatmate really stressed me out and definitely weren’t helping my mental health. I basically decided that enough was enough and I couldn’t deal with my last year of memories at uni being tainted by awful living arrangements.
Seriously, if you’re not happy with where you’re living at uni, it can affect so, so much.
I told my mum and my dad that I wanted my own space. A studio, ideally, but they aren’t exactly the most abundant type of student accommodation, and a lot of the prices in university cities are ridiculous – but that’s another post entirely. Probably more than one, it enrages me so much. I conceded that if I couldn’t find anything for a reasonable price I’d look at other options, but I knew in my heart that this year I needed my own space.
Luckily – I found something, and it’s pretty much your standard student accommodation, just… all of it is mine. It’s quiet and bright and I can make sure that all the surfaces are clean and tidy and dust free as often as I want to. I can skype my parents often. I can have friends over when I like.
So with that rather long-winded explanation of how we got to here out of the way… what’s it actually like living on your own at uni?
Well. Loneliness isn’t an issue. I’m out and about enough that I see people every day – whether it be class, society things, or just chilling. It’s definitely taught me that I now have to make time to socialise, and if I want to see people I kinda have to invite them over, but I knew that loneliness wouldn’t really be something I’d face. Plus it’s really really nice to come ‘home’ to somewhere where you don’t have people asking questions the minute you step food through the door. It’s nice to have peace and quiet.
Work? I find I do get a lot more work done, really. There isn’t a disturbance issue with flatmates needing to use the kitchen at 4 in the morning, or going out when I want to stay in. If people come over, they’re usually invited.
I’m sort of treating this year as a trial run for when I move out of the family home and into my first non-uni rented place. Which will probably/hopefully not be too long after I graduate. I’m more of an independent person than people think, I like my own space but I also like interaction, and learning how to deal with a more ‘adult balance’ in my final year of uni I think is really going to help when the time comes for me to do it alongside paying council tax.
I’m learning that making one portion of food all the time isn’t exactly the best way to go about using resources, especially if I only want something quick the next day. Also it’s a much better idea to have a washing machine over a dishwasher if it’s just one person in the place…
I also have to remember sometimes that it’s just me in the flat. Doors always get locked and security chains are always put on in the evening. I’m always aware of where everything is in case I need to grab something heavy fast, or notice if things have been moved or taken (I’ve watched too much Silent Witness recently). I’m glad that my building has a security code to release the front door, but sometimes you can never be to careful when you’re on your own.
Also, sometimes I’ve had to turn outings down if I know I’ll be walking home alone at night, especially when there are spikes in certain types of crime. It’s just being sensible, really, even though I’m saddened that as a young woman trying to be independent, I have to watch out for people that would want to hurt me because I look ‘vulnerable’.
All in all, I think that deciding to live by myself for my final year of uni was probably the best decision I’ve made. I’m in a different league of happiness now, compared to last year and two years ago – it’s genuine and consistent and things feel like they’re slotting into place.
It’s not a decision for everyone, but I thought that I’d write a bit about how living by myself this year was working for me, just in case anyone was in the same boat or a lil’ bit concerned about what it’s like. It’s an option that isn’t really talked about much – as everyone expects house shares to be the university norm. If you’ve found this helpful at all then yay 🙂
Did you live on your own at uni? Have you considered it? Let me know – and if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask~