Housemates vs Living alone in Medical School

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  • Live Alone


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Jul 28, 2020
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I have been thinking about this quite a bit recently and can't seem to come to a decision. I have made a pro/con list and would appreciate some feedback.

Housemates
Pros
Cost of Living- this is huge as I may live in a high CoL area
Easier to make friends in a new area
Can ask housemates for help if they are also medical students (ideal housemates?)
Can vent with classmates

Cons
Loss of control- this is also huge
Housemates may be inconsiderate
Casual dating life (people judge)

Living Alone
Pros
Complete and total control of living space- this is huge
Can be as frugal or extravagant as I want
Easier to study- this could be helpful but I prefer public libraries anyways
Better dating life in all aspects
Can walk around half naked- high yield in the summer
Don't have to worry about responsibility for others (people not paying rent, although I don't know if this is common among med students)

Cons
Cost of living
Potentially isolated from class and I hear med school is very cliquey

Commentary:
I have pretty much lived with friends/classmates or had a stranger as a housemate since I was 18. Much of my housemates were also not premed and were pretty typical guys. They weren't exactly super hygienic but I didn't mind as we had our own rooms and shared a kitchen. It still would have been nice to have my own studio apartment (or 1 bed apt) but I couldn't justify the cost. I liked the social aspect of it though and after exams, we got together and went to bars/clubs or other social events. However, I have grown to like having my own place during quarantine (I have flatmates but we rarely see each other), and having my own kitchen I can keep to my own higher standards.

I am also a single guy so I think having my own place is better for me in that aspect too, and if I decide to keep a girlfriend in medical school, I think having my own place would be good too so we can do whatever we want basically without any complaints or awkward leaving in the morning. This is more relevant to casual flings but dating is of high priority for me to relax before big tests/events.

There's also that special aspect of being in control of every aspect of your life. Its obvious medical school will be stressful and I don't want to put myself in a situation where I take out my stress on a housemate who forgot to wash the dishes or take out the trash. One time I even had a housemate who took adderall and started remodeling the kitchen during finals, which was funny, but also a bit annoying. I just can't seem to shake that cost of living though. I feel that there are valid pros/cons to both options and whenever I have a tough decision to make, I like to go with the frugal/simple option because I'll at least be saving money in the end that I could spend on music festival tickets or my hobbies.

This is what I could come up with. Any feedback is welcome on your experiences or aspects I may have overlooked. Personal stories are very welcome.
 
Feb 3, 2020
97
313
Status
  1. Medical Student
Med school is stressful. You do not want your home environment to be an additional source of stress. For me, this meant living alone. I had a previous roommate experience with an inconsiderate person and it really made me feel uncomfortable and on-edge in my home. It was quite draining. Living by myself alleviated that risk. The studio I live in is little (1 bedroom was too expensive), but it's all mine and having that control over my environment brings me a lot of peace.

If you do choose to live with someone, vet them thoroughly (sleeping schedule, cleaning schedule, dating habits, substance habits, pet peeves, etc.). This is increasingly important during the age of COVID, since you're at home so much.

Lastly, consider the long-term cost. I'm a super frugal person, but if $200 extra dollars per month in rent allows you to do better in classes and be less stressed, do it. While that ~$10k over four years is a lot of money, it's not in the context of your future salary. 4 years of living in an unhappy housing arrangement could be far more costly.
 
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Tenk

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Jan 5, 2007
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This is what I tell everyone and did myself: start off living alone. Adjust to school and classmates. If you find someone you’d want to room with, do so MS2 onwards. There’s a roommate shuffle that goes on every year between MS1 and MS2 for a reason. Everyone starts off fake but get real about 6 months in. This might be more difficult with covid but even all the more reason to live alone as you might be trapped with someone you absolutely hate.
 
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Angus Avagadro

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Aug 3, 2018
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I lived in a medical fraternity house in med school. Not optimal, but very inexpensive.. As a DO, we had OMM tables to practice on and upperclassmen to help. So no need to travel to school for that. Lots of comradery since we were all in different stages of the med school experience. Not for everyone, cleanliness was an issue that some people had no interest in. Can't be squeamish. I think the best part was the relationships I developed. I am still in contact today with 3 of them. My roommate and his family have vacationed with us many times and his adult children still call me Uncle Angus. This was a unique experience by today's standards, but I agree with much of the above. I think a roommate who is also in med school would be preferred. They understand what you are going through and can offer support during rough spots. I think living alone promotes burnout and depression for some. Do what you think is best for you. Good luck and best wishes!
 
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athorcommens

Tired of the attitude
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Nov 15, 2017
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I wouldn't plan on having a girlfriend until you have one. Covid and med school complicate that sort of thing. I think you should gauge how much you value social interaction. I don't know anyone at my school who doesn't like their roommates, and I don't know anyone who regrets living alone. If you could spend days alone just studying, you're probably good to live alone. Otherwise, you might be missing out on a lot of fun with some good roommates
 
Feb 3, 2020
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I wouldn't plan on having a girlfriend until you have one.

I don't necessarily agree with this. I think your ability and willingness to date definitely can be affected by your living environment. If you're living with people who leave the house a mess or who make it uncomfortable for you to bring back a love interest, then that can absolutely stifle your dating life.

Dating in med school is already hard. If you know dating is something important to you, I'd set up a living arrangement where you have as few barriers to dating as possible. This is increasingly important with Covid, where your roommates may not want you bringing strangers into the house.
 
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athorcommens

Tired of the attitude
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Nov 15, 2017
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I don't necessarily agree with this. I think your ability and willingness to date definitely can be affected by your living environment. If you're living with people who leave the house a mess or who make it uncomfortable for you to bring back a love interest, then that can absolutely stifle your dating life.

Dating in med school is already hard. If you know dating is something important to you, I'd set up a living arrangement where you have as few barriers to dating as possible. This is increasingly important with Covid, where your roommates may not want you bringing strangers into the house.
I meant it more like "Easier said than done" lol

I decided I wanted a girlfriend a while before finally getting one. But hey, done of us are maybe a bit worse with the ladies
 
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Feb 26, 2020
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Keep in mind that its extra lonely living alone during the pandemic. It’ll be very tough for you if you’re moving to a new city by yourself.
 
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Deltasidearm

2+ Year Member
Aug 15, 2018
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Unless it works out that my SO's clinical fellowship works with my medical school location, then I will be living alone. I am someone who greatly values my sleep, quiet, and alone time. Although it will make finances tighter to live alone, it is more than worth it for me, considering it can make a big difference in my happiness and mental well-being. It's also not like living alone means you cannot live close to other classmates and can't host them for gatherings.
 
Apr 19, 2020
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Disclaimer: I'm a fellow applicant for this cycle.

However, I moved away to graduate school in England and lived alone in a dorm. I think, looking back, my social experience would have been better if I had roommates. Yes, it may have prevented me from neurotically studying. But (*platitude coming*), life is so much more than work.

Some of my favorite memories from undergrad were bonding with my roommates -- whether it be on the 2 am walk back from the library or in our apartment, drinking a beer and watching some college football.

I appreciate the above advice, and I'll take it seriously when choosing a roommate(s).

I wish you well, OP!

Edit: all of my roommates were pre-med, so it helps to be following the same (or similar) life courses as your roommates.
 

la flame

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Aug 13, 2018
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I had some messy roomates in college (lived with 3 dudes) but nothing was better than getting home from class and seeing frozen pizza on the couch with Monday Night Football playing on the background and my roomates all plastered on the couch. I guess I hate being alone so I don't mind roommates lol.
 

tessellations

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Jul 6, 2015
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I’m a current first year med student and I live in a house with a few other first years. I was pretty careful when vetting my roommates and we all get along really well. Right now I am so thankful I live with other people for a few reasons, mainly that 1) If I lived alone during this pandemic I would be super lonely and 2) it’s really nice to live with people who understand what it’s like to be a med student and who I can vent to. I also pay very little in rent (mainly possible because of where I live). The main con is that the house can be a bit stressful around exam times. I have some classmates who live on their own and it seems kind of tough right now because of the pandemic. But there’s certainly nothing wrong with doing that if it’s what you prefer and if you can afford it.
 

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