Feb 21, 2012
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I'm thinking about staying at home for the first year of med school to save some money. However, "home" is about 45 minutes away from the school without traffic, up to 1hr 15mins with traffic. Is it really worth it?

In other words, how far would you live away from the school your first year?
 
Mar 27, 2012
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I have the same dilemma. My parent s house is 45min away. I'm not worried about driving time, I'm concerned about distractions.

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Sileni

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I'm thinking about staying at home for the first year of med school to save some money. However, "home" is about 45 minutes away from the school without traffic, up to 1hr 15mins with traffic. Is it really worth it?

In other words, how far would you live away from the school your first year?
The school I go to is about 30-45 minutes on a normal day from my parent's home. If traffic is bad it's about an hour drive. I decided after looking at apartments to live with my parents for med school because of the cost, and in addition the school I go to streams all lectures so I never have to drive down (except maybe once a week maximum).

I just finished my first year, and I'm extremely happy I choose to commute. Of course, you need to look into your own situation IE can you stream lectures from your home.

Also, my parents know to not bother me while I study so I don't worry about them barging into my room to bother me.

I really can't think of any negatives to be honest. I save so much money not having to pay rent/stealing the food from my parent's fridge. Quite a few students from my school do this, it's certainly not rare.
 

194342

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I'm thinking about staying at home for the first year of med school to save some money. However, "home" is about 45 minutes away from the school without traffic, up to 1hr 15mins with traffic. Is it really worth it?

In other words, how far would you live away from the school your first year?
I think it depends. How often are you going to be driving to school?

If you can podcast and only go to to school one-two times a week then I would say totally doable.

Also, I don't know how old you are or if you plan on making friends among your classmates, but it will probably be easier to do if you live close and can go out to bars/parties/whatever with classmates. If your older or don't care about being social then I wouldn't worry about it.
 
OP
R
Feb 21, 2012
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The school I go to is about 30-45 minutes on a normal day from my parent's home. If traffic is bad it's about an hour drive. I decided after looking at apartments to live with my parents for med school because of the cost, and in addition the school I go to streams all lectures so I never have to drive down (except maybe once a week maximum).

I just finished my first year, and I'm extremely happy I choose to commute. Of course, you need to look into your own situation IE can you stream lectures from your home.

Also, my parents know to not bother me while I study so I don't worry about them barging into my room to bother me.

I really can't think of any negatives to be honest. I save so much money not having to pay rent/stealing the food from my parent's fridge. Quite a few students from my school do this, it's certainly not rare.
Thanks for the response. Unfortunately, my school does not stream lectures and classes are pretty much mandatory. But it definitely sounds doable based on your response.
 

startswithb

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I have the same dilemma. My parent s house is 45min away. I'm not worried about driving time, I'm concerned about distractions.

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I lived at home during most of undergrad and my grades definitely suffered. Last time I went home and I had to study, I was more upset seeing my family doing fun things when I couldn't participate than if I were at school studying. Your parents probably aren't going to be used to your new time commitments either and it'll be a difficult transition. That's my opinion on the matter.
 
OP
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Feb 21, 2012
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I think it depends. How often are you going to be driving to school?

If you can podcast and only go to to school one-two times a week then I would say totally doable.

Also, I don't know how old you are or if you plan on making friends among your classmates, but it will probably be easier to do if you live close and can go out to bars/parties/whatever with classmates. If your older or don't care about being social then I wouldn't worry about it.
I would be going to class 5 days a week, from 9-5.

And I'm 21. Making new friends would be nice but if I could save 10,000 a year I think I could manage not making a ton of new friends. But you are absolutely right.
 
Jul 17, 2010
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Also, I don't know how old you are or if you plan on making friends among your classmates, but it will probably be easier to do if you live close and can go out to bars/parties/whatever with classmates. If your older or don't care about being social then I wouldn't worry about it.
This is probably the key. It may kill you socially without a lot of effort on your part. If that's no big deal then I living far is doable. I moved out to a brand new city, so the social aspect was big because I needed some friends, and living close is nice in that regards.

My school is similar to other posters where pretty much everything can be streamed from home. During anatomy, it can be intense with required stuff, like 3 times a week some weeks (so you would be miserable, but everyone is during anatomy anyway). Other than that, we are really only required to be on campus like once or maybe twice a week.

Still, I like to study on campus, so living close to campus has been great. You can push late hours (or occasionally get in early) and be much more productive and not have to worry about a long commute.

I couldn't imagine living that far, but it depends on your style I guess. Minimizing debt is always a great strategy, but there are a few things that you may consider non-negotiable. For me, that was living near campus. For other people, it might not be.
 
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I would be going to class 5 days a week, from 9-5.

And I'm 21. Making new friends would be nice but if I could save 10,000 a year I think I could manage not making a ton of new friends. But you are absolutely right.
Ouch. You could certainly live far, but that's really going to suck.

Maybe try living near campus your first year, and then make a decision for second year. Since you are young and still interested in making friends, I know for a fact that you will feel left out if you lived that far. Maybe it's worth 10 grand and maybe it's not, but for your first year, I would bite the bullet.
 

phltz

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I would be going to class 5 days a week, from 9-5.

And I'm 21. Making new friends would be nice but if I could save 10,000 a year I think I could manage not making a ton of new friends. But you are absolutely right.
Do you already have a good group of friends in the area? Med schools is very challenging. Not having friends substantially increases your risk of depression and burnout. It you are miserable and isolated, you won't be able to operate at your full potential and you won't learn as much.

I'm not saying you have to get your own place, I'm just saying that you shouldn't treat having friends as a dispensable luxury.
 
OP
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Do you already have a good group of friends in the area? Med schools is very challenging. Not having friends substantially increases your risk of depression and burnout. It you are miserable and isolated, you won't be able to operate at your full potential and you won't learn as much.

I'm not saying you have to get your own place, I'm just saying that you shouldn't treat having friends as a dispensable luxury.
Having friends in the same situation as me would definitely help. I enjoying learning in groups. Studying all the time alone starts to suck after a while. That really is something to consider because I know I would be more reluctant driving down to the school on a Saturday for a study session or just to hang out. I didn't think about it that way even though its completely true.

I lived at home for my first year of undergrad and I hated it. I wouldn't say I was depressed but I was far from happy.
 

theWUbear

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I'm thinking about staying at home for the first year of med school to save some money. However, "home" is about 45 minutes away from the school without traffic, up to 1hr 15mins with traffic. Is it really worth it?

In other words, how far would you live away from the school your first year?
I commuted from home 30 minutes to my current med school when i was a masters student there. I had no choice but to receive straight A's at all costs (that's how SMP's work - you ace it or you've failed your opportunity). I ended up with a sleeping bag on campus and literally slept on couches and in research offices a couple days before exams sometimes to maximize studying time. The day I got into med school/the day i finished my SMP I relished the fact that the next year i would live close enough to roll out of bed and be in class in five minutes.

I guess what I'm attempting to contribute is that, for me, attempting to completely dominate my classes while commuting was difficult.

In med school (I am starting this fall), I will be spending the money to live on campus first year - to see how much benefit it gives me studying-wise, and also for the social aspect - meeting my whole class and being within distance to walk to bars with them, stay out late and ride home with them, etc. I will give serious consideration to moving back in with my parents M2 after M1 ends.

Edit: having read the last two posts, maybe you should do what I'm doing and form a support network of friends M1 and consider moving back home M2?
 

194342

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I would be going to class 5 days a week, from 9-5.

And I'm 21. Making new friends would be nice but if I could save 10,000 a year I think I could manage not making a ton of new friends. But you are absolutely right.
uhm... is that required or what? Going to class doesn't lead to better grades, just an fyi....

If you're going to go to class everyday I would live close to school. Sounds like you might lose 2 hours a day that you could use studying. You're going to find you would really like to have that time back.
 

Law2Doc

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uhm... is that required or what? Going to class doesn't lead to better grades, just an fyi....

If you're going to go to class everyday I would live close to school. Sounds like you might lose 2 hours a day that you could use studying. You're going to find you would really like to have that time back.
I think the attending class or not decision needs to be made based on what works, not on living situation. For some people attending class ends up being important, as does the flexibility to stay late for group study, closing the library now and then before exams, etc. First year it probably is doable to have a bit of a commute, but really not ideal. Third year it will be impossible. Get a bunch of roomies and split something if cost is the issue. But living at home and adding two hours of commute time to your day instead of studying, working out etc is not ideal if it can be avoided.
 
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You could probably make it work. You have to be okay with loosing a couple hours of free time/study time every day and with the more limited social opportunities, like everyone else here said. I know some people who commuted, and they had all kinds of podcast/Goljan lectures/foreign language tapes/etc to listen to in the car, so that they could use commute time as study time.

At my school our hospitals are pretty spread out, so I easily commuted 45 min to an hour each way for much of the year during my third and fourth years. If it can work for surgery rotation, you can definitely make it work for 1st/2nd years! You could also try out commuting, and then just move closer to the school if it doesn't work for you.
 
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phltz

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You could probably make it work. You have to be okay with loosing a couple hours of free time/study time every day and with the more limited social opportunities, like everyone else here said. I know some people who commuted, and they had all kinds of podcast/Goljan lectures/foreign language tapes/etc to listen to in the car, so that they could use commute time as study time.
Google needs to hurry up and make their self-driving cars publicly available.
 

dr seuss

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It depends on how often you have to go to school. My first two year we usually had to go ~3 days a week. If you have to go 4-5 times/week I wouldn't want to live more than 20 minutes away. If 2-3 times/week then 30-35 minutes would probably be fine. I would only be willing to live 45 minutes away if I only had to go to school once or twice a week.

I wouldn't do it if I were you, but you could try it and if you end up hating the commute then you could move after the first semester.
 

todds

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The time for commute will be offset if you live at home and all your chores would be taken care of (groceries, laundry, cleaning etc..). They don't take 10 hours a week but still they take time and are a hassle.

I think you won't save as much time as you think living away from home, but you will save lots of $$, and itll be at least 20K if you live away from your house and max 5K if you live at home. Thats like 60K if you live at home all 4 years, with interest if you're using loans will be a lot more down the road.

I think in the end, it depends how independent you can be at your own home.
 

Law2Doc

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The time for commute will be offset if you live at home and all your chores would be taken care of (groceries, laundry, cleaning etc..). They don't take 10 hours a week but still they take time and are a hassle....
depends on your family situation. A lot of people may have MORE chores if they live at home (ie mowing the lawn, watching younger family members, running errands, laundry, garbage, cooking, cleaning, etc).
 

valkener

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I'm assuming your parents or siblings will do the cooking/cleaning for you - this is indeed a big advantage as washing dishes or cooking food, cleaning, etc. takes at least 1-2 hours every day, at least if you eat healthy. There are many advantages and disadvantages so you have to figure out what is best for you.

It could take away from your independence and influence your mindset that you're working for your dream if you live at home, or it could help you to feel relaxed.
 
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Thank you for all your input! They are definitely being taken into consideration. :)
 

obgyny

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I'm thinking about staying at home for the first year of med school to save some money. However, "home" is about 45 minutes away from the school without traffic, up to 1hr 15mins with traffic. Is it really worth it?

In other words, how far would you live away from the school your first year?
Honestly, I wouldn't be willing to do this commute with your 9-5 everyday class schedule. You'll be losing 1.5-2 hours of study/free time (and sleep time!) everyday. And a 9-5 class schedule doesn't leave you a lot of time to study on weeknights. Though med school certainly doesn't eat up all my time, I value my free time a lot more these days and I wouldn't want to spend so much of it driving. But that's just me.

I can relate to the money issue, but I would consider moving closer to campus and getting a few roommates if I were you.

I also agree for the need for friends too. My med & non-med school friends keep me sane :).
 

obgyny

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I'm assuming your parents or siblings will do the cooking/cleaning for you - this is indeed a big advantage as washing dishes or cooking food, cleaning, etc. takes at least 1-2 hours every day, at least if you eat healthy. There are many advantages and disadvantages so you have to figure out what is best for you.

It could take away from your independence and influence your mindset that you're working for your dream if you live at home, or it could help you to feel relaxed.
I do miss home-cooked meals!! My cooking skills are limited :laugh:. But my family drives me crazy, I'm much better living out on my own.
 

RedSox10

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If you have to go to class 9-5 anyway, my assumption is that you'll have ample time to "make friends", no? On the other hand, if you podcast 2-3 times per week (which it seems you cant even do) then I think you'd have more trouble making lasting relationships. I personally think it might be worth it to save $10,000/year. Realize also that you can change your mind at any time. In other words, live two months at home, realize its disastrous for you, and then sign a lease for a place near campus. I realize I haven't started med school yet, but these are just my thoughts.

Also, a friend of mine in med school has a commute that about a 30 minute walk to campus (I realize its not the same as a 45 min drive) but the point is that my friend uses this time to clear his head, and really enjoys this time alone.
 

Abby_Normal

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What makes a big difference is how you use your commute time and how you structure your day.

If you make audio recordings of your notes/lectures, the car can be a great place to study because you're a captive audience. Alternatively, lots of people like to use their commutes as personal time and listen to audiobooks and the like. The trick is finding ways so that your commute doesn't become a sink hole for your time. Since you're planning on being at school from 9-5, it sounds like you should be OK, because you shouldn't be making that many trips back and forth.

In terms of having long days at school, what I find makes a difference is really planning out in advance what I intend to do so I can make sure I have everything I need. Also, I keep a coffee mug, tea, snacks, and an extra laptop charger (so I don't have to fight with the wired behind my desk every day) in my locker at all times.

(Disclaimer: Currently, I actually have a very short commute. I just hate making multiple trips to and from school in one day, if I can help it.)
 

SnowyRox

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I would buy a cheap shared room in a big house with med students for $200-300/month instead of living at home. That much $$$ will be eaten up in gas each month anyway if you're doing that commute.

I would also think about how stressful your commute will be. I could drive happily for an hour through rural roads, but driving an hour through city rush hour is painful and irritating.

And remember, you can still drive home on weekends for some laundry, homecooked food, and quiet study time (and family time!) if that's important to you while saving yourself a long commute.
 
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Also, a friend of mine in med school has a commute that about a 30 minute walk to campus (I realize its not the same as a 45 min drive) but the point is that my friend uses this time to clear his head, and really enjoys this time alone.
Agreed. I have a 30-40 minute walk/bus commute to school that I enjoy as my quiet/me time. During easy periods I read (for fun) or play on my phone, when school is busy I study either by listening to recordings or reading through notes/flashcards. Sometimes I also use the time to get annoying practical stuff done, like making dentist appointments or bugging my landlord to fix our gutters.

Driving is another story, although you could listen to recordings as other posters have mentioned. Is there anyway you could carpool or take public transportation? This might make for less wasted time.
 

PTPoeny

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If you are going to class everyday I doubt you will have any problems making friends no matter where you live. I think a very large factor in whether or not commuting is doable for you is how you feel about driving. Can driving be your relaxation time? Can driving home be when you unwind after a day of lectures so that you arrive home energized and ready to study? Or do you you hate the drive you are going to be making? Will you arrive home angry and frustrated every day and need to take extra time to get into a useful mindset to study?

I live a 30-40 minute walk from campus (public transportation doesn't go straight there and driving/parking is worse) because that is where my husband and I could afford the type of place we wanted and I love it. Walking home after lectures first and second year was when I relaxed and I got home ready to study. If something was going on late at school that I wanted to go to I would study in the library for a couple of hours before it started rather than running back and forth.
 

bassvp

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Think of fuel costs and car wear/tear.
Fuel alone could cost $2k-$3k/year.
If you look at the government mileage reimbursement rate, I calculate that you could spend right at about $10k on a good car (100 miles/day, 20 days/month, 9 months, $0.555/mile).
If anything, I think you should think of your max savings of staying with your parents as closer to $5k/yr for a minimum of 90 minutes/day of lost time driving.
 

Perrotfish

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I'm thinking about staying at home for the first year of med school to save some money. However, "home" is about 45 minutes away from the school without traffic, up to 1hr 15mins with traffic. Is it really worth it?

In other words, how far would you live away from the school your first year?
It depends how many days a week you're going to have a mandatory class/event at your school. If you need to be there M-F then no, definitely not worth it. If you have recorded lectures, 3 days/week attendance for anatomy, and only need to show up for tests after that maybe.
 

secants

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I was lucky enough to be only 10 minutes away. I know a bunch of kids from my school that live in the city and commute to the school, which takes an average of ~40 mins weather taking the train or driving.

The downside of living at home for me was that I could never continuously study without being interrupted for something or getting distracted. And of course my parents expected me to do some sort of work around the house as well.

It was worth it in the end, I'm saving ~15K/year and only have to pay tuition.
 

IlDestriero

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I would be going to class 5 days a week, from 9-5.

And I'm 21. Making new friends would be nice but if I could save 10,000 a year I think I could manage not making a ton of new friends. But you are absolutely right.
I wouldn't do that in a million years, not even to save $25k/yr.
With leaving early to guarantee being on time, parking, walking to class and back, etc you're looking at a minimum of 2 hours a day of commuting. You can complete all your days studying in that time. You can work out, socialize, decompress, etc. Unless you learn by listening alone and rig up some podcast reviews on the commute (which they don't seem to offer), its all lost time. I was all about the efficiency in school. I got a great townhouse 5 min walking distance from the Hospital. I would have paid twice a much. I bought a house during residency and my commute time was 20-30 min door to door. It was hell.
Now I live 30 min out, but I tolerate it for my kids, and I want all the extra space and privacy.
Don't do it. Your social life will suck a well. That would also be a big problem for me. if you're a recluse bookworm out might be better though. ;)
If your parents can pay for your board at home they can afford to give you money to eat at school.
Cheers!
 

genswim24

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Don't do it. Your social life will suck a well. That would also be a big problem for me. if you're a recluse bookworm out might be better though. ;)
This was my biggest thought. Once I graduated high school, I was all about privacy. If I want to bring home someone of the opposite sex, I really don't want to have my parent's around to see/hear what happens. I also like to go out and throw back a few beers, that becomes infinitely more difficult when you live 45 minutes from your place. If you want to be messy for a while and leave a pizza box out, no one is there to care. I love my parents to death and we have always gotten along great, but I could not imagine living with them after I began adulthood.

In addition, I did a lot of growing up living on my own. Learning how to pay bills, manage financing, put up a budget for meals taught me how to be an adult. Those lessons have paid off tremendously along the way. It may cost you a little extra along the way, but your life will be much better in my opinion for it.