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Living Alone vs Roommates


elle.woods
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elle.woods
  • Law School Admit

Hi all! I'm hoping for some advice on what to do about my living arrangement for my first year of law school in the fall. I'm fortunate enough to be in a position where I can rent a 1-bedroom apartment near campus. However, a good friend of mine (not in law school, but doing her master's degree at the same university) asked if I would like to find a 2-bedroom apartment with her. I'm a bit conflicted on what to do because part of me thinks living alone would be best for numerous reasons such as given the workload of law school, but another part of me worries it would be isolating and a bit lonely. Does anyone have any insight on what they preferred while going through law school? Thank you! 

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chaboywb
  • Lawyer

Law school isn't so all encompassing that you need to be hyper focused 24/7. As long as you can close the door and study when needed, you'll be fine. I wouldn't even factor law school into the consideration - just decide whether the pros of having a roommate outweigh the cons.

I'm a social person - I went from home to having roommates to living with my partner. I would always have picked living with someone else. But I know that's not for everyone. 

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Byzantine
  • Law Student

Ya I second what chaboywb said, the workload consideration shouldn't really come into your decision. If they're a good friend that you would enjoy living with, and can save some money by doing so, I would say go for it. 

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Turtles
  • Law Student

I had a roommate who would stay up late every night on the phone/discord, shout while gaming, and whose girlfriend would also scream at 4am because she was "too into the movie" they were watching. This carried on during week days and exam season. I didn't sleep the night before one of my exams. 

There can be many benefits of a roommate (e.g., socializing, sharing errands, lower rent) but there can be risks too (e.g., clash of personalities, preferences, or cleanliness). It can make your life easier and be fun, or it can be a pain in the ass and good way to lose a friend. And keep in mind you're not only becoming roommates with that person, but any partners, pets, or knick knacks they bring home. While a friend is definitely less risky than a stranger, it can be tricky knowing whether you'll have a good time in advance because you ordinarily only see your friends in one way, but their lifestyle and home life can be much different, and you might not know if any of it  bothers you (e.g., someone who only does the dishes once per month) until it's too late. 

Edited by Turtles
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Whist
  • Law Student

I'll echo what I've said to others in previous iterations of this question and say that a friend can be a wonderful person, but just not fun to live with. It's only "risk free" to make that decision if you already know their living habits well. I generally recommend that if it's financially feasible, live alone. I prefer living alone because I control the noise level, the guests, the cleanliness, and don't have to negotiate on the house/apartment location with someone else. 

Should you decide you're okay with a roommate, I know a student who shared a two-bedroom to save money and it wound up costing nearly the same as having a one bedroom alone. So don't let the reliance of two (or more) incomes inflate what you're willing to cash out for rent. Unless they're terrible, having a roommate or two will likely not impact your studies, so if you know the person well look at it just in terms of money. If you want a historically low-paying field of law after graduation, cutting spending wherever you can in school will add up down the line. 

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GoBigOrGoHome
  • Law School Admit

Some things to be mindful of: 

Will you even find a two-bedroom

Right now, at least in Vancouver, if you have found housing, take it. Waiting it out to hope to find a two-bedroom is a risky game. The housing market is insane. (Don’t know where you are). 
 

Be Prepared for Your Relationship to End

Being friends with somebody is very different from living with somebody. I actually will not rent with friends anymore because of this. There can be issues with cleanliness, lifestyle, schedules, payment of rent, etc. 

I have become friends with the people I have rented to but I consciously do not rent to people that I’m already friends with unless I have been in a situation that I would know what it is like living with them. 

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Patient0L
  • Law School Admit

Moving to a new city can feel pretty isolating, so having a friend/roommate is good if you’re not a fan of coming home to dead silence.

However some people prefer dead silence to someone in their space… so it’s a matter of your preference/temperament.

I’ve been roommates with good friends before and we are still good friends. Also, some of my longest term friendships started as roommates. So, I don’t think relationship ending is inevitable. I could see a potential bit of awkwardness when you both start hanging out with your respective colleagues and start making less time for each other. (Esp if this shift is not symmetrical.)

IMO though, being able to afford to live without roommates is a luxury. I don’t know your age, but I think anything above 28-ish, it’s a no-brainer.

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TheAEGIS
  • Lawyer

Hmm.

I'd vote for living with roommates.

Don't get me wrong, they're a headache sometimes, and merging two lives together under the same roof will definitely have it's challenges. But so will being by yourself.
I lived with roommates throughout law school (they were also law students) and I wouldn't have had it any other way.

It made sharing notes, cramming for exams, and even planning and attending social events so much easier.
Yes, I had to deal with those nights when they wanted to party and I wanted to sleep. And I could not for the life of me figure out why they wanted to hang out all the time, but it was good for getting me out of my usual comfort zone. 

You have the rest of your life to live alone if you choose. Make lifelong friends and experiences now.

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AllRise
  • Law Student

I think this is a question where the answer depends on your personal temperament. 

I'm an introvert; I lived alone during my undergrad and that was the best arrangement as I needed a place where I could go to recharge my batteries. To recharge I needed to be alone. I didn't want to run into someone in the kitchen I would have to make small talk to, I didn't want to feel bad for turning down weekend movie night or something.

My advice would be to really ask yourself, if at the end of a very long and trying week, do you want to open the door to an apartment that is empty or an apartment that has other people living in it that you will likely have to interact with? 

Edited by AllRise
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