Once you’ve been accepted for postgraduate studies, you have a major decision to make about where you want to live. You can either stay on campus in the halls of residence, or you can live in a private off-campus house or flat. It is important to consider what kind of postgraduate experience you are looking for, as well as which option is best conducive to your studies.
Campus Life Pros A major pro to living on campus is that meals are often prepared for you. If that's the case, then you don’t have to worry about grocery shopping, cooking or cleaning up after yourself, which gives you more time to pay attention to your studies. It also ensures that you are eating three meals a day, which feeds your brain the nutrients needed to keep up with the fast-paced nature of postgraduate work. Social events are already organized; and it’s easier to join a club, group or sport activity. The great thing about halls of residence is you don’t have to worry about the money or time spent commuting: you’ll be close to the library, research facilities and classes. There’s also enforced quiet hours, which reduces distractions that can interrupt your studies.
Cons If you’ve never lived away from home or have always stayed on campus, it can be a drawback to continue your studies in the halls of residence. Living on your own is an experience and is a stepping stone towards your future career goals. It gives you responsibilities that you wouldn’t have while living on campus. If you like to cook, have dietary restrictions or have chosen a vegan/vegetarian lifestyle, than it can be a challenge when meals are prepared for you. You’re also on campus all the time, which can be a hindrance to getting a break from the academic environment as you’ll be immersed in student culture. Residence rooms are also usually smaller than private renting, so you will need to pack light.
Private Renting Pros Living in the halls of residence can be very expensive, in part because everything is taken care of for you. It is often cheaper to choose private renting of a house of flat with a number of people, which reduces the cost for everyone. It will also give you the experience of managing your time and dealing with new responsibilities that go along with living on your own, like grocery shopping and cooking your own meals. It can give you the opportunity to discover a different part of the city to live in with a new social sphere to explore. There's also the opportunity for more space than living on campus and you can ensure that you will have your own room.
Cons The major cons of private renting are the responsibilities of paying rent and utilities, living in a shared living environment which will require constant negotiation, and the money and time spent commuting to campus. You will also have to consider buying furniture, if the house or flat is not furnished, which is another expense you’ll have to factor if you choose to rent. There’s the added expense of commuting to and from campus for classes and research. To keep track of your finances, I recommend the cell phone app, called Spenz . There is also the possible issue of noise, cleanliness and other problems that arise from living with other people. It is also harder to get involved in the university atmosphere when you’re off-campus.
Another off-campus option is privately-owned student accommodation from Fresh Student Living which offers affordable student-style living in desirable city centre locations.
You want to ensure that you choose the optimal environment that will guarantee academic success. Different environments work for different students, thus there are many pros and cons to consider when choosing the best living situation that will suit your personality, study habits and goals.
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