Any college student worth their salt knows that college accommodation is nothing but a money pit with its sole intention being to drain your bank account, and suck all of the happiness out of your life. Fortunate for all of you lovely readers, I am an incredibly cultured graduate and have experienced living in effectively every form of student accommodation (don’t be jealous.) So for your reading pleasure, here a quick run down of the pros and cons of each choice.
Usually digs are pretty reasonably priced. I stayed in digs my first year of college and price wise, it wasn’t too bad. The family we stayed with didn’t expect us to pay when were weren’t there so that was a big help so generally, costs weren’t too bad. Some digs include food but I lived with a vegan family so food was pretty much off the table for me (pun intended). PRO
The cost of a shared house is beyond anything I could have imagined. I went to Pats so the rents in Drumcondra are absolutely through the roof. With bills, food, rent and just general costs of living in a city, by the end of the college term I was one hundred percent broke and one thousand percent sick of my landlord’s shit. The general feeling I’ve found is that what you’re paying in rent is no way equivalent to the type of room you get. From my experience, I got a freezing shared room, one functioning shower, a dirty bed and lung infection from rotting window frames for the grand ole price of 560 euro a month . MASSIVE CON
If your family don’t completely hate you, then you’ll more than likely not be paying huge money to stay with relatives. It’s not like they’re trying to make a profit off of you staying with them so in that respect, you’re only really paying maintenance. MASSIVE PRO
So the people you’re living with in digs are more than likely going to be strangers. For some that wouldn’t be an issue, but if you’re like me and are completely anti-social, then living in the middle of a family environment when you’re not actually a part of that family can be slightly unnerving. I remember having to schedule when I would use the bathroom, or stand at the bedroom door and listening before running downstairs to cook dinner, only to be caught and end up stuck in an hour long, intense conversation about carpet types. If you are a people person, digs are for you. If not, work on your fitness so you can run faster next time and NOT get caught. CON
Roommates in a shared house can be both a blessing and a curse. I did the whole shared house thing in second year and lived with seven other girls. I won’t lie, at times it was god damn awful. One was a princess, one was a full blown sex addict, one was an intense nationalist and one was just as thick as too short planks. No matter how hard you try, the house is always dirty, and smells weird. There’s never any room in the fridge and the amount of hair that gets everywhere is obscene. Then again, it was always nice to know that there was someone there to talk to when you came in from college and for the most part, our house got on really well, I even made a best friend out of it. Though it’s not always easy, it’s never boring. PRO AND CON
I personally get on really well with my family. I’m living with my aunt and uncle this year and because they work, my cousins are in college, and I’m in college, most of the time I don’t really see them except for dinner. Though I spend a lot of my time doing my own thing, it’s nice to know that I have that security blanket there if I ever want to talk to someone and not be judged. Friends are one thing, but nothing will ever compare to living with family- they’re contractually obliged to love you and believe me, I take full advantage of that #TheAdventuresOfA20YearOldBasketCase. PRO
The story with digs is, if you’re not a horrible person, you’re going to feel bad coming in pissed drunk at 5am to a stranger’s house, so that slightly pulls you back on a night out. That’s just the way it is. No matter how cool they say they are about you going out, believe me, they’re not. It’s just a fact of the system, if you’re going to be living in someone else’s house, you’re going to have to play by their rules. Its shit but it’s just the way it is. CON
There aren’t really any restrictions with living in a house with other college students. People come and go as they please, party when they want, sleep where they want and its pretty much a free for all. You’d think that cleaning dishes are a priority but it really isn’t in a student house. In general, living in a shared house when you’re in college is one of the most freeing experiences I’ve ever had. PRO
When living with family, not matter how close or disinterested in you they are, there is always going to be that little part of them that feels responsible and worry about you. Unlike digs and shared houses, if you don’t come home at night, they actually worry about you. It’s not a huge thing, but the feeling of guilt when you haven’t let them know you’re coming in late or staying a friend’s house is surprisingly soul destroying. So just for the guilt factor. CON
4) Overall Experience:
For the year that was in it, digs worked out okay for me. It was my first year in college, I didn’t know any better, it was a step out of the nest but because I was living with a family, it wasn’t like I was completely throwing myself overboard. However it was awkward and frustrating at times so I don’t think I’d do it again.
Though unbelievably expensive and at times incredibly frustrating, in general, living in a shared house was exactly what I needed for my second year. It got me out of my shell and forced me to interact and get along with people that I didn’t necessarily like which was a big step. If you’re mad for the sesh and a bit of drama, then shared houses are the way to go.
I love my family, and it being my final year and really needing to work hard to keep up with my impending work load, I think staying in a family environment is perfect. Having the freedom to do what I want while also knowing where the boundaries are fits my lifestyle at this time in my life.