Meet the girls who live alone at uni

No one steals their milk

It is a truth universally acknowledged that living at uni means living with other people: in halls, in houses, in flatshares. 

But you know what? Sometimes it doesn’t work out like that. Sometimes people fuck you over, or get pregnant or drop out of uni for whatever reason.

Each of these girls have their reasons for living by themselves. It might not have been their choice, they may not have been happy with it at the time but now they’re living alone and they’re killing it.

Stephanie, 3rd year, St. Andrew’s

How come you chose to live alone?

I chose to live alone because the opportunity arose and I couldn’t say no. The flat was really nice and in an amazing location – which is VERY difficult to find in St Andrews. Although I still adore my old flat mates, we were better as friends than flat mates, and we get along splendidly now that we are all apart.

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Why do you prefer it?
I have always been a bit of a “loner” – I love doing most things alone and keeping a small circle of close friends. I also study a lot and have a high workload, so it’s better for my lifestyle.

Do you have a lot of people over?

I usually have friends over at least once a day– more now than when I had flat mates. Since you don’t have to consult other people on what you’re doing, your schedule is a lot more flexible as a result. I’m lucky, my single is in a good location so everyone always wants to come over. Is it easier only cleaning up for yourself?

Since my place is all mine, I take pride in keeping it “just so” and making it well-decorated. I am fully responsible for it cleanliness, so instead of having to ask someone else to do their chores I just do it and it’s done.

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Do you think there’s a stigma attached to living alone at uni?

All of my friends are jealous, and usually come over for tea and complain about their flat mates. I’m a really independent person, and that may be seen as ‘weird’ at a cliquey university – but I think that it’s only seen as strange because there are so few single flats. So, yes and no.

Does it ever get lonely?

I think “lonely” (not to get philosophical here), is a matter of how you view your life. There is nothing lonelier than being around fake people who don’t care about you. When you live alone, you control who can enter your home.

How much do you spend on food?

I spend a lot on food, but I spent more when I had flat mates because they would accidentally take stuff / I would also share stuff with them. However, I do invite people over more. Maybe around the same?

Do you feel more independent being by yourself?

100 per cent I don’t need anyone’s approval to do normal stuff and that’s honestly amazing. Do you ever feel weird telling people at uni about it? No, I own it completely.

What do your family and friends from home think?

They think it’s great – my sister lives alone at university too, and both of my parents said they would’ve if it was a possibility.

Anna Lepore, 4th Year, Bath

How come you chose to live alone?

I had bad experiences with roommates over the years. One time I came back to bath to a few naked girls in my living room, a girl in my bed and alcohol bottles everywhere, not really ideal.

Why do you prefer it? 

I have my privacy when I need it, I can always walk down the road and visit my friends but when I need my own space, I have it. I have my own kitchen so no need to clean up your roommates left over dishes, wrappers they haven’t thrown away or spoiled food they have left in the fridge to grow legs and walk itself to the rubbish bin. – I also love having my own bathroom, this is my favourite aspect about living alone. I’m sure any student would understand why.

anna lepore

Do you have a lot of people over?

I love having dinner parties! I have friends round a lot for wine, a BBQ or tea, but it’s also in town so the perfect place for pre drinks. Also when my friends on placement or from back home come to visit, they stay at mine and I don’t have to bother any roommates.

Is it easier only cleaning up for yourself?

Ten times easier. I am the only one cooking so there is less general mess, since I know I’m the only one cleaning I find myself being more tidy.

No one shouts at me to clean or tidy so if I want to leave a coffee cup in the sink until after lectures, I don’t have to worry about getting a nasty text message about my hygiene.

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Anna, left

Do you think there’s a stigma attached to living alone at uni?  

Yes I think there is a stigma. Before I lived alone everyone told me people who live alone are left out, that they have responsibility for too many things and that they won’t have the initiative to get up for lessons without going with other housemates. I’ve found that because I live alone I make more of an effort to make plans with friends and go to lectures to see people I know.

There are more responsibilities as you are the account holder for all bills, however there is no paying anyone back, no relying on getting money from housemates. I once waited two months for one of my housemates to pay me for six months of bills. Not ideal. So even though I am more responsible, I like that a lot more.

Does it ever get lonely?

I’m not really ever lonely but I do miss halls where my friends were only a few doors down and if I wanted to go out, I had a dozen people I could go with.

How much do you spend on food?

I spend about 30 pounds on food a week and because I don’t have housemates convincing me to eat out, I spend less now than I have in all my years at uni haha. Do you feel more independent being by yourself? – I’ve always been an independent person but I do feel more grown up and more in control. My flat feels more homely than a student house and I’m so happy I found it.

Cydney Yeates, 3rd year, Liverpool

How come you chose to live alone?

I literally got fucked over. The whole uni experience – in terms of housing – has been pretty shit for me. I was going to live with a girl on my course this year and her friends, then I met them and they were just a bit too different. I was like “I can’t really live in a house with you.” We also wanted to live in completely different places.

By February I was going to live with a girl from home but then she ended up dropping out of uni in May, and by that point everyone had sorted out where they were going to live.

It all worked out in the end: I’m living two doors down from the people I lived with in first year and I’ve got a key cut so I can just let myself in whenever.

Cheers

Cheers

Is there anything you like about living alone? 

Yeah! I love it actually. I love having my own space and not having to tidy up my stuff. It’s nice not having to deal with the anxiety of other people stressing about your mess. I actually do not have to give a shit now.

I never feel like I’m alone either. I live next door to my friends (maximum five minute walk away), so I’ve never felt lonely.

Do you have people over?

Yeah I have people over all the time. One of my friends actually keeps her pyjamas here so she can stay over all the time.

Is there a stigma attached to living alone?

Yeah I have to explain to friends at uni and at home, because they’re always like: “Awh how come?! That’s sad!” And I have to explain that I got fucked over and how the situation could be so much worse – it’s not like my current situation makes me feel unhappy in any way. It’s turned out to be really nice having my own space and being able to see people whenever I want. I feel more independent.

Yolanda King, 3rd year, Nottingham

How come you chose to live alone?

Last year I lived with someone that I knew before uni, basically my best friend, and we lived out quite far from the uni. So I said why don’t we live a bit closer to uni and closer to more of our friends. She wanted to stay living in town – by that time, around May or June, all my other mates had already got a house.

At the end of third year I’d boarded in halls for too long, I kind of felt fine living in a one bedroom flat and I’m still close to all my friends here.
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Do you enjoy the freedom of living alone? 

Yeah, I like the space I have to myself and it definitely suits me. I’m really into sport, which means I’m busy training all the time. It’s actually nice to come home and not have to worry about other people getting annoyed because I’ve chucked my kit on the floor. If I make a mess it doesn’t matter – I can clean up when I want. Likewise, whenever I want to do something I can do it. It’s a nice feeling.

Do have a lot of people over?

Yeah. But also, and I know this might sound a little selfish, living on my own means I can choose when to see others, whether they’re coming over to mine or I’m going to see them. I think it’s good for me.

Do you think there’s a stigma attached to living alone? 

Yeah, a lot of my friends, maybe because they all assumed I’d be living with the same people as last year, were like: “Isn’t it going to be kinda lonely?” But I haven’t really found it to be like that at all so far.

Then again I haven’t really been doing it very long. So far I’m fine – I think it’s because I know that if I ever was lonely I could just go round to my mates house, which is only a couple of minutes away.
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People do find it weird and I do sometimes have to explain to them that I don’t mind being by myself. So many people live in house shares when they miss out on housing for whatever reason.

It’s not like I didn’t look at those kind of options, but honestly I just couldn’t really be bothered in the end. There definitely is a stigma attached to the decision I made, the problem with when I try and explain it is that people I don’t have any mates.

The first time you tell people you’re living alone they’re always like “What, but you’re a student!?” People even found it weird that I lived in a two person flat last year. Anyone not living in a seven bedroom house is seen as different. Living further away from uni, even if you’re with other people, is actually lonelier than living alone in my experience.

Do you think it’s a brave thing to do?

I dunno really? I think for me I was ready to do it. I was ready for my own space. My Mum was a bit worried at the start but she’s fine now.

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