Living at home versus living on campus – which is best for a dental school student?

Dental school students Nabeel Ahmad and Ibraheem Ijaz discuss the pros and cons of campus life and living at homeAs the pandemic continues to shake up university schedules, dental school students, Nabeel Ahmad and Ibraheem Ijaz, discuss the pros and cons of campus life and living at home.

You’ve probably guessed it from the title, one of us lives at home with their parents and the other on campus in university accommodation. You wouldn’t think it but the topic of accommodation always seems to creep into our conversations.

Every time we argue the other has it easier whether it’s managing workload, social life or extracurriculars. We’ve gone back and forth with this until there’s no more and know many other students have the same dilemma.

So, in this article, we’ve explained all the pros and cons of each from our perspective – meaning you don’t have to stress.

Dental school students Nabeel Ahmad and Ibraheem Ijaz Living on-campus – Nabeel Ahmad

I have lived on-campus at university since the start of my first year. Initially at university provided accommodation, then with my friends thereafter. During my first and second year, I was based 15 minutes away from the dental school and then only a few minutes away in my third and fourth year.

Typical weekday

Wake up at 8:00 am, shower and get ready by 8:30 am, have a breakfast drink and out the door by 8:40 am to make it in for 9:00 am. Lunch is between 12:30 – 1:30 pm, and I would usually settle on having lunch at university because the walk back to and from my accommodation was just too much.

I finish and arrive home at 5:15 pm. Have a quick ready meal with my flatmates and then we would head to the gym at 7:00pm. We get back from the gym by 8:30pm and then cook my last meal of the day and eat by 10:00 pm.

Moving closer to the dental school in third and fourth year was definitely a luxury I didn’t know I needed. I was able to wake up later and I didn’t have to make a packed lunch or spend a ridiculous amount at the canteen. I could also relax in my own room between lectures.


  • Not having to wake up early
  • Living with friends
  • Learning to cook
  • Gaining independence.


  • Cooking and cleaning surprisingly takes up a lot of time
  • Don’t get to see family often
  • Friends can be a distraction sometimes
  • Accommodation
    • Expensive – £6,000 in Leeds, not including living costs
    • Maintenance issues stress
    • Finding and changing accommodation.

From my perspective, the negatives overshadow the positives, which is why I believe living at home is much better. I would definitely live at home if I was able to commute.

Dental school students Nabeel Ahmad and Ibraheem Ijaz

Living at home – Ibraheem Ijaz

I have lived at home since the start of my degree. The dental school is only 25 minutes by car or 45 minutes by train from my home. So, inherently, I thought I’d just stay at home.

Typical weekday

I wake up at 7:00 am, shower and freshen up by 7.30 am, have breakfast and leave for the train station at 8:00 am. The walk to the station takes 10 minutes, the train takes 25 minutes and then I walk for 15 minutes to the dental school.

Well…that’s a lie! I often, okay, mostly, take the bus after the train journey because it only takes five minutes and I’m lazy. In an ideal world that’s what should happen, but life isn’t like that and frequently the train or bus gets delayed – and I mean delayed! Sometimes I take a packed lunch, but often I just grab a bite to eat at the university café.

The journey to university can be stressful, especially when trying to arrive on time. But the journey back is just plain horrible. I have to repeat the same rigmarole but this time I’m absolutely shattered from my day. It is peak rush hour at 5:30 pm.

Rush hour

Many times I’ve not managed to get onto the train because it’s overflowing. So, I have to wait for the next train. Although I can get on this time, I have to stand for the whole journey while pressed up against strangers.

I usually get home by 6:30 pm, have a small meal and try to get some work done. At 8:30pm I have dinner with my family and go to the gym at 9:00pm. I return home by 10:00pm and prepare to sleep.

I got a car at the beginning of fourth year and now everything is for the better. The drive is about 25 minutes, which means I can wake up later and I have much more time in the afternoon after getting back.


  • Spend time with family
  • Don’t have to cook
  • Cheaper living cost
  • No accommodation stress – comfort of living in your own home.


  • Too many family chores
  • Guests coming over every so often
  • Less time socialising with university friends
  • Family distractions
  • Travelling is tiring
  • On my days off I have to do the school rounds.

I live in a house of eight, so the house is always loud and on weekends we can end up talking all night. Not to mention I share a room with my brother. Living at home does have its benefits but these are again overshadowed by the negatives for me.

Finishing line

This might have been a tad long, but we wanted to close by saying that at the end it doesn’t really matter whether you decide to live at home or on-campus because you’ll find a way to make it work.

We won’t shy away from the fact that both living arrangements has negatives but there’s always positives. It’s all about individual perspective. Although we say the other has it better, we don’t regret our decision.

Your time at university will fly by and by the time you know it you will complete your degree. So just make the most of it wherever you are.

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