DD says she's deferring at start of 3rd yr uni

(22 Posts)
Handsontheair Mon 07-Nov-16 22:46:58

My DD has decided to defer for a year midway through uni. I am clueless as to how this all works and am worried as she is not communicating with me fully. As much as I want to support her I feel confused by the lack of information from her. I spoke to student services who could not give me any information as students are adults and have confidentiality.
Can anyone help me get informed so I can guide her with getting back to uni after a year out? Not sure how to support her while she's holding back on information. An added point is that our relationship is not great due to us spending very little time together as she's more interested in going out clubbing. I'm so worried that she will lose all focus with taking a year out.
Thanks for reading.

alltouchedout Mon 07-Nov-16 22:55:57

I don't think she's asking for your guidance though, is she? If you seem less over involved and just make it clear you're there for her, things will probably be between you.

Nongoddess Mon 07-Nov-16 22:58:50

Well, first thing to say is I can understand why you would be worried but it can be a great decision to take a year out if things are not going well leading into finals. And it can be very common. I've had plenty of students who have done this and come back much stronger and done much better, so it may well be that she's taken a responsible, informed decision and even though you don't know the details there are good reasons for doing so. Can you check if she's spoken to her personal tutor, or someone in the department who has advised her about the practical details? She does need to have it straight in her own mind about how she's going to come back - what modules she needs to be taking etc, when she might need to re-register, library access. Other than that, all I can say is try to talk to her non-judgementally, there may be all sorts of things going on (eg. mental health - I see so many students who are stressed and anxious and who feel that they might be letting parents down because everyone has invested so much in their being at uni). So just keep reassuring her that you're there, you support her, and you trust her to make the right decisions even if she can't talk about them right now. Keep the door open in case she wants to talk about going to counselling or getting help with some aspect of her life which she can't yet share with you.... it is a strange time for parents I think because on the one hand your student children are adults now and must make these decisions for themselves - but on the other hand, you know how vulnerable they still are. Fingers crossed she can get through this difficult time and all the best!

shouldwestayorshouldwego Mon 07-Nov-16 22:58:56

The third year is generally the most heavily weighted and so most of her marks will depend on the grades gained in that year if she isn't in the right frame of mind then maybe a gap will mean she gets higher grades. Taking a year out to gain some relevant experience and consolidate her existing knowledge might not be such a bad plan and if she goes back next year many of her clubbing buddies will have left. There is of course the risk that she won't go back but there are positives too. Do you think she might have failed some level 2 modules? Ultimately she is an adult and it is her choice.

Handsontheair Tue 08-Nov-16 00:24:37

Thank you for replying. We have just had a long talk and have reaffirmed that this big decision is hers and she has my support. Have asked her to email me any corispondense from uni to keep me informed and suggested to her that she speaks to my brother who has a background in eduction and may give her guidance.
She did say she's 'shitting herself' about the decision which I countered with she has my support but let's make sure all the right procedures are followed in case she wants to return.
I just hope she can take this year out with a focus on what she wants/needs. I have younger children and I have to say this past two years with my adult daughter has been more challenging than terrible twos etc with her younger siblings.

furlinedsheepskinjacket Tue 08-Nov-16 00:30:39

both of mine are at uni at the moment - its stressful

be there to support her as you said but try and take a step back

not easy i know but this is their life, their decisions now smile

Handsontheair Tue 08-Nov-16 00:58:02

My worry is that I've taken a step back too much and now we're at a place where she can't ask me or anyone else for support even when it's offered. We talked tonight about how she had to grow up too fast and how maybe that's affecting her now. The deferral is probably the best decision now I've written about it.
If there is any more practical advice for her decision or how I handle the situation I would be very grateful.
Thanks people.

Moominmammacat Tue 08-Nov-16 09:57:10

A friend's daughter did this a year ago ... I was all for shoving her through third year, thinking she'd never go back. But she has and is much the stronger and wiser for it ... and the mother has learnt a lot too We have to remember it is their life, not ours, and to be there to help where we can. Not easy.

bojorojo Tue 08-Nov-16 14:50:28

I think the main worry will be friendships back at university. All her current friends will have left when she goes back, unless some are doing 4 year courses. Therefore finding accommodation with friends becomes more problematic and she will be going to lectures without her usual friends. For someone who appears to be very sociable, I would wonder how she will react to this. Will she be lonely? Will she make new friends when the students she is joining already have established friendships? Finding people to live with will be a massive hurdle. She will need to be resolute and if she is remotely flaky about the course , she may have second thoughts about going back, especially if she gets a job in the year off.

It would be good to know what the problems are (apart from growing up too fast) and if they can be resolved, or not. They may not be resolvable with a year off. I would have said both my DDs were very mature for their age, but this was an advantage at university. If she is saying she made a hasty and uninformed decision about the course, then that is more difficult to resolve. Is her work ok? Is she struggling academically? How does she think a year off will help?

Handsontheair Tue 08-Nov-16 16:23:15

Lots a good input thanks. Am still trying to get answers to a lot of questions much the same as above. She has a meeting at uni tomorrow so hoping that will shed some light on her motives and decision.
As regards to friends and social life, this is one area that will not be a problem for her. The uni is in her home town and she has a part time job so mixes in many social circles. Perhaps too many.
It's difficult to take a back seat when you want the best for your DC. But I suppose if the year out gives her some time to know what she wants then she'll find her own way.

Evalina Sat 12-Nov-16 10:04:45

A lot of students take a year out between years 2 and 3, often to do a year in business or a year abroad, so she should find that many of her peers will be there when she returns.

It might be worth exploring whether she could do a paid placement year somewhere, even if it's not a standard part of her course. She may find a year working helps her focus on what she wants to do longer term. She could work part of the year and then travel, which could help with her CV.

Is she proposing to stop now and restart next September or planning to finish this academic year then take the year out?

I would focus on helping her look at the options for what she could do with this year. That way you are supporting her. As long as the university are happy for her to return for the third year, the year out should not disadvantage her in any way..

CustardShoes Sat 12-Nov-16 10:32:04

Not sure how to support her while she's holding back on information. An added point is that our relationship is not great due to us spending very little time together as she's more interested in going out clubbing. I'm so worried that she will lose all focus with taking a year out

I think you're going to have to live with this & ride it out. If she's a 3rd year, she's very much an adult. And I don't know if there's a back story about your relationship with your daughter, but really - do you expect her to treat you like a friend? She's your daughter. If she's more interested in going out with her own friends then I'm sorry, but that's absolutely normal. Were you still spending most of your time with your mother at age 21 or so?

If what you're worried about is her work ethic & her results, that is a different thing, but again - she's an adult. It's tough to watch, but you have to let them find their own feet and make their own mistakes. When I think of some of the things I did at university age 21 shock My parents didn't expect to have a say, although they would listen, and advise - but only after I"d talked to them & told them what I was thinking about. Although I was very independent - I'd worked away from home at the age of 17, and then to university at just 18.

If you want to help her, start collecting information - but not about her, but the situation re fees, maintenance loan, and so on. Help her gather the information about the latest point at which she can withdraw without penalty on her transcript. If she's in 3rd year now, it may be too late for this term/semester. She might be well advised to stick it out until CHristmas, and then defer for a year.

You could also advise her that a chat with her Personal Tutor (as academics we advise in a pastoral as well as academic role) about her options.

Instead of being hurt yourself (this really isn'y about you) that she doesn't spend time with you, maybe start to probe, gently delicately subtly, why she feels she needs to defer 3rd year.

And, speaking as an academic, if she's not ready for the 3rd year workload then it's a good thing to defer. I think students should take the time they need - if I ruled the world, every intending undergraduate would be required to take a gap year & do something else useful. So a gap year now is not always a bad thing or something to worry about.

CustardShoes Sat 12-Nov-16 10:33:13

Have asked her to email me any corispondense from uni to keep me informed

Why oh why? It's actually not really your business. You seem over-involved & a bit controlling.

CustardShoes Sat 12-Nov-16 10:35:38

All her current friends will have left when she goes back, unless some are doing 4 year courses

You know, they do manage. We have a degree programme where they can do a year abroad. About 5 of each year group go abroad, so come back to do their third (4th) year with the former second years. THey're OK really they are. Particularly of it's a department where the year groups mingle. If she's been involved in student societies or sports, then she'll know people of all years & postgraduates.

They do manage grin

MotherFuckingChainsaw Sat 12-Nov-16 10:46:18

I always wish I'd taken a year out between seconded and third years. It's a great idea.

bojorojo Mon 14-Nov-16 21:28:47

Evalina. You are incorrect about students taking a year off between yr 2 and yr3. These are designated 4 year courses. They work or study in the third year and then come back for the final 4th year. Therefore if her course is designated to be 3 years, that is what most people will do and they will not be there when she goes back.

Also, I think this is a conflict of interests between university and her home town friends. I also think maturity sets in when you go away to university but she has not left home. I think there may be a big pull from friends who are not studying. This would worry me because what will be her need to go back? She can still see her friends, have a roof over her head and get a job all without making too much effort. The need to make a life at university is missing.

bojorojo Mon 14-Nov-16 21:34:07

4 or 5 doing a year out is hardly anyone! What if they are not your friends? My DDs never mingled with lower years. It is not school so why would they? No lectures together, not living together so how do they mix? I think if a student ends up being reluctant to go back, losing friends is a big obstacle.

noeuf Mon 14-Nov-16 21:37:07

It's all very well to be saying it's the dd's decision but with the amount of support parents are expected to cough up it's a bit much to be expected to just fund whatever choices are made.

We are looking at having to top up dd next year as she will get the minimum loan for maintenance. I wouldn't be happy to find two years down the line she was dropping out and I had no idea of how it worked.

Handsontheair Mon 14-Nov-16 23:16:23

Excuse my late response to all your posts and I have to say everyone of you makes sense in your replies.
As regards to being controlling, well maybe more a case of trying to help her focus on the decision rather than making choices for her.
Also perhaps staying at home was not the best way for DD to immerse herself in uni life, but she didn't really make much effort to find a flat despite my full encouragement on that front.
She has spoken to uni and is taking this year out with the option to return in September.
She will be going to stay with her dad for a while and have suggested she considers what she is going to do till the next year of uni starts.
As much as this is her life etc. I know my worry is that she doesn't really have any plans or money to travel. And is possibly thinking she might just amble along working in a pub and going out clubbing.
Maybe I am too invested in this but having been a returner to work after her DB started school I know there is not a lot to chose from in the job market. But hey maybe looking for a job and having some interview experience could be motivational for her choices.
Thanks for replies.

Evalina Tue 15-Nov-16 22:22:24

bojorojo, both my DDs are in friendship groups with students across a variety of courses, some of which have years out and others that don't. About half seem to be doing either a year abroad or in business, so although they are not taking a year out there are plenty that do, plus then some will stay for a 4th year to do a masters.

But yes I agree, being in a shared house with other students is a big factor in making and staying friends, and if she is living at home it maybe harder to slot back in afterwards.

Still as the decision has been made all you can do is provide her with support as needed. Good luck..

SingaSong12 Tue 15-Nov-16 22:42:47

I have some gaps in my CV. My suggestion is If (only if) she asks your opinion about what she does during the year ask her what she will say to an employer who asks two questions
- why she took the gap year
- what she did during that year

- what she learned/can demonstrate through it that would be relevant to the job she is applying for (i.e. The type of jobs she will be going for after graduation). By learning I was meaning applicable to the job e.g. Working in a pub and drawing up rotas if she is going into hospitality) and otherwise things like punctuality, dealing with difficult people....

SingaSong12 Tue 15-Nov-16 22:44:01

That's three questions mustn't MN when too tired to be able to count to three

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