DD so upset at uni it's breaking my heart

(156 Posts)
amumthatcares Thu 03-Oct-13 08:33:40

Just to re-cap: For those of you that read my previous posts, DD was torn between a uni for the city and it's vibrant nightlife and the top uni for her course in a quieter city. She firmed the top uni. On getting her results she had a complete melt down and said she'd made a terrible mistake with both the course and the uni. She wanted to be in the vibrant city and do a course that had a wider career path choice. We discussed everything, pointing out all of the possible pitfalls if she changed (ie, strong possibility of not getting campus accommodation, etc.,) She was still sure she wanted to change, saying that she would make friends with house mates and on her course etc., and so we did everything we could to help her swap through clearing.

She got allocated an off campus house (5 sharing). It started off badly when we took her down and nobody else moved in that day and so she spent the first night alone. The next day two lads moved in who she has got on well with. That was 3 weeks ago. This week 2 international students have moved in that obviously have completely different cultures and do not share similar personalities to my DD. She has been unable to meet anyone at the Uni as she has to travel by train for a one hour lecture of 100+ students and then 5 hours later (too long to spend hanging around on campus with nothing to do) go back for another lecture. Everyone just leaves the lectures and goes their own way and so she goes back to her house. She sees all her school friends on FB that are in uni halls, posting pics of Freshers flat parties and clubbing.

She is quite a strong, outgoing girl and very sociable and is in absolute bits that she is finding it so hard to make friends and have that uni Freshers experience. We have looked at the societies that the uni has to offer and there is literally nothing that would remotely interest her. Apart from feeling very lonely and isolated, her big concern now is that students start sorting out next years house shares shortly after Christmas and she is panicking about what she will do. I know she made the decision to swap and go there, I know she has to live with it, I know there is little we can do to help change the situation but it hurts like fucking hell to see your DC so distraught sad

JuliaScurr Thu 03-Oct-13 08:45:50

all the pressure building up to this has been going on for years, since she chose her GCSE options, gt the grades, then the AS, the A levels, the uni applications, etc etc. Now she got the glittering prize and it's not that glittery. The contrast wit others makes it worse.
It is quite common to drop out and start again next year. Lots of people do it. Could that be n option?

niffernaffer Thu 03-Oct-13 08:45:59

I had an experience like this when I first went off to Uni at 18 and called my mum in tears every day for two weeks I feel for you and her.
All is not lost, although it feels miserable at the moment and you probably just want to rescue her. Has she been to see student services as that should be her first point of call in letting them know she is struggling. They might be able to offer her a transer to another house/ campus accommodation if any spaces have come up. A long shot but not impossible a I got moved to a different place much closer to me college. Also they should be able to put her in touch with others who are in the same boat and perhaps suggest some other avenues/ societies she hasn't considered. I hesitate to say jack it all in, but you know your child best and she knows herself too. If it is all too wrong then be reassured that she can indeed leave and it won't be the end of the world. She might have an unexpected gap year but it can have its benefits (I saved up and travelled to Australia which would never have happened if the 'opportunity' hadn't arisen). And if it does happened she will have the time and maturity to make a decision on where she wants to be and will have the grades behind her so should get firm offers from instiutions she is interested in. Don't give up - this is a horrible blip but it will all be ok in the end. stand by her, whatever she decides. This is probably the first big adult thing she will have had to deal with and it will bring her resilience and strength long term, whatever she decides. My best wishes to you.

Netguru Thu 03-Oct-13 08:50:30

Five hours is not too long to hang around campus. That's how you make friends.

She needs to decide whether she is going to make a go of it. If she is, she needs to join three societies regardless of whether she would normally want to do them. Meeting people will help loads.

amumthatcares Thu 03-Oct-13 09:02:59

Thank you for you understanding replies. Julia & niffer She e-mailed the housing office last night, explaining the situation and seeing if there was any alternative, so she is waiting for a response on that. Do either of you know what the implications regarding student finance would be if she pulled out this year? Would she lose a whole years finance and so be one year short of finance to complete her degree?

Net I know it seems the logical thing, but what would be the point of joining a society if she were not with like minded people? If there was a society that she was interested in, the likelyhood is, there would be people with similar interests and personalities, but there is not.

ipswichwitch Thu 03-Oct-13 09:04:48

She could see student services and ask for a house move. In my final year I was due to share with friends but the landlord inexplicably let our house to someone else (even though we paid deposits), so the day before
I was due back I found out we had nowhere to live. 2 of my friends found spare rooms elsewhere and the other decided to live at home. I was offered a room in a uni flat. When I moved in I found I was living with 4 Malaysian men who refused to speak to me, were rude, refusedro pass on phone measages and generally made my life miserable. I ended up at student services, explained my situation and they did offer me another flat share and I ended up living with people who became friends for life.

When I first started, I would turn up at lectures, sit myself next to someone, start a conversation and usually end up in the bar with them after lectures. I woul also turn up early to lectures and chat to the others that were waiting to go in and made some good friends that way too.

It can be daunting and when the reality is different to what you expect it to be that can be off putting. There will be others feeling the same as her (one good friend I made was exactly the same, had spoken to hardly anyone in the first 3 weeks until I started chatting hole waiting to get in the lecture hall), and I would say to try and single out those people and strike up conversation. Sometimes people just wait for others to make the first move. Good luck to her, and I hope things improve.

Slipshodsibyl Thu 03-Oct-13 09:08:36

I Agree with the suggestion of asking if there is an opportunity to move. A friend has just organised that for her son who was housed with older students which made him feel left out. The university obliged but by then he decided he liked his housemates after all and stayed put!

I understand what she is feeling about the international students'different culture, but it is almost certainly tougher for them so my sympathy is less and I wonder if she could look outside herself and get to know them a bit better? That is a very good way to take your mind off your own woes as well as helping her to make friends of all nationalities.

I think I remember the original posts - did she want to go to a 'party town' along with people she had met? Since she has been pretty determined about her wishes, against advice, I feel she ought to be able to stick it longer than this and I would be unlikely to agree to a move before term is out.

If she isn't happier by Xmas then, provided she had tried her best, if she were mine, I would support her in reapplying or transferring next year. I am a bit soft about making them stick it out, but if the backstory is the one I am thinking if, I think she should be required to give the course her best shot for a while longer yet.

RatherBeOnThePiste Thu 03-Oct-13 09:14:13

I'd def say give it a bit longer. Has been such a whirl for her, bless her, you too. If still not right, look into deferring. Friend's DD at Manchester did that last year, although waited until just around Easter. She's just restarted the same course and is SO much happier. Her mum said the university were incredibly helpful and supportive.

Wish her well. X

amumthatcares Thu 03-Oct-13 09:17:24

Slip yes, that is my DD. She has actaully been home for 2 days with flu and so last night, whilst at the dinner table discussing the situation, DH let rip. He told her it was her fault, she had brought it all on herself by chopping and changing her mind and she only had herself to blame. Whilst this is true, it was not a very constructive way of dealing with the situation. She just sobbed more, will never speak to him about it again and will go back today feeling like a complete failure sad

I did also raise the point that it must be SO much harder for students to move to another country, city, house, uni and with no friends or family support. She does understand that and I think it hit home a bit.

daytoday Thu 03-Oct-13 09:18:14

You really have to learn to go out on a limb. Do you really think she won't find one single like minded person? You do need to hang around, start conversations and go through the pain barrier.

Coveredinweetabix Thu 03-Oct-13 09:19:27

I hated my first four weeks at Uni, thought as was never going to make friends and then suddenly it all clicked and came together. I was in a different situation though as I was in a hall on campus and that does make it easier.
I don't want to be too harsh when your daughter is clearly going through a tough time but I do think she needs to make more effort and be less narrow minded. What are her usual interests and hobbies? Surely there's a sports team or choir or something she can join. Or try something new. She doesn't have to do it for the next three years, just until she makes some friends. I'm useless at hockey but went along to training every week, then went to support the team at Saturday home matches which led to post-match drinking and eventual friendships. In the second year, I never bothered going to training, just to post-match drinking and several mid week cups of tea with people who were on the team in their room. I also think your DD needs to be less anti the international students. Yes, there may be cultural differences but surely one of the points about leaving home and going to Uni is to meet different people. As they've only been in the house for a week, it's a bit early to have decided that they're totally different personalities and so can't be friends. And surely rather than doing these long train journeys twice a day she could hang around in the cafe on campus (I'm sure there is one) for a coffee or lunch and then go to the library and do some work.
As for her friends in FB, I bet many of them are lonely, are concerned that they haven't made any proper friends etc but you're not going to admit that on FB. Instead, you're going to post about all of the fun stuff that you're doing and which you know you should be enjoying even if you're not actually enjoying it.
How far is she from home? Can she come home for the weekend? Spending a weekend by yourself can get very lonely.
I hope she settles soon.

HowardTJMoon Thu 03-Oct-13 09:29:51

There is always a significant drop-out in the first term of university, one of the effects of which is that spaces open up in Halls. It's definitely worth a try.

BrianTheMole Thu 03-Oct-13 09:31:05

Those first months are hard. You have to really push yourself out there, even if its something that doesn't feel natural to you. Everyone is in the same boat though. I found it really hard. In the end I signed up for voluntary work and also joined clubs outside the university. It did work quite well. When it comes to house shares next year the uni should have a board with people advertising for a flat mate. I made loads more new friends in the second year through sharing with people who were new to the uni and had just started their masters. I don't think your dd should give up yet, there will be people there she will get on with. She needs to put herself out there and find them. The nice thing about uni is that people are more likely to want to make friends quickly, as they are feeling the same.

Merrylegs Thu 03-Oct-13 09:33:51

Are there really no clubs she can join? DS has just started at uni. He finds socialising quite difficult but has almost made it a 'project' in freshers week to make friends. And to join the most random and out of his experience club, just because he can. (He chose American football!)

I definitely agree with getting to lectures early and chatting to people. That's how I made friends on my course.

Also, don't take the societies at their name they often have many 'jobs' within them. Dh joined the radio station but mostly did computing stuff, for example.

Try not to worry about housing for next year. There's usually loads of people who don't have the right number for a house and start advertising at the start of the January term. This happened to me - 8 of us in halls, 1 exchange student, 2 moved in with friends and the other 5 got a house together. I found some random people that were advertising for a housemate (there were 3 of them) and someone else replied too. We all went for a drink and living with all of them was a brilliant year.

When I dropped out of my first 2 uni places and took a gap year I repaid the student loan. I could then start afresh the next year. I don't know if it still works the same way or whether this is an option for you. And FWIW my dad didn't speak to me for 6 weeks angry

magicturnip Thu 03-Oct-13 09:34:32

She could set up her own society. Or are there meetup groups in her area? These are a great way to meet people in my city.

TheSmallPumpkin Thu 03-Oct-13 09:37:03

My first couple of weeks were exactly like this (although for different start out reasons) but I went to the accommodation people who found me a place in halls and it made a huge difference. Tell her to get herself in there today. The first few weeks can be tough but I'm sure she'll be fine.

rootypig Thu 03-Oct-13 09:38:46

This is going to sound harsh, OP, but this is what people go to uni for. It is hard. She needs to learn to get on with non 'like minded people'. They might become some of her dearest friends. To some degree (no pun intended!), you have to let her get on with it. That means neither fussing nor blaming her. You giving her the other students' perspective is helpful, just carry on gently supporting her and see what she decides. Early days.

Awks Thu 03-Oct-13 09:40:28

Moving is the best option and it is definitely possible but it might not be the answer to all her problems. Where is she - sre there any of us with older kids studying in the same city who could introduce her to things/people? My dd is in 3rd year at uni/manchester

gennibugs Thu 03-Oct-13 09:41:23

You have my sympathies – it is hard.

My mum worried like crazy about me when I went to uni, I know she had sleepless nights worrying about how unhappy I was– I hated it so much to start off with and was miserable. I found every excuse to come home (even though I lived the other end of the country) and would sob and cry my eyes out when it was time to go home.
I too made a last minute decision to switch courses and unis and ended up living with 3 international students who though lovely were just so different to me. I also hated my course. Student services helped me to move to halls which helped so would definitely recommend that. I actually ended up moving unis and coming back to London in the end to start a new course but funnily enough in my last month at my last uni I met some lovely people through a random society that I joined (I had no interest in it but was desperate) and actually this nearly swayed me to stay. I am still friends with those people from the society 12 years later – we managed to keep a friendship going even though I left. So I would suggest trying societies that she has maybe even the tiniest bit of interest.

Also don’t be afraid to just start talking to people in lectures, the library and suggesting things like a coffee after class.

gennibugs Thu 03-Oct-13 09:43:28

Also - I got a job working in the student union bar/cafe which gave me interaction with students and meant I didnt feel quite so isolated - could this be something to consider?

wordfactory Thu 03-Oct-13 09:45:35

First, the societies often don't do much of what their name implies. I joined the film making society and we didn't actually manage to film more than a couple of scenes in three years!

But we did make freinds grin.

Second, don't be contrained to the societies. There are also lots of committees that need fresh students. Women's committee, entertainments committee, charity committee...then there is usually a university newspaper/magazine, a radio station etc.

OP, your DD should scour the notice boards too. There will be talks, meetings, debates. All good places to start chatting to the person next to you.

SavoyCabbage Thu 03-Oct-13 09:52:40

I think she needs to join things and go to them whether she thinks she will meet like minded people or not.

If she was in halls, she would be wit all sorts of people from all different places. Everyone is on a different course. People are from different places, people have different sexualities, different beliefs, different politics, different interests. Some are rich and some are poor. That's what it's all about.

Slipshodsibyl Thu 03-Oct-13 09:55:41

An issue that might be influencing your feelings is that this really is not the university you felt was best suited to your dd. It would influence me in your position.

I am a bit unsure about there being not a single society that interests her and would not accept that as a reason since I believe university is when they should be expanding their experiences and interests. She sounds as if she is feeling overly negative and I think you could try to help her overcome this.

I can understand her dad's frustration with her since she was absolutely determined to reject the best university for her subject for reasons that were not very good and ignored your advice. For this reason I think that even tough you are upset for her, she should live with the consequences of her intransigence for a bit longer.

She is far from the only 17 year old to ignore her parents advice though and to later regret it and if, in another 6 weeks, she is still unhappy and you feel it was the wrong choice, then I would be looking into either transferring next September (which means completing the year where she is) or leaving and reapplying. But I happen to agree that her original choice of university, which was also your preference, will give her a better start academically (and probably socially). and that would be a major factor in my thinking.

Somethingyesterday Thu 03-Oct-13 10:00:10

This week 2 international students have moved in that obviously have completely different cultures and do not share similar personalities to my DD.

what would be the point of joining a society if she were not with like minded people?

Do you see what you're doing?

OP I am going to be even more harsh. You need to back off. Your Dd has gone to university to make her own life. But she seems to have arrived there somehow understanding that the entire thing is all about her. Everyone must be from exactly her background and culture; everyone must be like-minded.

I'm sorry but this is completely the wrong attitude and was bound to lead to not just disappointment but despair.

Why is she hanging around the campus with nothing to do? Are there no libraries? Cafes? Etc? Every university town is stuffed with students getting on the bus or train to get to lectures. Everyone has learn to live amongst and socialise with other people.

I do wish your Dd had been encouraged to approach this stage of her life in a spirit of adventure and independence.

NotALondoner Thu 03-Oct-13 10:01:21

At the very last resort, am I right in thinking that if you drop out before December you don't pay course fees?

Tavv Thu 03-Oct-13 10:02:07

> what would be the point of joining a society if she were not with like minded people? If there was a society that she was interested in, the likelyhood is, there would be people with similar interests and personalities, but there is not.

I agree with * SavoyCabbage* that it's good to join in with things anyway. One of the great opportunities at university is to meet people who are different from yourself, have different interests and personalities and who are not "like-minded" or "from a similar background". You can make all kinds of new friends and broaden your horizons.

IceCreamForCrow Thu 03-Oct-13 10:04:42

sad Oh dear I'd feel just the same as you amumsad

Mine aren't at that stage yet but I think I'd be encouraging her to give it until Christmas just to see if it improves. That's a point in the not too distant future to aim towards as a time to assess the situation seriously, but to give it her all between now and then.

Don't do anything too hasty for now it's still early days and all feels raw and different.

I would also get her to go along to the uni dept that organises the on- campus accommodation and regularly pop in so they get to know herwink. Spaces may become available and if they keep seeing her they'll think of her.

People do drop out of their courses a lot at the start of term so something better may very possibly become available in accommodation that suits her better. Don't chuck away her dream course and University just because she's feeling isolated where she's living. That could well be fixable in time.

SatinSandals Thu 03-Oct-13 10:05:26

I think the housing is the key she needs to try her very best to change it.
There is some good advice on here.

Bumpsadaisie Thu 03-Oct-13 10:06:16

I sympathise with her unhappiness and your distress but the idea that there are literally NO societies that interest her seems a bit limp to me.

Most people go to uni not knowing anyone. You have to make a go of it! It's a real shame she's not in halls though. Was that because she got her place late?

RedWineAndCheese Thu 03-Oct-13 10:10:01

I would offer a "man up and just get stuck in" advice to your DD. 5 hours inbetween lectures? Go to the library and study! No friends yet? Just get out there. No like minded British people??? She really needs to broaden her horizons because the World is an International place and there are already too many grown adults who have issues with "different cultures".

And I think you must stop being this involved. For you to even be looking at the list of clubs and societies is a bit helicopter parent-like, isn't it?

I don't know the other post, but if she's at a less academic University, perhaps transferring or restarting there would be best anyway.

VenusDeWillendorf Thu 03-Oct-13 10:10:31

She needs to think of herself as having a full day, and not return to her flat.
Once she's in she's in college.

Maybe bring her gym stuff and work out, or take up a sport she'd never thought herself doing like trampoline or fencing.

Also she could go to the library! And stay off fb. Everyone only posts the best in their life there, not the mundane.

My feeling is that she's going to need to grow up and start being proactive, not easy if everything's been done for her up to now, either by her friends, or other asults, and she's been allowed to chop and change and not live with the consequences.

She needs to lean to make the best of her situation, and stick it out.

I'm sorry not to sound more sympathetic, but if there is a genuine problem why she's unable to settle, ie sn / anxiety / depression then of course, let her leave and reapply, but otherwise she needs to grow as an adult, and these are teething problems which must be overcome. If she really loathes it, and its affecting her mental health, well then why not reapply to the other uni for next year, and she could get a job for this year, and brush up on her life skills.

MinesAPintOfTea Thu 03-Oct-13 10:12:35

Sorry, but she needs to grit her teeth and join in a few societies. She won't meet new people if she sits in her room and feels sad that she's not getting on with her housemates. FWIW I haven't spoken to my first year houseshare people since I left. I regularly see people from one of my societies though, as does DH.

Is there a sport she doesn't object to (she doesn't have to love it, just like it enough to go along each week)? Netball, skiing, hiking, rugby, dance? Or another hobby? The chances of her happening to be lifelong friends with the people who she has been thrown in a house with are much lower than the chances of her getting on well with someone in a society she chooses to join or on her course.

Could she ask someone from her course if they want to study together, maybe go to a cafe or the library in a gap between lectures? Will there be group projects? They force people on the course to talk to each other. Is there a department society (ie Chem Soc) which organises social and subject-matter events for fun.

Universities are packed with ways to meet people, but unlike in school she will have to take the initiative and look for them. And you can't do it for her. Its also unlikely that the university itself is the problem at this point: wherever she had ended up she would still need to go out and find ways to meet friends herself. And her school friends won't be posting pictures on facebook of the days when they're crying that they will never make friends, of course facebook will make it look like they're having a fab time.

spiderlight Thu 03-Oct-13 10:13:56

I remember crying in the library because I felt so utterly alone at the start of uni. I chose to live at home and go to my home-town uni and struggled a bit to make friends initially because of this, but then I did eventually make two good friends (one was simply someone I saw most days on the bus in and eventually got chatting with) and then they both dropped out at Christmas, leaving me feeling totally bereft because everyone else had their own little gangs by then. It does get easier though - she'll soon be having smaller group tutorials and probably group assignments to do, which will help her to get to know people from her course - I'm still best friends with the first person I was paired with in a tutorial. She does need to join a few random societies or on-campus activities though - I did sign language and rambling, both of which were nice low-pressure ways to get to know people. Hopefully she'll be able to move closer to campus as well, which will help.

plummyjam Thu 03-Oct-13 10:15:38

She needs to speak to accommodation and ask them to move her into halls when a space becomes available. People drop out of uni in the first few weeks all the time.

A flatmate of mine quit her course in the first week and another girl moved in from a different hall. I ended up living with her for the next 4 years and we're best friends more than 12 years later.

I also think she needs to be a bit more open minded - the other students may be from a different culture, doesn't mean they can't be friends. At uni you also tend to become friends with other peoples friends - has she been out with the lads she gets on with?

PenelopePipPop Thu 03-Oct-13 10:16:32

Am a lecturer and personal tutor.

She will not be the only one feeling like this. This is normal for 50%+ of first years and obv her living arrangements are not helping. There is a reason why everyone drinks heavily to help them deal with the social awkwardness of the first few weeks. The first series of the programme/'documentary' (well I thought it was until my students explained to me) Fresh Meat does capture this horrible finding/reinventing yourself period very well.

Students join societies they are not interested in. Some will stir enthusiasm some won't. No matter. No one goes to uni an enthusiastic hang-glider/caver/photographer/opera-singer. Loads of people leave having done these things. This is why I live with a man with a complete paragliding kit taking up half our loft-space. And a canoe.

After lectures you hang around in the library or the SU, make eye contact with other people preparing for seminars and tutorials and chat. 5 hours is not too long to spend on campus if you have a stash of reading to do. If everyone else is spreading to the five winds it may be because they feel too shy to start up conversations too.

She needs to speak to her personal tutor now about how she is feeling. If for some reason she doesn't have one or doesn't get on with the one she has, she should e-mail the course director and request a meeting. If she does want to transfer off the course talking this over earlier rather than later is wise.

You say international students 'obviously' have different cultures and personalities. The different cultures is one of the joys of university, the personality point isn't obvious to me at all. Have you asked her how much effort she has made to make friends with her housemates? International students often experience very high levels of isolation, not helped by the assumption that they 'obviously' won't want to socialise with home students.

Tavv Thu 03-Oct-13 10:17:46

Agree that visiting the accommodation office would be a good idea. There may well be a space available in halls, if someone else has dropped out or moved, for example. She won't find out if she doesn't ask.

Does she have a particular tutor that she could talk things through with? Or someone at the counselling service could listen in an impartial way while she talks through her options?

If she drops out, could she ask the university in the quieter city if they could defer her place until next year? Then she could do a "gap year" of working or volunteering, to gain some life/work experience.

If everyone is going their separate ways after lectures could she invite one or two people if they'd like to go for a coffee? And while she's waiting for the situation to improve, she could pick two or three of the societies to join (at random if needs be!) in order to at least spend some time with people, rather than being in her house by herself.

ipswichwitch Thu 03-Oct-13 10:19:02

I also can't help thinking that surely among the myriad of societies most universities seem to have there must be one that's at least mildly interesting. The main focus for a lot of the societies is to get people mixing - quite often the subject of the society is of secondary importance. I say this as someone who joined the National Hat Society in freshers week. The only requirement was to meet in a pre designated place the bar wearing a hat. Ok, so it was just a flimsy excuse to go drinking, but it was great for getting out meeting people, especially in the first few weeks when you don't know anyone and are far from home.

titchy Thu 03-Oct-13 10:21:29

She has two weeks from the beginning of the course before she becomes liable for fees. She may only be liable for pro-rata fees, that will be hp to the university. But she will 'lose' a year's entitlement to a loan.

However agree with the others - why can't she talk to the person sitting next to her at the end of the lecture? They'll all be first years. There are plenty of cafes on her campus - if she's that outgoing it shouldn't be too difficult to talk to people in the queue. And yes join stuff!

IceCreamForCrow Thu 03-Oct-13 10:21:31

Brilliant advice from Penelope theresmile. I agree about getting to know the house mates. Sounds like they could do with a evening in getting to know each other over a few drinks and some food.

They are all living together after all, it would be nice to build a bit of a relationship and support one another rather than the house just being somewhere to sleep.

angeltulips Thu 03-Oct-13 10:23:24

I'm guessing she's in London by your comment "everyone goes their own ways after lectures" - I did my masters at a uol school and was amazed that this was absolutely true - the campuses are not really big enough and London is such an interesting place that people separate immediately after class.

So, she really has to join some clubs. Hockey is a good one for girls, as is netball. Photography? As the others have said, it doesn't have to be her life long passion. And definitely transfer to halls (or look for a house share closer).

Finally, if she is in London, remember that there is life outside of uni! There is so much going on for young people that is cheap or free - particularly in the arts. Soak up the galleries, join creative societies, go to free lectures & parties - the world is her oyster!

She shouldn't worry about the house thing- only the super organised people start looking for a place right after Christmas, we're barely out of freshers and some people I know got their houses for this year sorted in late August! Plus in March/April there's ads popping up all over the place by people looking for housemates.

ipswichwitch Thu 03-Oct-13 10:25:57

I should add that I am in no way interested in hats or any assorted headgear - I saw it for what it was, a chance to meet people. Barring my own bad experience with some foreign students, I did meet and make friends with a large number of other foreign students and even ended up spending 2 summers visiting and travelling with them in their home country. Just because you don't get on with some students from other countries, doesn't mean it's the same for them all. It certainly broadened my horizons meeting people who are hugely different to me and my background

ShoeWhore Thu 03-Oct-13 10:26:02

OP I can understand this is very hard to watch. If it makes you feel any better I was quite miserable in my first term at uni as well but once I settled in I had a blast.

I think your dd will get more out of the experience if she can find a way to approach it in a more open-minded way. I find it hard to believe that there isn't a single society or activity that she could muster some interest in. and I'm afraid I do tend to agree with pps that meeting people who are totally different to you is one of the big pluses of going to uni!

If the housing thing is really getting her down then she could speak to accommodation though.

Chin up - she will learn a lot from this experience.

CocktailQueen Thu 03-Oct-13 10:31:56

Can she apply for a place in a hall of residence next year? Are there really NO societies that would interest her?? Can she speak to her guidance/welfare officer and see what they suggest? Surely she will have tutorials/smaller classes where she can meet people? What about the uni library? Maybe she just needs some time to settle in - it's a big change.

sunnybobs Thu 03-Oct-13 10:32:53

This is when I feel pleased that I went to uni before social media & email etc. There just wasn't the same opportunity to compare all the time. Now her situation sounds very similar to mine when I was there - I was in a hall but one that (to me) seemed to be only filled by people post gap year & far more outgoing (looking back I'm sure that wasn't the case really!). My immediate neighbours were 2 nice but only interested in computer gaming boys & 2 Chinese students who were also lovely but older, more focused & did speak mostly Chinese all the time (obviously but quite hard to break in to for a chat) I was very very unhappy at first especially as I didn't drink & hated clubbing. But it did get better - once classes started I met some lovely people & made some really good friends though it was still hard work as making friends does take time. I also gritted my teeth and made myself be the person who invited others for a coffee or for a walk (very hard as I was shy but this was a challenge I made myself do) I joined the dramatic society on the technical side and while I was utterly rubbish I made myself do it for a term as it gave me an evening focus & I met other people who were doing it for the same reason. I went to the films on my own & always found another person to chat with. Every day it got a little bit easier & when I moved out of halls eventually it was in to a house share with friends. I will say I still don't look back on my university years with mass joy but I did love my course, did love the travelling allowed and learnt a huge amount about confidence. I think your daughter should set herself some small goals - so sign up to one random new society & attend its mixer. Start a chat with someone in the library cafe & have coffee together. Ask someone on her course to study together for the seminar. Remind her that most people will be feeling the same way even if it doesn't appear that way. My internal rule now is to give everything a chance till after Christmas so to try really hard to make it work for a term & then review properly. Hope she feels better soon - it's a huge step & an enormously difficult thing to do.

Theas18 Thu 03-Oct-13 10:35:28

Penelope is so wise .

Pass that advice on. She's got to work on getting stuck in. Get to know the international students- organise a sharing meal/snacks and a few slightly silly games one night as a house bonding excercise. Dd plays card games with her housemates - not poker or high brow things, but snap, go fish and similar ! They also have board games ( try charity shops)

DH was in a self catering flat in 1st year with 2 international students ( Malaysian ) he never did quite understand the pyrotechnic cooking but they shared meal nd got on fine ( I bet they were baffled by his beef stew too!).

5hrs "stuck on campus" s when she need to get her brave hat on and speak to people. A simpe " this is the last comfy chair the coffee shop can I sit here.... What course are you on...joined any societies...." type conversation isn't that hard.

And open her room door at home- sit in the living room not on your bed. No one, even the nicest housemate will chat if you are in the room with the doors closed.

Dear reader I met a geeky kid when he was looking lost over a baked potato in the really basic "caff" in the SU, and there were no seats....that was 30yrs ago and we've been married nearly 25. 2nd day of freshers.

lainiekazan Thu 03-Oct-13 10:39:38

No e-mail in my day, but I went to see the warden of the halls of residence I'd like to have been in. I was in a house with a drug addict (and I had never come across drugs before) and a bloke who tried to come in my room every night. The next day I was in that hall of residence!

Understand about making friends. It's hard. I was very shy and didn't make the most of my university experience. Agree with the others - join any society. I don't know what course she's doing, but every course has a society. I remember going round the Freshers Fair and being too intimidated to join anything because everyone looked so confident and was chatting to their pals on the stands. What a wimp! The advice I strongly give to my dcs is to not be put off if people look scary. You will soon be in the gang.

Re the OP's dd seeing all those FB posts. Well, I remember going back home at Christmas after first term at university and everyone trying to outdo each other as to the amount of drinking, water fights, high jinks and generally wild times they were having. FB is just one-upmanship and people only post the best of things. They're certainly not posting a selfie where they're alone eating a pot noodle.

amumthatcares Thu 03-Oct-13 10:42:19

Thank you for all of your replies. There are some very encouraging suggestions that I will talk through with my DD.

However I would just clarify these points: RedWine No like minded British people??? She really needs to broaden her horizons because the World is an International place and there are already too many grown adults who have issues with "different cultures Not once have I mentioned the word 'British' only 'likeminded' regardless of their nationality and she does not have any issues with 'different cultures'. My point on this was purely from a socialising perspective and the different ways in which 'different cultures' do this. She likes the clubbing/drinking social scene and not all cultures participate in this. Yours and others suggestions that my daughter is intolerant of 'different cultures' is totally wrong. Also, And I think you must stop being this involved. For you to even be looking at the list of clubs and societies is a bit helicopter parent-like, isn't it? We were actually sitting on the sofa together looking at the societies options as a way for her to meet people. Should I not sit with her then?

figroll Thu 03-Oct-13 10:43:48

I know how hard it must be to have her so depressed etc, but she chose this university and has to make a go of it. My dd2 started a couple of weeks ago and honestly, you would think that she was going to Kavos on a 18 - 30s holiday. The only debates we seemed to have were about what to wear on nights out (she laid these out on the bed in a row for each night), which nights would be the best, what is the cheapest cider to drink, etc. I had to intervene and say hang on a minute, I am not paying all this money for an almighty p* up. The expectations are so high about life at university it is a bit unreal tbh. Photos on fb give the impression of everyone having a fab time but there are lots of kids who are homesick - I was terrible when I went.

It's harsh but she is the master (mistress?) of her own destiny and she will settle in and find her place, but it isn't instantaneous. University is different things to different people but judging your experience through other people's photos on fb is not a good idea. Sorry if this sounds mean, I think you have to let them get on with it sometimes and support them when the going gets tough.

Theas18 Thu 03-Oct-13 10:44:37

Re " no societies that interest her" surely she joined the one for her subject? If not why not? How else does he expect to meet the kids on her course?

My suggestion to that would be "find out what meets tomorrow night, choose one, or stick a pin in the list but go!" dd is classics society social secretary , the aren't all classicists at all and belive be not a lot of classics happens beyond toga bar crawls and the annual visit to a historical site in reading week ( she's been to Rome and Pompeii this year it's Verona) . I'm a scientist and the opportunity to go on any of those for a price that it's ino a student budget appeals as much ow as it would then- id be first in line! The other events are quieter meets but they have fun.

niffernaffer Thu 03-Oct-13 10:49:56

Afraid I don't know about current financial implications, but again this is something student services will be able to advise on. Having been that person I think its a bit hard of some of the contributers on here to tell her to just get on with it, especially when you are in a house share with non.friends. And cultural differences often serve to emphasise your feelings of isolation if you are already feeling low. I hope the meeting with the hoping office goes well. Lots drop out in the first term so a room could come up on campus. Good luck!

Flicktheswitch Thu 03-Oct-13 10:54:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

figroll Thu 03-Oct-13 10:59:00

Sorry if I sounded harsh in my post. I am a big softie really when it comes to my kids and lose sleep over things that worry them. I am just a bit fed up with the ridiculous expectations they have about going to 'uni'. It can be hard but it's a period of adjustment and she will adjust over time.

dappleton Thu 03-Oct-13 11:03:07

In a big city uni (like London) I think a higher proportion of students tend to be from the city - therefore have friends outside their courses. I actually got a job at uni and met most of my closest friends that way, we were all studying at the same uni, all working together and became good friends. It also helps pay off loans. If your daughter likes a party atmosphere perhaps she could see if there are jobs going in the union bar etc.

2rebecca Thu 03-Oct-13 11:06:20

I chose hobbies I'd never done before when at college, mainly because it was a vocational college with a smaller range of courses than a large campus multi subject uni. Doing the hobby is just part of the society, I doubt she'll find a "clubbing" society and is maybe viewing things too narrowly. You go clubbing with the friends you meet through other societies. If she's sociable enough to enjoy clubbing then she must enjoy something. Part of choosing a university is choosing somewhere where you can keep up your interests. I'm sure she'll have looked at this sort of stuff when choosing her courses, it sounds as though she's just panicking now. She was maybe mistaken in going for a big city as often small cities and campuses do have a cosier at mosphere as students aren't as geographically diluted. I presume she decided against the smaller city for some reason.
I would encourage her to stick with it for now as it sounds as though she's just got into an indicisive panicky mindset.

Viviennemary Thu 03-Oct-13 11:13:32

My DD changed halls. First they said she couldn't when she asked. Then I rang up and they said no problem. So that could be an option. But she knew a few people at the other place so it worked out. I do think it sounds like she has got something to complain about. Most students would be expecting to have a really good time during freshers week and not be out on a limb.

MadBusLady Thu 03-Oct-13 11:18:10

Au contraire, if there isn't a drinking/clubbing society I'll eat my mortar board. It'll probably be called something else though.

timidviper Thu 03-Oct-13 11:21:32

I feel so sorry for you, it is awful for a mother to see their child unhapppy and I know how much I worried about mine going off to uni.

Just a couple of thoughts:
1) It is still very early days, she needs to keep going and keep trying
2) You don't know if people are like-minded till you get to know them so she may be writing off things too quickly. My DD took up social netball, having not played from the age of 14, met loads of girls from other halls, courses, backgrounds, etc and made some great friends
3) DDs boyfriend was like your daughter, a late entry, in a house with others he didn't really gel with. I have asked him for you and he said his advice is spend as much time time hanging around campus, uni buildings, etc so don't go home between lectures as that is when people talk and socialise. He also said go to all the Freshers' events, fairs, etc and talk to all the society folk. It is surprising how quickly you get drawn in.

If can kind of see your DHs point, she has to deal with the consequences of her decisions but it is hard and you are right to support and encourage her

MadBusLady Thu 03-Oct-13 11:29:37

I do agree though there are going to be socials in any society, so it doesn't really matter which ones she joins.

I think the main point a lot of people are making here is that she's shutting down options in conversation and giving you lots of reasons why she couldn't possibly do this or there's no point doing that, and you're agreeing with her. Is she very clever by any chance? I think she's scared (which is natural and normal) and she's using her considerable powers of argument to reason you into accepting her perspective when, to be honest, a lot of what she says isn't making sense. It's coming from fear and she is self-protecting.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 03-Oct-13 11:31:34

Five hours isn't too long to spend on campus! Coffee shops, library, SU, anything... that's how she will bump into people and start seeing familiar faces.

The problem with going straight home after the lecture is that the next logical step is to think 'it's hardly worth me getting on the train just for a one hour lecture', and sack it off.

The whole campus is there for her - she'll be paying for it, at a later date! Tell her to use it.

And yes, I joined the university paper and never wrote a thing, but the meetings in the pub were good! I can't believe that there is literally nothing she is interested in!

Don't encourage her to come home too much - it will make homesickness worse, and she will feel that uni is somewhere she has to schlep back to out of obligation (obvious corollorary - I won't bother). It is actually where she lives, and I think she needs to get on board with that in a more proactive way.

She needs to sit next to a likely looking person in a lecture. Start a conversation with them. Suggest they got for a coffee after the lecture. Then do the same again with somebody else so that they form a little group of "the ones who go for coffee and a chat" after the lecture.

It is hard. In halls she would have been walking up and down the corridors, knocking on neighbouring doors to see who wanted a cup of tea and a natter. The fact your DD has spare time on campus between lectures is a benefit. It is time she can meet up with people, or even volunteer in the SU offices etc.

Oh, and if there really isn't a society that interests her already she should think about starting her own. Even if it is "The Commuting Students Society" for people who have a commute into campus.

lainiekazan Thu 03-Oct-13 11:35:59

The problem with changing course/taking a gap year and going somewhere else is that the same thing could happen again. You can't guarantee that you'll immediately fall in with brilliant like-minded party animal friends. You may go to that very university where all your friends swore they were having the best time of their lives, and when you get there, in the very same hall, the same corridor even, things just aren't quite what you hoped.

Of course, if OP's dd is seriously unhappy then it may be time to reassess, but I'd give it a term, and a bit more effort, before calling it a day.

Doyouthinktheysaurus Thu 03-Oct-13 11:37:42

I was unhappy the first few weeks at Uni and even went home at one point in the wee small hours......my mum sent me back with a flea in my earhmm Whilst I wouldn't t necessarily advocate the lack of empathy approach my mum had, she did the right thing. She told me I'd made my choice, I needed to give it a go and make things better for myself.

I did go back, had a piss up of a first year and left in my second year having decide de the degree wasn't for me. I changed direction and now have a very successful career as a nurse? And I still live in my Uni town.

I know it will break my heart if my dses are ever in this situation but.....your dd did make her choice, now she has to make the best of it, no one can do it for her! She is an adult now and I honestly think she needs to deal with this one her own. Be there to support her but don't do too much for her.

Tbh I do think your dh's approach probably has some merit to itblush

lainiekazan Thu 03-Oct-13 11:39:34

Dh's niece had a similar experience. First hall was all full of 3rd years, second hall no good, etc etc. She kept going home, and then taking weeks off sick etc etc.

Finally sil made her (ok, a bit of helicoptering here) join the fencing society. She was rubbish at it but met future dh!

amumthatcares Thu 03-Oct-13 11:42:10

Wow, thank you all so much. I actually feel a lot happier myself which I hope I will project onto my DD when I go home to take her to the train station. I have just spoken to her on the phone. She is feeling better physically which I am sure will help but I have suggested how hard it must be for the international students and for her to be the 'strong' one, go back and arrange a gathering of housemates for maybe a chinese takeaway and play cards etc., as someone suggested. Also, for her to arrive at lectures 10/15 minutes earlier and stand and chat to people and then hopefully she will go in and sit with these people and possibly coffee after? Also suggested she take another look at the societies wink

Thank you all for taking the time to respond and timid thank you for being kind enough to speak with your DD's bf thanks

Spottybra Thu 03-Oct-13 11:42:28

Is there a student union on campus? They usually have a bar. That's where I made all my friends between lectures. If she makes her way there she may actually see people from her course in there too. The library is an alternative place to go.

figroll Thu 03-Oct-13 11:43:13

When I went to university a very long time ago, I begged my parents to find me another university to go to in my home town as I was desperately unhappy. Rather stupidly they did this and then came to pick me up to take me home (before mobiles so I didn't know they were coming). I was absolutely horrified apparently. It was around 3 or 4 weeks into term and I had settled in whilst they were busy sorting out universities and I didn't want to go by that point. Children are so fickle!

IceCreamForCrow Thu 03-Oct-13 11:47:13

Figrollgrin That sounds like the Camp Granada song.

juneau Thu 03-Oct-13 11:50:56

Please urge her to stay on campus between lectures. The Student Union was like my second home when I was a student, also the library coffee bar. Just hanging around, making an effort to chat to people even if she only vaguely recognises them, can be the start of friendships - or not - but going back to her flat and sitting on her own is not going to make her any friends.

Starting uni is a whole new, and rather scary, experience. I was put in halls to start with and I flipping hated it for exactly the opposite reasons your DD you would probably like it. I'd already been away from home for seven years (at boarding school), plus I'd taken a year out, so I was not only older than everyone else, but I wasn't even remotely homesick. I'd even worked abroad for six months before starting uni and all these younger kids crying and getting roaring drunk every night because it was the first time they'd been away from home was hell. I found my niche though via the student union and moving into a flat share. There is a niche for everyone - but she's going to have to find it.

figroll Thu 03-Oct-13 11:51:30

We laugh about it now, but my dad was furious!

Wallison Thu 03-Oct-13 11:53:15

I would agree with suggestions to get a bar job, preferably at the SU. Bar work is incredibly sociable (everyone wants to know the barstaff) and also good fun. It's a great way to meet people, and it's nice to have a place to go to; nobody bats an eyelid at bar staff popping into where they work for a drink on their own.

Also, unis in big cities have a different sort of intake to others because there are so many people there that are already settled with their own lives and they don't need to do all the Freshers' bollocks. This can make it difficult at first but if your daughter does the things suggested (going to the SU/café after lectures, joining clubs, even just going to the library) then she will meet people, and meet a much wider range of people than she would do at a uni that is just full of 18 year olds. It's kind of a slower burn, socially speaking, but it makes for a much richer social life when she does start talking to people and they introduce her to their own friendship groups because those groups will not just be other students.

EldritchCleavage Thu 03-Oct-13 11:55:49

Well, she will ultimately need to sort this out herself. Take a step back. She sounds as though she is being a bit drippy and I truly sympathise, because I was too.

When I had a terrible time in my first term at Uni, my father told me not to ring home more than once a week and said that I couldn't come home until Christmas. Hard, but it worked. Instead of running to my parents all the time as i had been doing, I had to make a go of it.

As others have said, your DD has to hang out on campus-cafe, library etc, not travel home between lectures. Invite someone for coffee after the lecture. Cook a meal with her housemates. Join things. She should also bear in mind her student union-they can offer very good support in these situations, I know mine did.

Wallison Thu 03-Oct-13 12:06:34

I can understand how she feels though - I didn't get into halls when I went to uni and it seemed that everyone else was having this tremendously fun typical student experience and I was missing out. A couple of weeks later, sitting enjoying a civilised Saturday afternoon pint or three with a bunch of jobbing actors/musicians/boho artist types who all seemed madly sophisticated to provincial small-town me. One of my new friends, already socially established in the city, introduced me to them, and I can remember thinking to myself "Actually, this is miles better than being around a bunch of teenagers who nick each other's food". So her student experience may be different because she isn't in halls, but it really doesn't need to be boring. She only needs to talk to one or two people, and that gets the ball rolling.

ExcuseTypos Thu 03-Oct-13 12:08:21

My dd just started uni last week.

I think people are being a bit harsh, yes your dd needs to do a bit more- join a society, chat to people in lectures etc BUT I think the fact she's miles away form the uni, during the first year makes things much, much harder for her.

Please get her to phone the accommodation officer today. I'm sure if she explains how awful she is finding it, they will do their upmost to help her. She should be nearer the uni or in a house with some girls at the very least.

My dd is on campus in accommodation, she sharing with all international students, (only 1 girl)and she has hardly spoken to several of them, including the girl.
She has tried lots and lots to engage them, invited them to cook or eat with her, put notes under their doors, but everything is met negatively.

Dd has lots of male friends but needs some female company, so has made friends with girls in other flats. If she hadn't been able to do this, she would have been very unhappy. So I do understand where you're coming from OP.

ExcuseTypos Thu 03-Oct-13 12:09:56

Sorry, I thought there was only one page so have x posted with everyoneblush

AmandaPandtheNightmareMonsters Thu 03-Oct-13 12:21:37

You have had loads of good advice, but I'll add a bit anyway.

I had a similar start at uni. Though my experience was of a crazy party hall where I didn't fit in. I met no one I got along with and felt very isolated. Considered dropping out.

Moving halls was a big turning point for me. I met people I could rub along with for the rest of the year. But I have to say, I didn't really find my feet until year two. Which was when I met most of my life long friends. Some of whom were the year below me. It really isn't like school where you don't fraternise with the year below- many of them are probably older than you with gap years, etc.

I agree that she needs to think about whether she wants to move accommodation. There are always no-shows and drop outs so places do come free. Also look into whether university hall places are every available to second years (it may require being on the hall committee in some form, but that's good for the CV!) because knowing she has a fall back of somewhere to live next year will take some pressure off. At my uni, at least a dozen places each year went to non-international second years per hall, who all arrived a day early and bonded.

Also, do look into clubs and societies. It is how you meet people, even if you drop the club later. I'd think about things which tend to have a social scene. Taking up a new sport - like a martial art, or trampolining - which many will not have done before is good. There is bonding over being crap, and often drinks afterwards.

I agree she needs to get to lectures early and hang out outside chatting to people. Get her to try to remember that that close knit group she can see outside have probably known each other 10 days. They aren't really close knit. They are just clinging to the people they recognise. On her course, as work comes in try to get her to talk to people about it. There are often group projects early on, but if not you can always strike up a conversation about something.

In her flat, I agree about setting up something social. Also, how are her two male flatmates getting on? What are they up to? Who are they socialising with? Maybe she can tag along. There is a lot of 'fake it to make it' in Uni.

wordfactory Thu 03-Oct-13 12:29:10

Also worth finding out if there's a gym on campus.

If there is there are often lunchtime keep fit activities. They're a nice way to meet others.

Bonsoir Thu 03-Oct-13 12:34:46

My DSS1 is an overseas student. He has met some absolutely lovely English boys on a course who are helping him cope with his homesickness (they threw him a surprise flat party on Sunday night with Domino's pizza and French flags they had drawn on A4 sheets and pinned to the walls).

Maybe the OP's DD could try reaching out to the international students rather than rejecting them?

Bonsoir Thu 03-Oct-13 12:35:06

on his course

EldritchCleavage Thu 03-Oct-13 13:08:18

I agree with Bonsoir-some of my best Uni friends were overseas students on my course.

OBface Thu 03-Oct-13 13:22:55

To be fair to the OP DD I think it can be harder to bond with international students from my experience at uni (not that long ago). I seem to remember they very much formed friendships with other people from their culture and didn't necessarily want to do the same things as a home grown student (largely having paid a lot more for their course and not wanting to piss it up a wall!).

I think the best option would be to try and secure a move to halls even if it can't happen immediately. There must be a waiting list of some kind?

Bonsoir Thu 03-Oct-13 13:26:03

University ought to about broadening your horizons... not about meeting a whole bunch of people who you understand perfectly from the word go because you have everything in common.

ExcuseTypos Thu 03-Oct-13 13:32:27

I agree with that Bonsoir, but I also agree with OBface. As I've said up thread my dd has tried for 2 and 1/2 weeks to engage with some of her flatmates- invites to lunch, supper, going out for a walk, going for a drink, invites to watch films etc etc etc. They do not want to know. The will barely speak to her.
2 other oversees students in her flat have become very good friends already, so it is a very individual thing.

However the OPs dd may be hitting her head against a brick wall.

amumthatcares Thu 03-Oct-13 13:33:04

Totally agree Bonsoir but also agree with OBface - it takes two willing sides and that is not always the case.

amumthatcares Thu 03-Oct-13 13:34:23

Excuse that was scary. Thought your post was mine when I started reading! haha

ExcuseTypos Thu 03-Oct-13 13:48:01

Great mindswink

Alibabaandthe40nappies Thu 03-Oct-13 14:04:48

OP what about the people who she met over the summer who live in this city - Brighton isn't it? - where are they?

Not that I would really advise her forming a social life outside the university, because that will only make her feel more divorced from the people around her when she goes to lectures etc.

ajandjjmum Thu 03-Oct-13 14:07:38

If it's any consolation amumthatcares, DS and his GF (who happened to go to the same uni), both said that it was not the non-stop fun they had expected, and it took some time to settle into their groups. They made a point of not seeing each other for the first couple of weeks, to try and establish some new friendships. Having graduated this year, they both have made good friends through sports clubs, their courses and accommodation.

The first few weeks were very hard though - and they were both conscious of their friends posting about having such fun on FB - although they thought some people were just saying it, because it's the thing to do!

Fingers crossed things pick up for your DD.

bigbrick Thu 03-Oct-13 14:08:32

She could go along to the social support at her uni and explain how she feels and see what they can do to help. Joining a society and doing a team sport and volunteer work are good ways to meet others.

lainiekazan Thu 03-Oct-13 15:04:01

Bonsoir, your dss is French and on his own.

Some students have no interest in making friends. I read something about Chinese students sapping the life out of some universities if they are there in great numbers because they don't want to mix or engage in any extra-curricular activities. I'm sure there are some who are joiners, but if they are among many peers who feel that socialising/spending time on clubs etc is time wasted (and to be fair, they are spending a shedload on their course and accommodation) then they won't break out.

Actually, on my course there were quite a few mature students. We all hated them! Being very childish all we saw were creeps who sat at the front of lecture theatres and didn't fraternise much. Some years later I did a post-grad course and whaddaya know, I was there down at the front. [Education wasted on the young, and all that...]

GrendelsMum Thu 03-Oct-13 15:18:58

When I was on my gap year, a couple of older students gave me the best advice I've ever had.

They told me that the whole first term of University is probably going to be pretty grim - you're on your own, surrounded by strangers, struggling with work, and you've just got to get through that term and get through to a point when you have friends and a reasonable chance of managing things.

So when I arrived at University and the first term wasn't utterly grim throughout, I was relieved more than anything else! (second term was grim, but that was another matter...)

hermioneweasley Thu 03-Oct-13 15:22:32

I was horribly home sick my first term at uni, and like your DD I had lots of reasons why I wasn't happy. She just needs to power through it, and you need to step away. I called my mother every couple of days in tears wanting to come home and she told me she would just take me back. It must have been so hard for her, but you need so show some tough love.

She does not need to come home for colds/flu. You can post her some lemsip if you are really concerned. You need to step away and let her build her own life.

Pinkpinot Thu 03-Oct-13 16:06:15

My sister went to a Uni that didn't have halls of residence
She knew no-one, her first home was as a lodger in a crappy little room, my parents cried when they saw it. I think she moved 5 times in the first year
I honestly can't believe there is talk about starting again next year.
It's only a couple of weeks, she will make friends, it will happen. There will be other people in her situation

Could she get a job in the bar maybe.
Fwiw, I cried for my first 3 days in halls and I was 22. It is daunting but you do get through it

UptheChimney Thu 03-Oct-13 16:09:10

I think I might have wondered out loud on your original thread about her maturity and suitability for university at this point in her life.

Gap year. Or two. Or maybe she never goes to university. It really isn't the end of the world.

UptheChimney Thu 03-Oct-13 16:17:26

And also, a 5 hour break between scheduled classes is perfect for going to the gym, joining a society, hanging around with new people she's met (meet them in tutorials or in a club/society) and going to the library That last is what she'll need to be doing soon enough!

But if she stays, she really needs to grow up by taking responsibility for herself, and perhaps starting to realise there is more to life than "going out clubbing." Which seems a pretty shallow way of life, and certainly not a great for choosing a university ...

I made friends for life in a couple of clubs I belonged to, and indeed some of the skills and experience I got in extra-curricular stuff got me my first job.

And you really need to back off. Sorry to be harsh, because you seem to be very caring, but frankly, I'm not sure it's helping. It seems only to encourage her feeling that she's been hard done by, when from what you've said here, every decision has been hers

MABS Thu 03-Oct-13 17:12:47

really feel for you, but think the advice has been great smile

fussychica Thu 03-Oct-13 17:23:03

Coming home just because you have a cold/flu isn't really the answer. If she was at a place at the other end of the country she wouldn't be able to come home like this. My DS was hospitalised for half the first term in a town 5 hours away - we went to stay with him for a few days but couldn't be there the whole time. He had to cope alone for much of the time. It was hard but he made it through. He is now stuck in the middle of nowhere in France for his year abroad - I know it's not going great so far (think whole weekends alone not one night) but it's early days so it should improve and hopefully he has become resilient enough to cope.

What I'm really saying is what many other posters have said - it's probably time to back off a bit however hard that might be for both of you. Let her grow.

MABS Thu 03-Oct-13 17:47:36

Is it brighton? Can I meet her for a coffee? Pm me if I can do anything at all

amumthatcares Thu 03-Oct-13 17:56:31

MABS you are right, the advice has been brilliant and I can't thank everyone enough.

I know coming home because of flu seems pretty lame, but she was at such a low ebb anyway, with her situation, she just felt she needed some comfort and support. She said she was coming home and she made the journey herself by train. We didn't suggest it, nor did we offer to collect her.

Upthe you are so right, it has all been her decision, despite all of the concerns we raised with her, she still insisted on going there and you can't even begin to imagine the number of times I have wanted to shout at her the things my DH did, but I didn't think the 'I told you so' approach would help her or the situation now. I obviously come across as too involved (and maybe I am, I don't honestly know, I only know I try to do my best) but believe it or not, I don't actually try to 'rescue' her everytime she tumbles, I just offer what I consider to be constructive advice when she asks me for it.

On a brighter note, she has gone back much more positive. She looked again at the societies and did indeed find one that she very much liked the look of. She is going to register to join when she gets back....let's hope the is the start of turning the corner smile

YouHaveAGoodPoint Thu 03-Oct-13 18:03:52

A someone who has moved numerous times I find that it helps to be really straight with other people. I would suggest your DD tells anyone she thinks may be potential friend material that she hasn't met many friends yet. I literally used to say something like Hi, I am new and I have come here to try and make some friends I found people to be very receptive.
Perhaps your DD could try being a bit more upfront about her situation with her classmates?

Coffeenowplease Thu 03-Oct-13 18:07:51

What city is she in ? I might be local I live in a uni town.

Pinkpinot Thu 03-Oct-13 18:39:41

Come back in a month and tell us how she's getting on. I bet she will be having a great time!

UptheChimney Thu 03-Oct-13 19:02:39

Let's hope so!

thinkofthemoney Thu 03-Oct-13 21:23:02

This happened to me, I was in a flat with people I just didn't gel with. All my mates from home were having the time of their lives. I was miserable.
I cried to my mum every night, seriously looked into moving universities.
lThis is what I did;
Camped out in the housing office until they moved me.
Made friends on my course, who I moved in with the following year. 20 years later they are my closest friends, were my bridesmaids, we are godparents to each others children.
Joined the netball club and actively participated in the socials.

It won't be the end of the world at all if she drops out and goes somewhere else next year. I know loads of people who did that and were happier for it.
Good luck!

2rebecca Thu 03-Oct-13 23:40:05

If this was the course and city she wanted to do though I don't see any reason to drop out. All that has happened is that she hasn't made many friends yet. If she comes home I presume most of her friends will be away at college so she'll be no better off and not have her studying and a wide range of societies to join.
I don't see that anything that awful has happened yet, just her accomodation not being on campus which she knew was a possibility.
Fair enough drop out if you do a term or so of your course and hate it, but not just because you haven't made friends after a week or 2 of being there and not making much of an effort to join stuff and hang about.

MABS Fri 04-Oct-13 13:30:02

I know I shouldn't post this, but need to as sure you will understand sad Please God don't let anyone of you know the child.. DD just rang me, terribly distressed, a girl in her accom block collapsed and died in front of them this am. Paramedics did CPR but no use, that poor poor family . I just want to get on a plane to go to hug her, as does dh.

RatherBeOnThePiste Fri 04-Oct-13 13:44:55

Oh lovely MABS, how tragic, devastating, that poor poor girl and her family, and your daughter and the others, how frightening and shocking. My heart goes out to them, will be thinking of them all. Will you go up this w/e?


ExcuseTypos Fri 04-Oct-13 13:54:19

sad how awful for everyone involved.

Her poor, poor familysad

MABS Fri 04-Oct-13 14:13:44

I know, her poor family, it just beyond comprehension. Dd's mate is flying up this evening anyway for w/e so think best we don't really.

AmandaPayneVersusThePainballer Fri 04-Oct-13 14:26:58

Oh MABS. This happened at my uni early in the first term. Well, not in front of us. A fresher died of meningitis. It was very frightening, especially since we were all hauled into a meeting about symptoms and looking out for one another.

The young have a feeling of being indestructible, so things like this tend to be a particularly massive shock. Even if she didn't know the girl well, it might take quite a while for your DD to process it. It is especially hard when surrounded by people you don't know well either, so it's good for your DD that she has someone with her.

That poor, poor family. Imagine waving your daughter off on her new adventure and then this. I'm actually quite teary thinking about it.

amumthatcares Fri 04-Oct-13 14:41:16

Oh no!! So, so sad sad Big hugs to your DD MABS and all of her friends. That poor family. Truly heartbreaking. As Amanda says, you send them of on a new and exciting chapter in their lives, never imagining for one moment that something like this could happen.

An old school friend made a FB appeal on Tuesday as her DS hadn't come home the night before and she couldn't get him on his phone. At the same time a local news story was given out about the discovery of a body and it turned out to be her son sad

It certainly puts life into perspective and makes you count every blessing!

ExcuseTypos Fri 04-Oct-13 14:51:28

Oh no, I can't bear all this talk of children dying.

My dd lost her best friend 2 years ago, she was killed by a speeding driver. The last 2 years have been truly horrific for dd.

I know I sound so utterly selfish, but if anything like this happens at DDs uni she just couldn't cope with it.

I feel so, so sorry for the familes of these poor children and all their friends.

fussychica Fri 04-Oct-13 15:09:59

How awful. I don't know how you cope with that.

Thank heavens our DS pulled through despite a misdiagnosis. I don't think I would have had the will to carry on if he hadn't especially as I'd recently lost my dad when it happened.sad My heart goes out to them.
Hope your dd is ok MABS.

creamteas Fri 04-Oct-13 16:15:17

MABS This is a terrible situation, but please be reassured that the university almost certainly has a contingency plan to support students on campus, and the family, through this time.

MABS Fri 04-Oct-13 17:06:47

Thanks Creamteas, I think the uni are being very good dd says. How terrible Amandapayne, must have been dreadful.

One of dd's best friends killed himself last Dec, was truly horrific, I don't want her to regress coz she has done so well to get over. Terrible to say I know, selfish when there are those poor parents today sad

RatherBeOnThePiste Fri 04-Oct-13 17:21:54

One of my daughter's friends has just died from the bastard what is cancer. He was 16, and her first boyfriend. Boyfriend as such, they went for a milk shake in Year 7 a few times. Bless them. The enormity of it is shocking everyone, like you say, they feel they are invincible, and the realisation that that was his life and it is over, the grief, shock and anger. Just so sad.

Have been thinking of her and her family all afternoon sad

Have you heard again from your DD MABS? Glad her friend is going up. Xx

RatherBeOnThePiste Fri 04-Oct-13 17:23:26

The university will be prepared and ready to support the students, I have every confidence.

ancientandmodern Sat 05-Oct-13 09:40:54

MABS so sorry to hear of that young girl's death and feel so much for her family and fellow students....One interesting point is the reaction of posters who I think have direct university responsibilities and who, quite rightly, say there will be support on hand. Big change from when I was at uni, came out of Finals and discovered a very twitchy looking lecturer waiting who then,in front of everyone else and on the pavement outside the exam halls, proceeded to tell one of the students that her father had died of a heart attack that morning. I can still see her shocked face and hear her howling --absolutely terrible thing to happen, of course, but made so much worse by inept lecturer.
Obviously things have changed, in that unis now understand more about support, and so I think also true that we as parents are more alive to the kinds of help our student children need.

PicardyThird Sat 05-Oct-13 10:03:40

We had a fresher die of SADS when I was in my second year. It was a dreadful shock to all, especially her fellow freshers, but indeed there was support for all who needed it - and that was <counts> 17 years ago, so I expect things will be even better prepared now in that regard.
So sorry, what a shock for your dd.

UptheChimney Sat 05-Oct-13 10:36:30

Yes, there are now very good systems in place for support. And let's hope that students use them ...

But I think talking about an "inept lecturer" is a bit harsh. A) he's only human, and it's tough telling someone that their father has died; and B) there's a point about telling someone as soon as possible about such awful news.

Ideally in private, yes, that was an error but should the news have been kept from her too long? Obviously let her get on with her exam, but I think I'd want to know as soon as possible.

Look, the thing is that lecturers rarely get the sort of support for dealing with all the stuff that we have to deal with. I doubt that lecturer had any support: he may have been trying to do his best in difficult circumstances, without advice or support. That is not unusual, still unfortunately. University teaching staff certainly don't get the kind of support that students get for our own disabilities or mental & physical health crises, in my experience. I'm not asking for sympathy about that: we're grown ups. We cope, because actually, we're extraordinarily good at coping with highly stressful lives. But we are also as human as the rest of you!

MABS Sat 05-Oct-13 11:23:41

been talking to dd from 2.30 am - 4am this morning, she in helluva state sad dh itching to get in car and make long drive..

ancientandmodern Sat 05-Oct-13 12:46:43

MABS I would be with your DH and go. My MIL, who was much loved by all the family died at 97 (so not big surprise, but unexpected IYSWIM). DD1, who is highly organised, very level headed, had fantastic and supportive group of friends at uni, was actually at a sports training week she'd help to organise. After a couple of phone calls when she said she was sad but OK, we ended up driving to see her, waiting till a break in training and sitting in the car with her eating (or trying to eat) sandwiches and just talking for an hour. She really needed those friendly faces.....appreciate not as far to go, but I wouldn't hold back if the journey is doable.

MABS Sat 05-Oct-13 15:37:23

Dd will be on a plane home at 7pm tonight, flying back to Newcastle 7am Monday morning. all arranged smile

ajandjjmum Sat 05-Oct-13 17:19:06

I hope you have a good day together with DD and your family tomorrow MABS - bet you're all looking forward to some big hugs.

MABS Sat 05-Oct-13 18:00:10

thanks girls smile

MABS Sun 06-Oct-13 10:42:48

Well, picked up dd from Lhr late last night and pleasantly surprised! quite bright and talked openly about the poor girl and what happened. She said what was upsetting her as much as what she saw is the constant police presence everywhere in the accom block. Has been chatting lots, shopping in a moment sad then out for sunday lunch. She flies back 7am tomorrow but she, and I am far happier and relieved now. thanks so much for all your kind words girls.

ajandjjmum Mon 07-Oct-13 13:04:37

Hope your DD is safely back at uni now - I'm sure some time back with her family will have given her a boost to cope.

MABS Mon 07-Oct-13 16:57:25

am struggling today, but she went off very bright smile could have done without a 4 hour delay on her flight back due to fog...

RatherBeOnThePiste Mon 07-Oct-13 19:48:56

Bless her, you heard from her since she got back?

RatherBeOnThePiste Mon 07-Oct-13 19:51:21

amumthatcares - How is your DD today?

MABS Mon 07-Oct-13 20:25:52

Dd is fine! Out tonight smile yes, mumwhocares,how is she? X

Thants Mon 07-Oct-13 20:36:41

I was in the exact situation that your daughter is in when I started uni 6 years ago. I was so unhappy and was bullied by a housemate which made things even worse.
I think there are ways to improve things for her. I would say join societies even if she's not that interested just as a way to meet people. Invite her flat mates for a coffee etc, once they get to know each other better they might get on!
I do think it is important to remember however that if things do not improve that leaving is always an option. I felt completely trapped and it left me with an anxiety disorder which I still suffer with. If she starts to become very depressed it is not worth risking her health staying there! I wish I had felt like I had more of a choice to leave when I was desperately unhappy. It affected my work too meaning I did no where near as well as I could have.
Uni's all have counselling too for free which I would recommend.

BlackMogul Mon 07-Oct-13 23:16:12

I think what is a mistake is to go into a small house in the first year. It makes it way more difficult to meet friends and a hall is a lot better. I am going to disagree with a lot of posters here because if the international students are from China, there is a very strong possibility your DD may not even see them. There are different cultures and they will have their own society. It's what people do when they are in a foreign country and there is nothing wrong with it. There are social undercurrents regarding university accommodation and people do like to be with like minded students. This is where choosing the right Uni and hall come into play. I disagree with the "everyone will want to be your friend" picture painted by many here because reality is something different as it totally depends on the social chemistry between you and your friends. That is the glue which binds you into a friendship. My DCs are unlikely, as they say, to be big buddies with "some random." Not PC but that's how it is.

amumthatcares Tue 08-Oct-13 13:21:49

Gladto hear you DD is feeling better MABS smile

My DD is plodding on, thank you peeps for asking smile. She did apply to join a society that captured her interest when she went back last week, but she has heard nothing back confused so she is going to try again. She had friends down this weekend and so was busy/happy, but it's obviously not the answer. She and one of the lads she house shares with have made a pact to do things together ie., visit the campus bar etc., in a bid to meet people as he is finding it difficult to meet people too. I think it mostly stems from being off campus and having to make that much more effort than those being 'thrown together' in halls. Sadly Black she didn't have the option of going into halls sad and I do agree with your term of phrase 'social chemistry' - really what I meant when I put 'like minded people' -though I think she is craving female company more than anything at the moment.

Only one of the international students moved in last week in the end and so at the moment she is sharing with 3 boys (still one room vaccant). When the uni housing office mailed her back last week they did say they tried to balance the male/female ratio and would try to get another girl in there....here's hoping.

UptheChimney Tue 08-Oct-13 13:45:12

Well, I guess she's learning about the consequences of her decisions. It's not as if she didn't know that her housing off-campus would be a likely consequence of switching her university choice in Clearing. Silver linings and all that ...

amumthatcares Tue 08-Oct-13 13:53:24

Very true UptheChimney but I imagine she thought that she would be sharing with at least one other girl that she could join forces with to meet other girls. This is probably worst case scenario for her, but hey-ho, as you say, her decision, her consequences.

UptheChimney Tue 08-Oct-13 14:22:48

She probably needs to look at other ways to meet new friends -- as suggested upthread, in her tutorials, through clubs & societies. You said her "hobby" is clubbing. One university I worked at did indeed have a [night]Clubbing Club!! Pretty vapid IMO -- I think that university is a place to learn all sorts of new stuff not just go out to nightclubs and drink -- some really exciting activities, such as polo & skiiing & caving & hill walking are subsidised at my place, so very cheap & an opportunity she's unlikely to get again.

BlackMogul Thu 10-Oct-13 01:31:11

Up the......do you mean Polo with real ponies is subsidised!!!!???? Really? What an amazing waste of public money. Bet that packs in the boys from Eton. How cheap is the Polo by the way?

BlackMogul Thu 10-Oct-13 01:35:32

Actually OP, I did forget to say that halls get vacancies because students drop out. Forget this meet people in pot holing club stuff, a clubbing girl wants like minded mates on a Monday night when the university students descend on the clubs. Get her to go to the accommodation office right now and see if they can find a room that has been vacated. Alternatively, go find those Polo boys!!!!

Twiddlebum Thu 10-Oct-13 02:19:56

A lot of people drop out of uni so places in halls become available. See if she can move into one

amumthatcares Thu 10-Oct-13 08:28:48

Haha Black that made me smile. Not sure she would have much in common with those Polo playing boys wink and a clubbing girl wants like minded mates on a Monday night when the university students descend on the clubs absolutely!!

She did email the housing office and they said the only chance she has got of moving is a swap...apparently they still have 100 students unhoused (though there had been an empty room in DD's house since she moved in on 14th September confused)

amumthatcares Thu 10-Oct-13 08:29:51

though there *has been an empty room

LaVolcan Thu 10-Oct-13 09:26:46

There must be a student notice board somewhere. Could you get her to put a notice up saying accommodation swap required? My niece hated being in halls and would have jumped at the chance of a swap for a quiet house off campus.

ajandjjmum Thu 10-Oct-13 11:56:41

I honestly think she would be better going to the accommodation office - people are going to try and help more when they can see someone has put the extra effort in to getting the situation resolved, rather than relying on an anonymous email.

She could also tell them about the spare room in her house - get the numbers down to 99!

I feel for you though - although it's a situation partly of her own making, I know I always worry about mine if they're not happy. According to my Mum, it never stops! grin

PenguinsDontEatPancakes Thu 10-Oct-13 12:26:41

I agree. She needs to get off the email. Email is impersonal and it is very easy, as a busy person in a busy job, to respond in an impersonal way.

She needs to be standing in front of them, showing how upset she is, making them think about whether there is anything extra she can do.

PenguinsDontEatPancakes Thu 10-Oct-13 12:27:11

*they can do.

MABS Thu 10-Oct-13 17:02:41

I agree, go in face to face and talk smile

ajandjjmum Sun 13-Oct-13 08:13:49

How's she doing MABS? And you?!! smile

MABS Sun 13-Oct-13 09:51:55

Thanks for asking, she really is fine, very happy and settled there again, pretty sure she telling truth! we off to Oz on wed so she needs to be fine is you see what i mean!!??

ajandjjmum Sun 13-Oct-13 10:36:04


Just returned from my first visit to Oz - loved it! Hope you have a great time.

MABS Sun 13-Oct-13 11:49:32

great AJ, where were you? I have been couple times now smile

ajandjjmum Sun 13-Oct-13 12:37:39

We spent some time in Sydney (DH's sister lives near there), and we went up to Port Douglas for a week and Uluru for a couple of days. Realised just how much more there is to see - might have to start thinking about another visit in a few years!

Where are you off to?

MABS Sun 13-Oct-13 12:53:04

nice smile we have friends in Gold coast so there, Byron Bay and few days Sydney..

ajandjjmum Sun 13-Oct-13 16:59:30

It'll be brilliant - have fun!

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