First child off to Uni

(98 Posts)
duracellbatterybunny Thu 16-Aug-12 23:32:55

Can anyone tell me how to cope with our first daughter going off to University. Really proud of her achievments etc, want her to go and know she is ready, able to take care of herself, but am dreading it. We have a 15 year old daughter and I feel so sorry for her being left with me and DH. Sorry if I sound so self pitying, but I feel in a panic. What should I be doing now, what does she need?

I remember the feeling so well! And am about to go through it again with DD2 who aced her A levels today and is off in September.

What does she need? Not a lot actually! We went buying loads of stuff (crockery, iron etc) and it usually turns out all the students have the same and not so much is needed.. loads of cutlery and crockery is tho.. they lose it quickly!

What do you DO? make sure she replies to her accommodation offer, pay anything needed and just be there to support her.

I felt bereft when DD1 went.. even tho I was so excited for her. She was homesick and I was DD1 sick, and it took most of the first year to go away. Now DD2 is going and I feel even worse sad because she has been my companion all year ..dh works away, DS1 works and is rarely around and Ds2 is autistic and lives in his own world.. I'm DREADING being left.

BUT I will be pasting on a huge smile, and taking her and all her gear and then sobbing all the way home..again.... and hitting the wine...again grin

Because I KNOW I am going to be a mess when DD1 goes back (3rd year med student) and when DD2 goes (nursing) I am putting in a programme for myself.. new hobbies.. loads of books to read...

BTW congrats to your daughter. It is a scary but fabulous thing to see them go off to University.. a massive achievement ..we have done our jobs!!!

No advice but I do feel for you. sad Medusa. However much people tell you you've done your job and they have to fly the nest I am dreading the day.
DS1 is just starting 6th form and I feel like I have only two years left.
We have just had one of the best ever family holidays and DS2 said it won't be the same when there are only the three of us.

fussychica Fri 17-Aug-12 12:26:00

First congrats to your DD and to you for having helped her get there. You too Medusa.

I was in this situation last year, having only just moved back to the UK and only DS going straight off to Uni. Unfortunately, he landed up in hospital with a collapsed lung during freshers week (nothing to do with freshers week I might add!) and had to have a major op - went back to Uni mid term and got along fine. I was ok when he left - thought I'd cry but I didn't as I was happy to see him fit straight in with his flatmates, even before we left. After he went back post op I was probably more worried than I would have liked but he rang us almost everyday for a while as he didn't want us to worry. I just felt so sorry for him missing out on what should have been a fantastic time and making friends. I need not have worried - everyone in his flat was very supportive and he loves Uni. He is going back a bit early this year to redo freshers!!!

What should you be doing - as medusa said helping her get stuff together - don't buy expensive stuff - it will likely get lost, broken, spoilt! Don't buy stuff that the halls provide only what you need. Make sure all the admin stuff is done - bank accounts opened, insurance sorted, if not provided by uni etc.

As DS is my one & only DC it was hard but it does get better, I promise.
Good luck!

duracellbatterybunny Fri 17-Aug-12 15:08:38

I feel so much better after reading your lovely positive comments and advice. It's so reassuring to know how other MNers have managed. Really like the idea of a 'programme' for me, keeping busy, and plenty of wine Medusa!!

Fussychica, hope your DS is fine now and enjoys every bit of Freshers.

Thank you all for the congratulations too!!

ImperialBlether Sat 18-Aug-12 09:48:26

Congratulations to your daughter, OP. About crockery etc, buy cheap. Expect to replenish crockery, cutlery and pans every year. Towels will mysteriously change colour, either because they've been washed with the wrong things, at the wrong temperature or sometimes because they've been exchanged without them realising. How, I don't know. Buy dark towels and don't expect to see them again!

ImperialBlether Sat 18-Aug-12 09:49:46

It would be a great incentive for your 15 year old if she could go up and stay for a weekend - it wouldn't be a good idea in the first few months, but after that it would be great as it would help motivate her to go away.

RustyBear Sat 18-Aug-12 09:59:31

I was feeling like you six years ago and I started this thread - it keeps getting revived and has a lot of good advice in it!

If it's any consolation, both my two came back to live here after university and are only now earning enough to move out - DD goes in a couple of weeks and DS is looking for a place. I will miss them, but I'm glad they have managed to gain their independence.

Follyfoot Sat 18-Aug-12 10:09:19

Big well done to your DD.

We were in this position last year smile There isnt much to actually do. If anyone posts a long list of things they must take with them, my advice would be to ignore it. Halls will have most of the stuff they need. My DD made FB friends in advance with people living in her block. She found this great in terms of staving off the nerves as they wouldnt be complete strangers, but also discussing things to bring with her flatmates. Insurance was included in her rent so I guess it might be worth finding out whether that is the case for you too.

Maybe get together a box of basic foodstuffs and cleaning materials? And the only essential I would say is a lovely mattress topper. DDs bed had a hard mattress encased in a plastic cover hmm so that was a real life saver.

As for you, you will be fine (but am sure you know that anyway). DD and I both had a bit of a sob when I left her. I remember her saying 'what will I say to them Mum?' as she was about to walk back into the flat. I gave her a bag of mini Twirls (not that this is embedded in the memory or anything grin ) and suggested she offered them round as a bit of an icebreaker. I sat in the car for a few minutes fiddling with the satnav, worrying that she would be sad....a few seconds later she walked past me with the lads from her flat. Huge smiles on all their faces as they set off to explore. She has absolutely loved the first year (staying up there to work for the summer too).

All the best.

duracellbatterybunny Sat 18-Aug-12 21:42:53

Things are beginning to feel a bit better today, think I'm beginning to get over the shock!! Thanks for your great ideas, will shop next week for some muddy coloured towels and a mattress topper.

Really like the idea of 15yr old DD going to see big sister for the day, that would be a great incentive for being stuck with her oldie parents.

Motherhood can sometimes knock you in the back of the knees I feel. When did they grow up so quickly?

Tressy Sun 19-Aug-12 13:01:32

My one and only DD is off to uni next month. I am a single parent and it's been just her and me for 18 years so a massive change for both of us. She has spent a few weeks away this summer so we know how it feels. Her uni is a long way from home and I won't see her until Christmas hols sad.

fussychica Sun 19-Aug-12 16:55:16

Thanks *duracel - he's fine now but does worry whenever he feels unwell which isn't good!

Tressy my son is 4.5 hours away by car & more than 5 by train so only main hols at home - no weekends. It sounds like it's going to be hard for you both as you have a special bond. It will be all the more special when you do get back together at Christmas.

SauvignonBlank Sun 19-Aug-12 22:23:14

Our DD off in Sept too ! She's having our older towels, bedding etc, we are having new, but she is happy with that. We spent all my Boots points today on a load of toiletries, then we stocked up on some stationery at Wilkos. She's going to do a Nat West bank account as they have the best free over draft which apparently out weighs any freebies the others might offer (but free rail card too). Just need to get handle on what we can best afford to top up her loan which won't even cover all accom, without leaving us or her struggling. Going to have a look at rustys thread now.

goinggetstough Mon 20-Aug-12 07:37:37

sauvignon sadly the free rail card is only for existing Nat West Account holders who upgrade to the student account - so we didn't qualify. The best accounts are here according to Martin Lewis is the Coop student account:
www.moneysavingexpert.com/students/Student-bank-account

OLimpPickMeddles Mon 20-Aug-12 07:47:12

DS off in 3 weeks (Glasgow - Scottish unis start earlier). He will be a 4hr train ride from home, so like fussy, that will most likely be it until Christmas! I am planning a w/end in Glasgow (to visit the city, which is FAB and not just to keep tabs on him!) at some stage during the term.

I know there will be some tear shed; I just hope I can hold it together for the long drive home rather than snivelling in the halls of residence! Mattress topper is a great idea - will also have chocs (thanks Follyfoot!) and beer to assist with the bonding process.

I am delighted for him - I really hope he makes the very best of the fantastic opportunity he has.

outtolunchagain Mon 20-Aug-12 08:09:45

DS1 off in 4 weeks time ,currently waiting for confirmation of his accomodation and have just waived him off to Edinburgh with three friends for a celebratory trip to the Festival.

Good idea about mattress topper ,ds has a 3/4 bed at home which he loves (!) so think he will fine a single a bit small again!

I know I will miss him,we have lots in common and I will miss the conversation however I know that he is more than ready to fly the nest and make his own way now and I am ready too of I am honest.Have 2 other dses at home so life will still be very busy and ds1 has taken up a lot of emotional energy this year so its their turn now.

mumeeee Mon 20-Aug-12 10:49:41

I've had two DDs go through uni. I missed them both like mad and actually still do sometime. It wasn't so bad with DD1 as she went to uni in our home town and was in halls that were only 20 minutes walk away from us so we still met up regularyl. DD2 went to uni in Kingston which is 3 hors drive away. She finished uni in June but is staying up there just moved into another house with 2 of her friends.DD1 is now married so they have both left home for good. Anyway before they went I bought them some bits and pieces like cheap crockery and bedding, We had a nice meal the evening before they went with wine. I bought DD1 stuff over ther week she statrted to move in and stocked her up with some basic food Tesco was just next to her halls and she could take stuff in before the week before the final moving day, DH and I went with DD2 to Kingston managed to get all her stuff as well as us in the car ( DD1 needed 2 journeys), We helped her move her stuff into her halls and then went and looked round Kingston we had lunch together and bought her some food and other bits one thing was a computer cable to connect her laptop to the internet.As we had forgoten to put one in and the uni didn't supply one, She didn't want help to unpack and when we left she was already sitting in the kitchen getting to know some other students. At first I texted her quite often and phoned her once a week. She also texted me and sometimes phoned. DD3 was left at home and she did miss her sister but she kept in touch with her by facebook. Both DD1 and 2 grew up a lot during thier uni years in fact DD2 had an unplanned gap year and we argued a lot during the year before she went to uni. Both DH and I get on with her a lot better now and she'll often text to say she loves us, You will miss them but it gets easier find youself something nice to do the day after you take your DC to uni.

fussychica Mon 20-Aug-12 12:23:41

Just wanted to add a couple of things - the first may not work for everyone. We never ring our DS (very occassionally text if really important) we left it totally up to him to contact us as we didn't want to ring at inconvenient times or make him feel we didn't trust him. It's worked well for us and he contacts us often - sometimes when he's walking back to hall from town, when we have to compete with traffic noise!

The other fun/silly thing we did was make up a shoe box of stuff which he didn't know about which we left on his bed for him to open later. It was labelled as from the Uni as an official welcome pack and contained paper plates with a message "if you need these it really is time to wash up" and pants with a similar message! Condoms, energy sweets, ear plugs, batteries etc plus some treat. DH also did a framed £20 with "in case of emergency break glass"grin. I know we're mad but he loved it.

EldritchCleavage Mon 20-Aug-12 12:39:23

Don't ring her too often once she's gone. Do write letters though-I've kept loads of the letters my parents and sisters wrote to me and it is lovely to have them. I know you can e-mail these days, but getting a little card or note in the post is so nice.

Maybe do her a little Top Tips book with some advice (where to get the morning after pill, don't date men who aren't nice to you, how to do laundry, who to call in an emergency if she can't get you, with 'phone numbers etc.)

I send my nephews in the US care parcels from Bothams of Whitby, with cake and scones and jam etc. They love it. Apparently their friends come zooming over if they hear another mad English relative has sent one of those neat cake packages.

goinggetstough Mon 20-Aug-12 15:15:55

fussy we did the same for DC1 and I am just completing the box for DC2. I shall steal your idea of energy sweets and say we also put in some coins for the washing machine and stain devil remover for tomato based food stains eg ketchup and bolognaise!
We too let them ring us and we use Skype. It is especially lovely if they decide to turn their cameras on too!

Fussychica..I LOVE the idea of the emergency box grin I wish I'd thought of that for DD1...

We used Skype with DD1 at first when she was so homesick then it naturally tailed off as she found her feetsmile

mrsmoodypants Mon 20-Aug-12 20:43:27

Blimey...my dd is only 6 and reading your posts I'm welling up at the thought of her leaving home!!!

Good luck to all the parents and kids of to uni.

mumeeee Tue 21-Aug-12 00:37:21

Just remembered another thing I disband still do occasionally. That was to send her some bits and pieces every few weeks with a chatty letter. Some of the things were useful EG toiletries or packs of soup etc. Others were fun and silly Eg sheet of stickers , bouncy ball . paper flying fairy. T

QuicheLouise Tue 21-Aug-12 03:37:53

DD1 will be going in four weeks.

I'm not dreading missing her, I'm just apprehensive about how she'll cope. There are a couple of reasons why she might find it all a bit of a challenge including an ongoing health situation. It's just started to dawn on her that "this is it" and what we have talked about on oblique terms is actually happening.

I'll be making sure she has everything she needs and am aware of being extra kind and understanding (including give her the benefit of the doubt if she's being arsey or difficult) in these next few weeks. It's exciting but it's also a really stressful time for them.

sashh Tue 21-Aug-12 07:10:12

Really like the idea of 15yr old DD going to see big sister for the day

Wednesday afteeernoon there are no lectures. Depending on the city you could get them matinee tickets for a show/play.

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