First child off to Uni

(99 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:

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 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.

outtolunchagain Tue 21-Aug-12 08:08:31

Ds got details of his accommodation yesterday , the polar opposite of what he requested. Haven't spoken to him as he is away but I suspect he is quite disappointed, however having done a bit of research I think it could be a lot worse , just hope he can see it that wayhmmand makes the most of it anyway.

It seems that there are quite a few who applied to his first choice who have ended up in this residence and there are 650 of them so despite being away from the main campus it can't be that isolating!He just really didn't want to be having to bother with buses etc , all part of the university experience I suppose.

Tressy Tue 21-Aug-12 10:57:57

Same here with the dissapointing accommodation offer. They have allocated the first choice room in the first choice halls which seems to be the best as a couple of others from her course are in the same building and most are in the same complex.

Her uni has it's hall all over the city. But the big but is that she will have to share her room for approx 2/3 weeks!!!! Rent is halved for 6 weeks because of it so freshers money is taken care of. It could be great or it could be terrible.

I've reminded her of the time when I was in a strange country, stranded, a few years older than 18 and meeting a new female friend and we shared not just a room but a double bed (straight) for a few weeks till I found my feet. That was 22 years ago and that friend and I just met up again this week. smile

EldritchCleavage Tue 21-Aug-12 15:36:27

Well, outto, once he's settled in he may be glad. Accommodation right in the middle of campus can be noisy and feel less private than being a bit further away.

outtolunchagain Tue 21-Aug-12 19:47:37

I think you could be right , the walk will also keep him fitgrin

caroscott Tue 21-Aug-12 20:39:50

I know this might sound rudimentary and incredibly naive - but I had assumed the loan would cover, albeit at a very basic level, their outgoings, inc. rent. But as Sauvignon Blanc points out, it doesn't even nearly cover the cost of accommodation! I've looked at Martin Lewis's tips, but he seems to assume a loan of #5,500, when in reality it's nearer #3,500. My eldest is leaving for Uni in a few weeks and we are not only feeling bereft but completely baffled as to how he'll live. Have three other children at home, huge childcare costs etc etc and not much left over at the end of the month. How does everyone else do it? Do they over draw? Do we? Sorry to sound so dim, but I would really appreciate other people's experience. Also, do they really need to take crockery, pans and cutlery to halls? If everyone brings stuff they'll be clanking underfoot and I can't see him cooking anyway!

outtolunchagain Tue 21-Aug-12 21:49:34

I am afraid it is assumed that parents will top up plus many students do get part time jobs. Are you sure that he will not get the full amount of the loan ?

It depends on the university but if he is self catering then he will need to take crockery and pots and pans etc

Caroscott.. it's a shit situation. I have one going into her 3rd year (medicine so 5 years and not NHS funded til 5th when her loan will be even less) and one going for the first time...and financially it is dire..their loans don't even cover the rent!

I send DD1 £30 a week to eat..that's all I can manage and even then it's tough going, but she manages. She can't do a p/t job as medicine is pretty full on but she does anything she can find in the holidays. DD2 is doing nursing and has managed to transfer her job at Fatface to her Uni area (i'm really impressed at her sorting this) but I'll be sending her £30 a week too. Sadly we are simply expected to make up what they need to survive. It's hard when some students get grants and others have wealthy parents and we fall in the 'no help but no money left over' category but DD1 tells me it's ok to be

They really DO need crockery, pans etc. But not kettles and toasters as generally too many people bring them! We got Sainsbury's basics toastie makers, etc for DD1 and that was it. Cheap crockery and cutlery as they lose it all.....

My eldest girl is going to uni 300 miles away in three weeks and I know I'll feel like I've lost my right arm. I'm a lone parent too, with two younger girls, and I totally agree that it's now their turn to get more attention, A levels seem to have dominated our house for yonks!

We're all going down with her on the train, to settle her into her hall of residence, which will be amazingly exciting but a bit heart wrenching. Then me and her sisters are swanning off to see a show and stay in a hotel so that we can enjoy the weekend away, while hopefully my eldest will be down the union bar, having a fantastic time!

I'm so proud of her and know that she'll make pals quickly and will really enjoy her course but, God, it'll be quiet back at home without her. Still, she's ready to fly the nest and carve out a career for herself so it's all good.

Shes going to have to get a part time job - I can send her food parcels and a few quid every month but it'll be nowhere near enough to survive on if she doesn't.

It seems like five minutes ago that she was my little baby and I promised her the world. Now she's going off to take it on! smile

fussychica Wed 22-Aug-12 11:24:39

As well as a loan for fees this is what's available to 2012 entrants:
Maintenance Loans

The maximum Maintenance Loan for new students starting from 1 September 2012 is:
•£5,500 if you live away from home and study at a university or college outside London
•£7,675 if you live away from home and study at a university or college in London
•£4,375 if you live at home
Student loans

Maintenance Grants

You can also apply for a Maintenance Grant if your family income is below £42,600. You can get:
•£3,250 if your household income is £25,000 or under
•£50-£3250 if your household income is between £25,000 and £42,600

So anyone with a household income under £42.6K can apply for a non repayable grant in addition to the £5.5k loan.

caroscott not sure why your DC isn't getting the £5.5k loan - did your DC apply for less? You can choose the amount you apply for.

My DS manages on a full loan and an income assessed maintenance grant and we pay his phone,trips home and some other bits & pieces. Student bank accounts usually offer free overdraft facilities but I'm pleased to say he managed without that. If your household income is over £42k after all the deductions on the forms then I can see the other £3.5 is down to you. However, in addition, most unis do offer various buraries and incentives which seem pretty generous this year. Unfortunately our DSs uni decide to withdraw this last year at the last minute so even though we are low income he receives £1k less a year than that which was advertised when he accepted his place. I'm livid but have tried to sort but without successangry.

Hope at least some of this helped.

fussychica Wed 22-Aug-12 11:37:31

Sorry I'm confused I just looked at something else which gives different info and I can't delete the top half of my post which was copied from direct gov. but doesn't appear to be correct judging by a post on another thread.confused Apologies.

RustyBear Wed 22-Aug-12 11:43:40

Fussychica - when DD qualified for a maintenance grant, the amount was deducted from the amount she could borrow - which effectively just meant that part of the loan was non-repayable, not that she actually got more money to live on. Does that not happen any more - because the directgov site still seems to say that it does?

Lifeisontheup Wed 22-Aug-12 12:12:32

Tip from my DD who has been at uni for two years- buy them some toastie bags which make lovely toasted sandwiches in the toaster. You can get them from Wilkinsons and lots of other places.
Most halls have a toaster already and don't allow kettles,toasters etc in their rooms due to fire risk.
Point any relatives who want to give a going away present towards amazon gift cards for textbook purchasing.

fussychica Wed 22-Aug-12 17:45:56

Yes RustyBear you are right. Got myself completely confused (senior momentblush). Copied the above from the direct gov website and obviously made similar assumptions to Martin Lewis which caroscott already said was not how it works out.
My DS is on a 2011 starters finance package so a bit different from this years and managed on just under £6.5k (living in self catering halls). Moving into a flat this year - hope he can still manage when he has to budget for utility bills on top of rent & food etc.

crunched Mon 27-Aug-12 20:16:47

Feel so pathetic ...I know DD1 will have a fantastic experience at uni, despite the usual lack of funds, not getting ideal accommodation etc. So why can't I stop sobbing as I read these posts?

Am I the only Mother to feel this? Friends seem either relieved to be shot of their DC or their DC is staying local, DD1 is over 3 hours away - at the only institution that does her choice of course.

I've always happily quoted the "Give them roots and give them wings" mantra, but you see.....
I'm going to miss her SO much sad

Theas18 Mon 27-Aug-12 21:54:21

Aww crunched you are allowed to miss her , it's normal. She will miss you too.... but if you've got it right, not cripplingly so that she is homesick all the time etc.

You can go an see her y'know. After a few weeks, and take her out for a good feed away from hall/self catering food (if she's s/c maybe take a friend or 2 as well to somewhere not too spendy- get the know them a bit?).

My DD doesn't come home in term time as she has a choral scholarship with weekends all committed. However it does mean I can go to concerts or services any time I want - we go maybe a couple of times a term. I suspect she'll stay till Xmas this time too as she has a house and staying on means earning more for services... as well as staying with her mates!

It's not too bad, and, having had DD home all summer I can see she needs to go back now, she's missing her "uni family" and rubbing her siblings up the wrong way a bit (and me at times....the "banter" ... apparently they aren't arguing!).

THe empty nest stuff is bad at times, but it's as it should be- if you didn't feel a hole in your life you'd have not got it right-

Roots and wings, remember roots and wings....

outtolunchagain Mon 27-Aug-12 22:02:53

Crunched , my ds is also going three hours plus away and is also in practically his last choice of accommodation!All part of the learning experience ( its not a place beginning with L in the north is it?)

I know I am going to miss him dreadfully as we are v close , having said that we seem to have spent most of the last two days arguing but I know he is ready .Your dd will be fine and that's the important thing .

pinkbraces Mon 27-Aug-12 22:06:28

My DD is off to London, she is my only and I am going to miss her so very much. I do have my lovely SD at home but she is going to miss her as well!

Its such a strange time, we are all very excited for her and sad at the same time. She is very nervous and is ignoring the fact of her leaving by not talking about it.

I have permanent knots in my stomach but I know she will be fine and have a great time (keep repeating)

maples Mon 27-Aug-12 22:24:48

In tears reading and DS is 1!

Good luck to all you mums and your dc - exciting times.

badgerhead Tue 28-Aug-12 08:28:56

My dd is going 4.5 hours away and didn't get the halls she wanted. So much so that we drove up there on Sunday evening to look at a private rented house we had found on the internet. Had a look round yesterday , liked it grin Popped into see my elderly mother on the way home and today are ringing to confirm the room is wanted, she is feeling a lot happier about accommodation & thinks she has found 1 or 2 other girls in the same situation who might well share with her.

outtolunchagain Tue 28-Aug-12 08:38:01

Gosh badger thats brave , glad your daughter is feeling more positive . Ds seems to be coming round to his accommodation and I actually don't think it's nearly the disaster he makes out .He is driving me mad though I know it's partly nervousness but one minute he shouting at me to stop interfering and the next he's panicking and having a go at me because I'm not helping him.Dh and Ds have fallen out because dh had a go at him about the way he treats me , and dh and I have fallen out because he is refusing to get involved now and is just leaving me to deal with all ds's shenanigans hmmand I am fed up and ds now has tonsillitis sad

This is meant to be a happy time but it's turning into a nightmare and poor dses2 and 3 are seriously being left out.sad

crunched Tue 28-Aug-12 10:20:05

So nice to know some Mumsnetters don't think I'm just an over protective nutter! Thanks Theas18, outtolunchagain and pinkbraces.

DDs going to Uni in the south-east and her hall is located in a wood 10 minutes walk from the main campus ! It does seem nice though and at least she will get some fresh air.

Tressy Tue 28-Aug-12 10:29:56

It's starting to hit me now. The weekend felt autuminal and I realised that as the nights draw in she will be gone and I will be alone. Arggh! Neither of us are ready.

badgerhead Tue 28-Aug-12 11:52:12

Crunched I'm opposite to you as dd is going to uni in the NW & we live in the SE. DD is certainly a lot less moody today than she was over the weekend & I'm sure she's made the right decision re accommodation as she is very particular about what she wants in that respect, she was even saying she wouldn't go to uni if she couldn't get somewhere nice to live. I think it is a bit easier for her as both my 92 year old mother & my brother live about 40 mins from her uni city as do her older cousins who she gets on well with. So she knows she can call on them in an emergency. I think I won't hear from her very much except when she wants something (like money).
It's beginning to hit me more now we've been up there over the weekend, but I know I will miss her, although we do argue on occasions. Oh well I will have my OU modules to study, dd 2 her GCSE's & dh his hobby of model railways to keep us all occupied.

Tressy Tue 28-Aug-12 12:00:03

Opposite for us as well. We live in NW and DD is going 300 miles down south.

We got a shock re accomodation too in that she might have to share for a couple of weeks if she wants her first choice place and room. It's a bigger room hence them asking her to share. Fingers crossed it goes ok.

higgle Tue 28-Aug-12 15:38:14

I have bought black towels from John Lewis for both my sons since they first needed towels for school aged . They last ages and ages and always look good.

higgle Tue 28-Aug-12 15:38:28


OLimpPickMeddles Tue 28-Aug-12 19:54:29

Also hitting home here - visited DS's uni and halls this weekend as we were passing... and realised that we will be making the trip for real in a couple of weeks. It has been great having DS at home all summer, and I will miss him so much, but I keep repeating the "roots & wings" mantra, and hoping so much that he will make the very best of his time.

duracellbatterybunny Sun 09-Sep-12 16:13:02

Best wishes to all mums waving their offspring off to University during the next few weeks. Your messages have made a huge difference to me. Slap on the smile, put some wine in the fridge!

lizzielizson Mon 10-Sep-12 22:25:30

My first DS about to start uni Sat....have been really up and down, a mixture of excitement for him and dread! Know I'll miss him but hopefully won't pine for him and I know it helps him being just an hour away. It's just that it seems so sudden! 18 years have flown by but even so, feels like I've had him forever. Don't like change! Have been slowly gathering stuff for him to take, food parcels etc and that's helped me to come to terms but just hope I don't get too down when it's time to say goodbye. Reading this thread has helped as you realise you're not the only emotional mother in the country. Have another son, 15, so will enjoy the next 3 years with him as he's likely to go to uni too. Think you'll have to sedate me when that happens....for now will take advice of others and look forward to doing something nice Sat eve with DH and let a few glasses of wine do the trick.

MadJulesViola Fri 14-Sep-12 11:42:55

I've just whizzed through all these posts - DD off to uni a week on Sat and first child to go. I'm dreading it because relationship with notsoDH has been rubbish for years and I haven't been brave enough to do anything about it; I have such a great relationship with DD that this autumn will be crunch time I feelsad
Now planning to buy mattress topper and surprises as well as dingy coloured towels! Someone also suggested a heavy door stop to hold her room door open..sounds like a plan. She has met up with flatmates on facebook etc and can't wait to go!

Faxthatpam Fri 14-Sep-12 17:50:38

Doorstop and beer were essentials for making new friends when my DS1 went last year.

I was sobbing in the foetal position on his bed for a week after he left and couldn't believe my reaction, I just missed him so much. sad

It does get better and they are home in no time for Christmas, weekends etc. Also he came on holiday with us this summer which I wasn't expecting, and it was lovely. Good luck. smile

MacBath Sun 16-Sep-12 00:11:41

Returned home earlier this evening after taking my DS to university for the first time today. First child to leave home. When we arrived we unpacked, went shopping for a few things we'd forgotten (drawing pins for posters/coat hangers), had a lovely lunch, was upbeat and positive all day and managed to hold it together until me and DH drove away in the car to return home. DS seemed a bit wobbly and reluctant to introduce himself to others and was staying in his room so hoping he's going to be okay. He rang us not long after we'd got home, said he's going to have a wander round and find out where things are tomorrow so hopefully he'll meet a few people then. My DH just says he'll be fine and I'm sure he will but how do you not worry - I'm having to restrain myself from texting to check all's ok but am constantly checking Facebook & twitter to see if he's posted anything! Really want him to settle in and have a fabulous time although I know it's only the first day so it may take a while.

fussychica Sun 16-Sep-12 09:06:50

DS just set off with DH for the 4 hr plus drive back to Uni. Decided not to go this time - well he's got loads of mates, is nearly 20 and I do have a tendency to make the odd comment I probably shouldn't about stuff like quality of accommodation etc which I know he hates so I just waved him off. Means I won't see his new home but as he hasn't even seen the room he has rented himself shock it hardly matters and I don't have to spend 8 hours in the car! Probably won't see him to Christmas which will be hard after such a looooong summer at home.
Macbeth I'm sure he'll be fine - worry is what we do best! I'm only getting to grips with really letting go myself. Try not to keep texting him after the first couple of days, just let him know you are there for him and let him contact you. Once a few more people arrive and he gets involved in fresher activities he'll get into the swing of things. In the meantime wine is useful!

fussychica Sun 16-Sep-12 09:09:44

Macbeth the wine was for you not him though I expect once he settles in he'll be raising a few glasses too.

Lilymaid Sun 16-Sep-12 09:26:05

Both my DSs were provided with a bottle of vodka and a home made chocolate cake when they started university. We told them to keep their room door open whilst settling in.
The vodka and cake were consumed by the neighbours on the first night and these neighbours became friends throughout university (sharing grim student houses etc).
If you aren't keen on the vodka, the cake and open door works pretty well!

Faxthatpam Sun 16-Sep-12 09:38:05

Macbeth - I felt your pain this time last year, I was a mess on the journey home, and for at least a week afterwards, Its the thought of them sitting there with no friends and feeling lonely! But he will be fine. Freshers week is great for making friends and they soon get right into the swing of it all. Let him call you, if you have to just send the odd text. We set up an arrangement that he would call every Sunday, which he did....mostly. He will be back in no time for Christmas hols, which are nice and long at uni.

My DS1 is about to go back for his second yr and is so grown up now (although has regressed a bit over the summer - especially with his brothers) and he has had a great time. It is very hard for us to let go, I am still struggling with it. Yours will settle in fine and will have the time of his life. smile

Tressy Sun 16-Sep-12 11:49:49

Mine starts next week. In fact this time next week we will be settling her into halls at the other end of the country sad

MacBath Sun 16-Sep-12 12:01:32

Thanks for the support and advice ! DS phoned earlier this morning. He met up with couple of others last night and they all went out til the early hours and planning to go out again tonight - so phew - ice broken etc... Apparently the room wardens came along and gathered all the 'newbies' to get them introduced to each other - great idea! So feeling lots better and worrying a little less, sort of! Ha ha....

outtolunchagain Sun 16-Sep-12 18:44:36

Dropped ds1 yesterday, still have two at home but it seems very quiet . He drove us insane over the last 3 weeks and I thought I would just feel relieved that he had finally got there , but he gave me a great big hug , and td me he'd be fine and it really hit me how I may not see him for 3 months and I did well upblush.

Still he seems pleased with his room ,one other boy had arrived and 2 girls .He seemed relieved that they all seemed pretty normal and keen to be friends and certainly from first impressions I think he will be fine to buddy up with to start with .Just hope he's not on his own ,I don't think he will be but you never know, not heard anything yet.

fussychica Sun 16-Sep-12 18:44:41

MacBeth knew it would be fine - you can relax a little. We never ring DS unless we have to - just leave it to him, luckily he calls regularly!

DH just back from the uni run - his house as I expected - usual student fare so glad I didn't go as I probably wouldn't have been able to keep my mouth shut! Sooooooooo quiet here and house feels big again! Been cleaning - finally got in to tackle his room - think I'll redecorate instead of cleaning itwink.

Happymum22 Sun 16-Sep-12 21:04:28

Mine are all slowly drifting off after a lovely summer with all 4 of my babies grown-up adult children at home.
eldest DD1 moved in with her boyfriend having graduated, DS ticking on with medcine in London and DD2 moving into a house for second year at Bristol.
Youngest DD3 still at home tackling her GCSEs.

This September/October period does get easier but I always experience the same feelings of deeply missing/worrying about them all as I've been used to a summer of knowing everything and having them about. As DD2 keeps saying I need to 'chill out'! I think it will be easier this year as DD2 had the normal rocky start most girls seem to have, wheras DD1 never told me, DD2 phones lots to have a vent about missing home/worrying the friends she'd made wern't her type of people etc. By the end of the year she was loving it, had a lovely group of friends and a house sorted for next year. So I'm a lot more comforted she will be ok.

Not looking forward to DD3 leaving, shes talking of boarding for 6th form next year but I secretly hope not!!

soapydishcloth Sun 16-Sep-12 23:31:48

Another one here been fighting back tears - dropped DS1 off today. He is shy and quiet and doesn't drink, and knows he will need to put sustained effort into making friends. His accommodation is great and he's happy with his room. I'm so proud of him as he's not the most academic but has found and got onto the perfect course for him which will give him the best chance of getting the job he wants, but I am bereft. I daren't go into his room.

MacBath Mon 17-Sep-12 20:24:37

Hi soapydishcloth - no real advice being in the same situation myself, just support. Hope your DS1 manages to settle in and I'm sure he will make friends. My DS1's house warden dug out all the new people on his first night on Saturday evening and introduced them all so maybe that'll happen for yours too and congratulations to him on his achievement!!

Skynorth Tue 18-Sep-12 12:56:35

I totally sympathise with everyone whose young person is leaving to go to Uni; well done them, and well done you guys too for all the encouragement etc you've obviously raised them with!

My youngest has just started a biomedical sciences degree, though he's studying locally so living at home for the first year. He got a grant, student loan and also travel scholarship, the grant was based on my income for the previous full tax year; if you're on benefits or earn under a certain amount they get the full grant. Of course if your young person is living away from home they will of course have more outgoings, but if living at home I feel it's good for them to contribute something to the household so they get used to the responsibility of paying bills etc. If they work part time this will boost their income but of course this means they are having less time for study.

I do empathise with all the parents who have had to say goodbye to their kids who are studying away from home, as my youngest spent most of his gap year in Australia. I knew he would be safe as he was staying with his girlfriend, then travelling with her, but it was still really horrible before he went and for a few weeks afterwards, because the house felt so empty! He is not the quietest lad so the absence of any noise whatsoever was weird and really awful.

However the food and utilities bills dramatically decreased ha ha!

He had been away from home regularly, visiting friends round the country, since about 15 years old, but the fact he was so far away made it different. And he was away over Christmas (thank goodness for Skype!!)

As he's my youngest it did mean I had much more of a life though. I always thought I had a really great life anyway, I'm a single mum and have always worked, also I've traveled a lot with them so I think this has made them more independent and getting from A to B is normal for them. i think it must be harder for parents whose young people are not used to being away from home (and the parents not used to being away from them?)

It's hard isn't it, you want your kids to grow up and move on with their lives independently and achieve their ambitions, but it's still a bit of a wrench once they actually go!

Incidentally, my eldest didn't go to Uni, he went straight into work after A levels and I thought he would never move out! (Did so last year age 26!!!!!)

Anyway....will look forward to reading more on here as it seems like a great community :-)

outtolunchagain Tue 18-Sep-12 17:56:42

Have finally heard from PFB,a text asking how everyone is and wanting to know how to make tomato sauce.!Difficult to tell how things are going in a text but at least he wasn't asking to come home

AlmostAGoldHipster Tue 18-Sep-12 18:02:18

My girl has been out every night and has made lots of new friends - I'm so relieved and proud of her! It feels so strange her not being here though. Thank goodness for Skype! smile

Tressy Tue 18-Sep-12 18:35:31

We are having a little farewell party tomorrow then off on the train with 3 suitcases. Have to buy the household stuff down there. We had some good news today. They said she might have to share her bigger room but due to less numbers of undergraduates they have told her she won't have to afterall, huge relief.

Mine is fairly reserved and you do worry that they won't want to get smashed every night and as a result might not mix well.

alemci Tue 18-Sep-12 18:52:55

dropped dd off at weekend. it feels strange here with 2 dc but very calm. she seems really happy there.

tbh she really got on my nerves for the last year so i think it is for the best. there is also less mess.

gotaproblem Thu 27-Sep-12 14:10:46

Just a word of warning, two of my DD's friends (different unis, different towns) had their drinks spiked. One with more alcohol (yes it's possible she drank more than she realised) but the other with something more sinister, she ended up in A and E, she is better now, but a warning to keep hold of your drink and be very wary of letting somebody buy you one.

crunched Sat 29-Sep-12 19:30:57

Two weeks in, and it isn't as bad as I feared.

I cannot imagine how I would have coped were it not for mobile phones. As others have said, it seems to be my DD who needs reassuring that we are still interested in her life, and I have got a few smiley faces at 2am and a few ' piles of poo' icons at 9am!

It is just so nice to know they are still our 'little uns' as her Grandad would have said smile

outtolunchagain Sun 30-Sep-12 10:27:46

We are also two weeks in , and whilst the day to day stuff is no problem, actually quite enjoying having more time for ds3 and less commentary on every decision I make wink., we are not getting much communication at all and am finding that difficult.I am pretty sure this means things are going well, but he only texts if he needs input eg "can I wash dark shirts with jeans " or " does curry paste go in before or after meat", it would be nice to have some news etc

It has just hit me this weekend that he has a whole new life that I know nothing whatsoever about, he did say in one text that he had a lot on , and I thought a lot of what ; socialising g , work, sport ( unlikely !),a girl or all of the above . I really don't want to pester him but am wondering if it would be acceptable to call for a chat, mind you did try to call in midst of long series of texts about laundry ( it wld have been easier to explain verbally) and he just didn't pick up . I think he just really wants to be independentsad

Tressy Sun 30-Sep-12 12:15:23

We've discovered skype, so chat on there regularly. I think girls are generally better at this than boys.

Saying that mine seems to be unavailable and forgetting when we've arranged to chat so I take this as a good sign. She seems to be finding her feet nicely.

fussychica Mon 01-Oct-12 16:45:47

Our DS has just start 2nd year - too far away to come home during term times so rings regularly, which I really appreciate. However, when he went back this year only had a couple of calls in nearly 2 weeks - obviously enjoying the novelty of living in his new flat!

Good to hear most of your DCs are settling in so well.

SuzanneIBCLC Wed 03-Oct-12 18:10:28

I could have written your post as in the same position!

Jane58 Fri 05-Oct-12 14:17:34

Our DD has just started uni in Liverpool (we're in Bournemouth, she couldn't get much further away!) but is struggling to cope with all the changes. We're just not sure how best to support her. We had some really tearful phone calls last week and DH dashed off to see her and make sure she was getting some support at uni - probably not the best thing to do in hindsight but she has had some difficult periods in the last year. She's doing all the right things like joining lots of societies and getting some counselling but it is just so hard:'( Any advice would be gratefully received.

Tressy Fri 05-Oct-12 15:39:07

Jane58 I really hope she settles in soon. Don't have any advice except if she could stick it out for the first term, until Christmas break, then she will be better able to make a judgement on whether it's right for her or not. I don't think it was a mistake for you rDH to visit, at all.

DD is down your way and we right up north. She feels it already when others are planning to go home for a weekend soon and she carn't. She also says some people are dropping out already. Such a shame they really should try and stick it out for longer.

adogcalledbetty Sun 07-Oct-12 18:46:12

My DD1 went to uni last year and (most of the time) loved all the socialising and sporty stuff, and her course has been ok too. I tried not to ring her too often, just enough to have a good idea if she was okay, and usually she was.

She's a five hour train journey away so didn't come home much. I went to see her for a weekend and took DD2 with me, but DD1 was uncharacteristically unpleasant to her - think DD1 just wanted me to herself.

This year DD1 is far more relaxed about everything and we're planning to meet up half way and DD2 is welcome this time. DD1 is also phoning me more this year.

jane58 I think getting involved and making lots of acquaintances is the answer, but it takes time, especially if you're not very extrovert. Maybe there's a need to just acknowledge that its difficult sometimes at first, but everyone has to just get on with it. When DD1 used to phone me in tears, saying she wanted to come home, I'd tell her she was very welcome, but somehow she always managed to brighten up and get on with things. Everything will be okay.

duracellbatterybunny Fri 14-Dec-12 19:17:39

Just to wish you all a Happy Christmas - we survived the first term without them. Enjoy!!

Enairolraine Wed 21-Aug-13 16:52:03

Thank you everyone, feel much better now. I have a daughter off to uni in sept and as the time gets closer I'm dreading it, and now my husband wants us to organise a party for her the weekend before! Has anyone else done this, I feel it's a bit yay!!! She leaving at long last, or am I just being a misery? Help.

madeofkent Thu 29-Aug-13 16:33:38

I only just saw the date on this! But what good advice. My Ds is off at the end of the month and I have been getting a bit weepy about it, strangely now that he is a little nervous and stressed I am finding it easier to be smiley and say how exciting it all is. He didn't get accommodation, they told us only two weeks ago that we live too close (an hour's drive) for him to get into Halls, so we have had a scary couple of weeks waiting for a private Halls to find him accommodation - at twice the price. He saw lots of houses but many were for shared houses with third year girls, which he didn't fancy. He finally made it to the top of the waiting list yesterday, I am so relieved. So dark towels, beer and cider, cake, a doorstop and my old cutlery and china will be going with him. The first big shop of cupboard necessities arrived today to stock him up a bit. He will have a bed with a hollow base so much of it will go in there.

We are still trying to work out how much money he will need each week. It's bad enough that we are going to have to fins several thousand a year to top up his rent, but as his course will involve a fair few late nights and is a full day every day affair I think a job will not be possible.

I am going to miss him so much. He is lovely. If he were a pain it would be easier.

madeofkent Thu 29-Aug-13 16:36:10

Not sure about the party, but at least it would take your minds off it! All of Ds's friends went on holiday late this year, after their results, apart from us it would seem, so it would be a quiet affair if we had one! Getting him sorted with accommodation has been so fraught that we are just going to chill for the next few weeks.

zappier Mon 02-Sep-13 12:21:43

It's been very helpful to read some of the great advice on here and to know that I'm not alone with this. My DS is the youngest and therefore final child to leave home. I'm really struggling to keep it together at the moment, even at work, and am dreading the final goodbye next Sunday when I drop him off. Last night I was in tears until 2.30am which isn't good for anyone. I've been a Mum for 20 years and most of it as a single parent so this is a huge change and one I need to come to terms with.

madeofkent Mon 02-Sep-13 22:08:59

Me too, zappier. You get that feeling of 'we're all in this together' when you are on your own. My son is the youngest and I find it hard to know that 26 years of school runs have come to an end. I should be pleased, but I liked the time we had in the car to talk. He is lovely, maybe I wouldn't be so upset if he were a pain in the butt. I get very weepy, you aren't alone. The one plus is that with all the broken nights and added adrenaline I have lost a few pounds. I'm going to be a wreck the week he goes.

bevelino Mon 02-Sep-13 23:09:23

OP I am sure your dd will cope and it is so much easier for you to keep in close contact. Also Christmas is a coming and she'll be back home in no time at all.

zappier Wed 04-Sep-13 12:02:52

Thank you madeofkent; we will have to be wrecks together, (although slightly slimmer ones!) these weeks.

madeofkent Wed 04-Sep-13 18:47:21

I shall think of you, mine goes on the 14th, although I think maybe I shall hang on until the 15th if possible. As he gets more excited, I get sadder. We had a lovely day shopping yesterday though, and today he said how pleased he was that I hauled him off to the beach last sunday and made him take his sandcastle-building stuff! I wanted to let him be just a boy, for the last time.

madeofkent Wed 04-Sep-13 18:50:06

Have you seen this, zappier?

zappier Thu 05-Sep-13 15:49:04

madeofkent cheersmidear!

mariajoy11 Sun 08-Sep-13 04:27:44

Hi yes I know its hard, I am taking my eldest to stay on Thursday and will be really upset, I could feel myself welling up, yet at same time she drives mad at times I feel like I cant wait, its those mixed feelings, and epic spending trips, where you don't want to spoil the whole experience by refusing to buy the matching towel, two just in case. lots and lots of emotions. Good luck.

Confused40 Sun 08-Sep-13 19:33:10

DS is leaving to go to uni in just under two weeks and although I'm so very proud of him, I'm dreading him going. I've cried at the thought of him going every day for the past week or so and feel totally and utterly upset about him leaving. I'm going to miss him so much. DD is 3 months old so I won't be completely on my own, but it just won't be the same without him. I've brought him up on my own since he was 1 1/2 and those years have just flown by and now he's flying the nest. I'm absolutely dreading him going sad
Any advice on how to cope would be gratefully accepted smile

madeofkent Wed 11-Sep-13 11:07:11

I would quite like some myself - but every where I have asked just says, keep busy. So I have deliberately picked out music that makes me feel happy, have bought a supply of St.John's Wort, have started a local book club, have promised my friends that I will be more sociable and will start to use Skype.

Also, with him no longer at home, it will be far easier for me to tackle my diet. No fattening leftovers that need to be eaten for lunch, no requests for desserts and doughnuts and icecream, steak and kidney pie and sausages and mash. I can eat quinoa without being moaned at. I am being very positive now, but I shall miss him like crazy. Everyone tells me that I shall get over it very quickly, I do hope so because my grandmother never got over her son leaving home. I don't want to be like her.

ithaca26 Fri 13-Sep-13 01:22:23

Hi, another emotional wreck here as DD leaves on Sat. We are extremely close but lately since she finished her exams she has been engrossed in
Developing her life away from studies and becoming less dependant on me
I had hoped we would have a chance to do more things together but I guess it's natural for her to want to see her friends as much as possible. In a way it has prepared me for the wrench to come a bit but oh
My goodness the flood of emotions that appear randomly are all consuming. It feels so empty and a real cutting of the ties, so painful.
I am too a single parent so our little family ( Ds chose not to go to uni )
Is close knit and very happy, it's so hard to think this is the end of an era although with that comes new and exciting beginnings . Have cried so much I am fed up with myself! Also trying to hide it from them!
Good luck to all with the move and settling in process .

earthylass Sun 15-Sep-13 19:55:20

Hi everyone, so good to come on here and find other people going through the same thing as me. We dropped our D1 off yesterday and I actually feel relieved today that the moment is over and I feel ok. It has been a black cloud on my horizon for the last 6 months or so- ie dreading saying goodbye. About 2 weeks ago was the worst - feeling so emotional and feeling every precious moment of being with her. The roller coaster of getting kit together, finding she is not allocated halls and had to find housemates plus house etc is now over and all is hunkydory. Now I'm upbeat, know I'll miss her but look forward to her catching up occasionally (we both have Instagram so great to catch glimpses of each others' lives). Thinking of others in the same boat and so good to know that others are out there. Thanks! x

apples05 Wed 10-Sep-14 09:16:16

OH my.....reading all these posts has brought the emotions flooding back.

DD1 is just about to go back for 3rd year but I well remember the dreadful, sick with worry feeling that I had in the last week that she was home before we dropped her off for the first time.

I too managed to hold it together for the entire time we were with her by doing the keep busy thing , but DD3 (who was 11 at time) and I sobbed the entire way home. Thank goodness she wasn't too far away! hmm

It did get better though and once I knew she was loving it the weight from our minds was immense. We had 2 other DC at home to offset the gap and she would text and Skype us and her siblings regularly. Oh the boon of new technology! We were fortunate as well that she was able to come home once or twice per term , as well as hols , and the noise level and mess in the house increased ten fold.

Now we are about to do all over again for DS1 and I don't feel it any less than i did before. Not sure if i thought I would find it easier.....but it's not so far sad

His whole experience has been overshadowed by the fact that he and 300 other freshers couldn't get accommodation on campus for their first year so we have had the most horrendously stressful few days trying to set up private rented accommodation......with complete strangers!

I find this a disgraceful situation to put young people in for the first year of Uni , but it doesn't seem to be uncommon and hey ho what can you do.

He now has a nice house , very close to campus and sharing with 3 girls. A fact by which he seems completely unconcerned grin

Again the relief is immense and although i know when the day comes i will be a quivering wreck , he is at least now in same boat as all others and just up the road from DD1. smile

I often read posts from students who don't want or need their parents involvement in their lives at this stage and I salute their independence. But i also thank the lord that all of our children have welcomed our support and advice , and continue to do so , even though the ultimate decisions have been their own.

If I had a penny for every time I have used the phrase "well it's your decision" i may have been able to pay Uni fees without a loan lol!

We found it a very difficult time , but it really did get just hang in there. wine cake

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