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I'm a uni student, AMA

(30 Posts)
BillShakes Wed 08-Aug-18 22:24:19

I know, we're ten a penny and nothing special. But AMA if you want grin

Bacere Sat 11-Aug-18 22:32:21

So tell more, what is the social life really like? Have you had to cope with noisy inconsiderate housemates or are you one if them?

Are you finding the workload a leap or easy?

PitchBlackNight Sat 11-Aug-18 22:34:38

How old are you and what are you studying? Also what type of Uni.

Do you go on the Mumsnets Higher Education threads? If so, aren’t they scary 😅

Sparklingbrook Sat 11-Aug-18 23:05:42

Is that you DS1? grin

BillShakes Sun 12-Aug-18 10:13:13

Ooh didn't think anyone would actually respond!


The social life is really whatever you want it to be. I'd say I'm pretty 'mainstream' in that I was out every night of freshers and pretty regularly throughout all of 1st year, at all the 'popular' clubs. I branched out a bit in 2nd year though, and realised that uni actually consists of a massively diverse group of people with all sorts of social lives, and honestly, whatever your personality is, you're likely to find the right sort of social scene for you.

I don't think anyone HASN'T had to deal with inconsiderate flatmates unless they're the culprit grin 1st year accommodation can be hard, as it's a complete luck of the draw as to how your flatmates end up. I was lucky, and ended up in a relatively quiet flat with a bunch of lovely girls. Some of my friends, however, ended up with nightmare flatmates. Really, I'd say you just have to stick it out in 1st year, involve accommodation services when you have to (like a friend of mine did), and choose your 2nd year flatmates with care (that's a whole other can of worms).

As for the workload, I'd say it was nothing to me in terms of the jump from high school to uni. I pretty much skim read my notes the week before exams and got mostly upper seconds. However, I go to a Scottish uni where your 1st year grades don't matter and everyone knows it. Making the leap from 2nd to 3rd, where your grades do matter, was incredibly difficult, considering I'd never really learnt to study before. If I'd pulled myself together in 1st year and started uni as I meant to go on (like some of the more self-aware people in my year), I could've avoided a lot of stress and anxiety.

BillShakes Sun 12-Aug-18 10:18:44


I'm 20 (I've been lurking on mn for long enough to give those 'why are non-mums on mn' posters heart palpitations), and studying Biomed at a rather old Scottish uni.

As for the mn higher education threads... I do drop in for a look sometimes, and wish my parents had given me advice other than you should probably go to Oxford wonder at all the parents there! It's both heartwarming and terrifying grin

BillShakes Sun 12-Aug-18 10:21:32


Mum? Is that you? wink

OhMyGodTheyKilledKenny Sun 12-Aug-18 10:27:04

What advice would you give to the parent of an 18/19 year old who is heading off to university? Is there anything a parent can do or say to help prepare them settle in and enjoy it?

blueskiesandforests Sun 12-Aug-18 10:28:23

You say you wish your parents had given you advice other than telling you you should probably go to Oxford grin I find it interesting that you wish your parents had given you advice. I'm old enough to be uni parent age although I had my kids lateish so they are still school age.

When I was preparing to apply to uni back in the dark ages wink (early 90s) I really didn't consider it anything to do with my parents. It was clear that if I'd been applying for "their" subjects at "their" unis they'd have wanted to help/ stick their oars in, but as I was studying a subject totally outside their experience they really didn't have any input.

I always think parents of today's uni students seem massively over involved, to the degree that they seem to treat and view their 17/ 18 year olds the way my generation were viewed when choosing our O level / GCSE options at 13 or so! I've always seen this as negative.

How do you feel about the level of parental involvement among your peers, and is it as intense as MN threads make it look in your everyday experience?

Sparklingbrook Sun 12-Aug-18 10:46:56

DS isn't at a Scottish Uni. Phew. grin

He's pretty good about me asking him anything though. He's just finished the first year and after a bit of a shaky start has really enjoyed it.
I am as involved as DS1 wants me to be. He knows where I am if he needs me.

BillShakes Sun 12-Aug-18 10:49:40

@OhMyGodTheyKilled Kenny

Some of them might feel a bit nervous and overwhelmed - even if they're not showing it at all. Always be willing to listen to them talk about uni (especially about how they're feeling), and remind them that whatever happens, they can always rely on you, and that going to uni doesn't mean they're suddenly expected to cut off contact overnight. And (this is very important) teach about bills, budgeting, cooking, and instill a general sense of sensibility into them. Teach them what they can handle themselves (registering with a doctor, arranging for maintenance when things break, getting themselves to the right classes at the right time), and what they need to talk to others about (stress, deadline extensions due to ill health).

But also, very importantly, give them space. Most people I know couldn't wait to get away from home in 1st year, and got frustrated at overbearing parents who took them up and then tried to do everything for them, including trying to sign them up to events! Take their lead. Let them know that you're there if they need you, but absolutely do try to phone up their personal tutor!

That sound awfully contradictory, but basically, give them space, but also give them love.

BillShakes Sun 12-Aug-18 10:51:09

Oh, basically what Sparklingbrook said grin

Sparklingbrook Sun 12-Aug-18 10:56:58

My friend was telling me that some parents rolled up with blow up beds thinking they will just sleep on the floor of their child's room for the first week or two just to check they are ok. shock

And one lad jumped out of the car when they got there and asked where the people were that helped them in with their stuff. grin

BillShakes Sun 12-Aug-18 11:36:06


My parents gave me an awful lot of freedom in high school in terms of academics. I do appreciate that they gave me a good foundation in life though, I'm grateful for the emotional and practical support they gave me.

I think there were massive differences in the amount of parental support my peers received. A lot of my friends were very mature and competent; they knew what they wanted and how to get it, and their parents mostly stood back, except to give advice. I think that's representative of their whole lives though. If someone is taught to be responsible their whole life, and given the emotional and practical tools they need, then when it comes to it, they know what to do.

But obviously, even the most mature 18 yo needs help and with the amount of competition and all the hoops you have to jump through these days, parental advice is important. Everyone needs someone who's got their back, and who will teach them what they need to know, before they need to know it.

There were people whose parents told them what subjects to pick, told them what uni courses to apply for, and practically wrote their personal statements for them. But those really are few and far between. Mn sometimes makes me wonder at all the helicopter parents out there, but really, the HE forums probably draw them in and are probably about as intense as you're going to get.

To sum up very loosely: Advise, don't supervise

BillShakes Sun 12-Aug-18 11:38:43

Sparklingbrook That actually happened with someone in my 1st year halls! Everyone was so confused as to why there was a middle aged couple who kept appearing everywhere... The girl in question turned out to be lovely though, and seemed to enjoy the freedom once her parents were gone grin

Sparklingbrook Sun 12-Aug-18 11:48:46

I can't think of much I would like to do less than sleep on the floor of a room in halls. At least decamp to the local Holiday Inn. Or just stay at home like a normal person!

WatercolourFlower Sun 12-Aug-18 12:20:20

Are there many people at your uni who don't drink? If so, what do you think of them? For the people who don't like the club scene, how do they make friends at uni?
I only ask, as one of my friends is going to uni this September, I'm worried about her and if she will be deemed boring/strange as a non-drinker who hates clubbing. She is already dreading freshers week, and is very worried about making friends.

PitchBlackNight Sun 12-Aug-18 17:15:55

WaterColour Sorry to high jack the OPs thread but two of my 4 DC don't drink (no reason just personal preference). One went clubbing as much as anyone and the other never set foot in a club but would get together with friends at people flats or at pubs etc. It's totally normal not to drink. Look at the Office of National Statisics latest publication covering drinking. 25% of young people don't drink at all. One of the biggest pluses is that it saved my DC a lot of money.

BillShakes Sun 12-Aug-18 17:58:35

@Watercolour flower

There are plenty of people who don't drink! Like Pitchblack says, you can join in alcohol-related events and simply not drink, or there are plenty of socials that don't involve drinking at all. It's all personal preference. I have a good friend who doesn't drink alcohol at all, and doesn't really club anymore either, but he still enjoys coming to the pub occasionally, and is involved in a lot of other societies. Most unis have so many societies, it's impossible not to find 'your people'.

I recommend going to whatever her uni equivalent of the 'societies fair' is, and asking around to get an idea of what the people are like. Once she finds a few societies that seem friendly and in tune with her interests, she'll find it easy to make friends with the members! Most turn up to the first social by themselves, and make friends there. Everyone else is just as scared. You usually just have to steel your nerves, say hi to everybody, mention your in 1st year, and take it from there smile

Bacere Tue 14-Aug-18 09:06:21

Hi OP, THANKS FOR ANSWERING, accide Tapped caps sorry! My question is do you work while studying? In the summer? For the whole of e summer? Are you given any help in finding work ,after uni?

BillShakes Tue 14-Aug-18 10:28:42


I don't work while studying, but I have worked every summer since high school. I'm lucky in that there are a lot of funded internships available in my degree area, so I've had several full time internships that are usually about 2-3 months duration, and I even get paid for the experience. Sadly though, I was ill this year during funding applications, and missed out, so I had to do an unpaid internship this year.

As for finding work, there's a very good careers service at my uni. They give one to one advice in career planning, further education choices, cv writing and job applications, etc. According to friends who have made us of the service, it has been incredibly helpful. I haven't visited yet, as I've always had a rather solid plan in my head of what I'm going to do after uni. But as I'm just about to enter my final year, I probably will drop by at some point! The individual courses themselves also hold careers lectures, which are fairly good for giving us a rough idea of what we should be doing in terms of planning. So I'm not sure about after uni, but at least for the duration of it, we have access to plenty of help and advice.

JellyBears Tue 14-Aug-18 13:30:18

Have you ever eaten cold beans out of a tin??

WhirlyGigWhirlyGig Tue 14-Aug-18 13:38:58

What is the actual weekly cost of living when at uni, I'm trying to plan finances? obviously this may all change on Thursday if things go tits up

Bacere Tue 14-Aug-18 15:11:20

Interesting billshakes What have you found the hardest thing to manage while at uni? (Was it when you weren't well?) Do you get back home much? Are you hoping you won't have to return home after finishing your degree, eg have you become very independent and wanting your own place or are you looking forward to it?

BillShakes Tue 14-Aug-18 15:20:30


I HAVE eaten cold beans, but I'm afraid they were out of a snap pot grin

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