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to stop her from dropping out?

(30 Posts)
user1492786507 Fri 21-Apr-17 16:08:28

My daughter is two years into her university degree. After finishing school she went on a gap year and had a great time. We assumed that she would love university too. Homesickness wasn't much of a worry, or a problem, as she had been away from home for a whole year and loved it. She loved the first few months of university but after that I noticed her whole personality change. At school she was outgoing, bubbly and had a great group of close friends. Now, however, she is withdrawn, nervous, very quiet and has lost a lot of weight. After being at home during the holidays she quickly goes back to her normal, outgoing, happy self but a few days before she goes back to uni she gets withdrawn again. She always tells me how she really doesn't want to go back but seems to be 'okay' when she does return.

This morning she phoned me up saying that she wants to leave university for a year and travel. She cried and told me how she is extremely unhappy and sometimes goes days without speaking to anyone. She has acquaintances but no close friends despite her really trying for 2 years. She says that she will go back after a year but I highly doubt it. It will be even more difficult for her to go back and be a year behind her flatmates etc. She has always been extremely career focused and needs a degree to go into the field that she wants to be in. She is so close to finishing her degree and is getting great marks in exams. I really don't want her to leave and regret it in the future. AIBU to persuade her to keep trying?

PurpleDaisies Fri 21-Apr-17 16:10:59

I'd listen to how unhappy she is and concentrate on getting that sorted first. Depression is pretty common amongst uni students. Could you get her to see her gp/uni tutor and go from there?

pombal Fri 21-Apr-17 16:14:40

Let her leave - she sounds unhappy.
Can she complete the year? Will she get any credit towards her degree she can transfer to another course, maybe OU?

alltouchedout Fri 21-Apr-17 16:15:03

YWBU to not listen to her, yes. Her mental health has to take priority.

QuiteLikely5 Fri 21-Apr-17 16:17:28

I think you are right in encouraging her to finish her degree but maybe a gap year is best - she seems to need to re-coup.

Can she not transfer to your local uni for her last year?

They do allow this if the first two years course content is similar to their own content

user1492786507 Fri 21-Apr-17 16:17:43

Thanks for your reply PurpleDaisies, I have suggested she goes to see someone but she is adamant that she is only feeling unhappy due to her circumstances rather than her mental health (I don't know if this is true though). I feel that if it is because she doesn't like the uni then she won't return after the year - if it was her mental health then I would 100% encourage her to leave

wigglesrock Fri 21-Apr-17 16:19:29

Listen to her, really listen to her. I was in exactly the same position as your daughter over twenty years ago - my mum wouldn't listen to me, ignored me, didn't really take my unhappiness seriously and Christ was I unhappy. I could barely move to get out of bed most mornings, avoided people, withdrew, overate, started a spiral into depression and anxiety. I left university after two years, didn't move home, moved in with a friend and slowly started to make inroads into working, caring about myself, putting one foot in front of the other. My relationship with my mum was decimated to be honest, it took years to get back on track, even now and I'm in my early 40s with my own kids, it can be a touch "fraught".

TinklyLittleLaugh Fri 21-Apr-17 16:25:47

My DD has been very similar this year, mainly down to depression and clashing personalities in her house I think. And she has fallen out of love with her degree and is now planning to teach (will still need a degree though).

Can you get her to talk to someone? DD's uni have been great with counselling and it has really helped. We suggested she ask her tutor about taking a gap year and tutor was absolutely fine with it. She has been exercising more and seeking to reconnect with people she likes but had drifted apart from.

But you know, now DD sees an escape exit and feels less trapped, she has decided to get it done with and tough it out for the last year.

Yellowcups Fri 21-Apr-17 16:26:13

Can she move to be closer to home? or do the course at home online. Agree with seeing Dr.

kirstxx Fri 21-Apr-17 16:31:02

If she has a personal tutor it may be possible for her to have a deferred final year. I know someone who switched to another uni to do her final year because she was so far away from home and couldn't deal with it but I don't think that's common practice. Worth asking!

I was incredibly lonely at uni despite trying hard. I was painfully shy at first and after that it's hard because it gets very clique-y. I had a good group of close friends that I lived with but no one on my course. It can be a nightmare but I knew I had to stick it out for my dream job... sad best wishes to her!

MrsJayy Fri 21-Apr-17 16:32:00

Can she defer for a year? Finish this year come home and go from there tbh Idont think Uni is for every kid i know it is the aim for the uni experience put some young folkjust are not cut out for it. If she wants to travel will she work to fund it maybe working to save for it will give her a boost.

StillStayingClassySanDiego Fri 21-Apr-17 16:33:10

I sympathise, I thought as the kids got older so would parenting.

Ds2-19 is currently home from university for the Easter break and since Christmas his mental health has suffered, drinking to try to sleep, isolating himself and having intrusive thoughts, we only found out a few weeks ago after his GP told him to tell us. He's on a long waiting list to see a Counsellor.

Just be there and listen I suppose.

Rastel38 Fri 21-Apr-17 16:33:41

I think she would be able to suspend her course, and leave now owing 50% of this years fees. After 26th April she will have to pay the full year. I have just been through this with my son but I am not sure if it's different at each uni.
It may give her breathing space to think what to do, maybe swapping uni is a good idea? She will meet different people and get a chance to start again.

MrsJayy Fri 21-Apr-17 16:34:06

1 of dds defered at then went local to finished she didn't move back to her mums but back to where we live she seems happier

MrsJayy Fri 21-Apr-17 16:35:44

Dds Friends* jeez my typing today

watchoutformybutt Fri 21-Apr-17 16:36:20

My mother didn't listen to me. I ended up spending time on a psychiatric assessment ward, then being under the mental health team and dropping out anyway. I was so, so unwell because I just kept pushing and struggling to stay. My mum was horrified that things had been so bad and she hadn't listened. I understand university is important but if she is suffering with her mental health it isn't the priority.

nosyupnorth Fri 21-Apr-17 16:44:08

Awwww... poor kid.
It's really good that she's identified what the problem is as that means she can take steps to address it.
The social scene at universities is often very different from that of schools but if she's genuinely not settled in there then something has to change.
I would strongly recommend talking to the uni about the possibility of transferring her credits elsewhere or taking some time out (not necessarily a whole year, that's a long time to be away, but many will offer a semester off as an option).
Having taken a year out myself - being out of sync isn't the disaster you might think. I made some great new friends and nobody cares that you're a year older then 'typical' since there are plenty of people who take gap years or resit years.

HOWEVER I would personally be very wary of her going off to travel for a year. Traveling is great and fun but a year long holiday isn't going to make going back to academic work any easier or more appealing and it'll make settling in harder. Universities have very long summer holidays, which should be plenty of time to de-stress if it's just the university and not an underlying mental health issue, but if she can't get university arrangements sorted by September then I'd suggest trying to get some relevant work experience instead.

user1492786507 Fri 21-Apr-17 16:47:11

Thank you all for your help, parenting definitely doesn't get any easier as they get older! We live in scotland so the fees are free but it does mean that she has two years to go before she graduates (I think this is why she is wanting to get a break)

karalime Fri 21-Apr-17 16:53:08

She's an adult and so I don't see how you think you would stop her.

I knew lots of people that had problems in second year that re took it (I know a girl that did 2nd year 3 times!) and then graduated.

However I do wonder how she plans on funding this travel? Perhaps tell her that she is welcome to come home but once she's up to it she will be getting a job and paying rent. Then the prospect of staying at uni for 2 more semesters might seem more appealing.

OldTownNew Fri 21-Apr-17 16:53:27

I was in the exact same position as your daughter, except I only had 1 semester left of uni and it all got too much. I rang my mum crying, I hated university and it was making me so stressed. She didn't even hesitate, she just told me to leave if it wasn't making me happy.

There's times when I think I should have just stuck it out, but at the time it was a massive weight lifted and I instantly felt happier. And I don't think that it's made any difference to my career (although my degree was in a pointless subject anyway!)

FancyForgetting Fri 21-Apr-17 17:01:20

Another one here whose DD has had v similar issues.

I echo what PPs have said re encouraging her to see GP and seek guidance from university re her options, but if she's managing studies ok but unhappy where she is and wanting to travel, how about a semester or year abroad as part of her degree?

We're also in Scotland and most of the universities have reciprocal arrangements with loads of others overseas, whether as part of Erasmus or other programmes. SAS website should give details of fees arrangements for this option.

Booksandmags79 Fri 21-Apr-17 17:21:52

Yep another one who knows someone that was in a very similar position. She ended up coming home and doing her degree at the local uni instead. She was so much happier that it was 100% the right thing to do. Quite scary how the misery of it changed her.

If I were you I'd firstly do whatever she needs help with to get her out of this uni / course. If she continues to feel so low it could have a lasting impact on her esteem and confidence for new things in future. Sometimes life is too short. If she's been there a while you can't say she hasn't really tried.

Then if she's still adamant she wants to travel support her. But suggest that in the interim she looks at other things so she has a sort of plan for her return. E.g. How and when she would apply to finish her course locally / is there anything else that would be more suitable for her.

The only red flag is that when she comes home it could be really hard to settle and not feel afraid of ending up in a miserable situation again. So encourage her to think short and long term.

I totally get your dilemma but I'd put your fears aside if you can and go with what she thinks is best.

MichaelSheensNextDW Fri 21-Apr-17 17:23:11

Now, however, she is withdrawn, nervous, very quiet and has lost a lot of weight. After being at home during the holidays she quickly goes back to her normal, outgoing, happy self but a few days before she goes back to uni she gets withdrawn again.

This is a mental health issue

Booksandmags79 Fri 21-Apr-17 17:24:32

Ps the travel thing may be fuelled by a need to escape the unhappiness she feels right now. Perhaps if she sees a third option (like finishing locally, or the suggestion of a year abroad with the course) and how much help you will give her, the travel thing may not be what she does after all.

specialsubject Fri 21-Apr-17 17:33:55

If uni isn't right, fine. Plan b. But another long holiday - who pays for that?

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