DS probably dropping out of uni. DH horrified.(260 Posts)
DS got into an excellent uni, top 3 in the world for his course, or something. Anyway, a degree from here would set him up for life career wise. Except that a degree from an excellent uni is no good to him if he is dead from throwing himself under a train - as I am trying to explain to my DH (sorry I've never posted on mumsnet and am not entirely sure of all the abbreviations.) It's a scandal no-one wants to talk about but one of the reasons he is unhappy is that he is on a corridor with 5 chinese girls who don't speak English and stick together like glue. 1/3 of his uni is Chinese, and most of them don't have the language skills to communicate in English. 1/3 are international - also v cliquey. And 1/3 are British kids who have been consummately unfriendly to say the least. He has always been very shy and possibly, because he is tall and beautiful, seems arrogant and aloof from afar. Inside he's a specky geek. He had a gap year and went off to an organised camp in terror because of his shyness; to his joy and amazement he made friends easily and quickly with about 10 others in the group, all from up North in the UK, and actually fell for a girl from Newcastle. So now he wants to leave the amazing rep Russel group uni (in the South...) and start again next year - at Leeds/Newcastle/up North. I think that if he has made every effort to acclimatise and is still miserable by Xmas then he should leave, incurring less debt than if he stayed the year and then left. And he really is trying - he's exercising regularly, seeing a counsellor, is moving to different accomodation, has joined all kinds of groups. But remains isolated and lonely. I don't know if he should try an antidepressant, I feel sad about thinking this and that perhaps I am medicalising understandable unhappiness. My DH thinks he should stay and be miserable as he is likely to cheer up eventually and will regret forever such an impulsive and crazy move. I wonder if anyone else has been a parent in this situation? I don't feel too upset about it as I started anti-depressants a month ago!! (because of how awful I felt for him.) I feel pretty tefloned now. I wish my DS was too.
A degree on its own from ANY university is not enough to guarantee an amazing career, especially since he might change his mind and decide not to work in the field his degree is anyway.
If the Uni doesn't suit him then no matter how good it seems on paper then it's not right for him, it's not that uncommon for students to change universities and there are some excellent ones outside The South
However, there is the possibility that even if he is very academic Uni in general isn't for him as well
If he's really unhappy then look into the practicalities of moving
Stay and be miserable is never the answer.
He should either leave now, work for the rest of the year, and transfer elsewhere. Or, finish the year then transfer.
Life's too short, and he won't fulfil his potential if he's in misery.
Is he enjoying / engaging with the course? If this is ‘just’ a social problem then I think you should encourage him to stick with it. Many people have a terrible first term but then settle in - I did.
If he’s finding the course isn’t what he wants or what suits him then there’s more of a reason to move I think.
I'm of the opinion if your unhappy leave life is to short to be unhappy. If he wanted to leave to nothing I would be concerned but he seems to have a good plan ans good life set up to go to.
He's much more likely to succeed at uni if he is happy
Ultimately your son is an adult and he can make his own decisions about university regardless of what your husband thinks.
Newcastle is a great university, as is Durham, and York etc. All have great reputations and could lead to brilliant careers. The uni you went to isn't the be all and end all for the rest of your career.
I went to a uni I hated for 18 months and restarted my degree age 21 at a former 'poly' and it changed my life. I was happier than ever, got a great degree, met my now partner (together 9 years) and did a dissertation in the field I now work in. None of which would have been possible if I hadn't moved.
Your poor son needs support from you both rather than judgement but this is his decision to make about his life.
Poor DS. That sounds hard. I agree with you that he should switch if it isn't right for him. Is there scope for him switching now? It is so early in the year they might be able to transfer straight away which could save money.
How much of this is about the girlfriend? Leaving because he is unhappy where he is is one thing, but if it is more about wanting to be closer to the girlfriend, I think that is a bad move. Relationships are not exactly stable at that age, and if he moves up north and they then split up, is he going to be devastated and regret the move?
I think it can easily take until Xmas to make proper friends at uni, so I would suggest sticking it out until then and reassessing.
I'm not sure what field he is studying but I will say that I got my undergrad degree from Newcastle (over 10 years ago mind) and it was an excellent uni. It has a good reputation and it is a fantastic city. He will be switching to another good institution - but if he is currrently at Oxford / Cambridge for example I can see your DH's concerns.
Give the new accommodation 2-3 weeks? I should have moved accomm but was too embarrassed and was miserable.
Is he somewhere like LSE? I know 2 of DD's friends who have dropped out from there and restarted at Leeds.
It is very common for students to decide they have picks the wrong course or the wrong university - or both.
My DD dropped out of another university - she just wasn't coping, hated the vocational course, didn't gel with her flat mates etc. I was gutted for her at the time and very concerned about her. She stuck it until Easter but had told us within the first month that she hated it. She put in a late application for a different and academic course and named 3 universities. She got all 3 offers. She is now in the second year of her new degree and very happy. It is still a reasonable university (RG not that means that much) but not as a higher standing as her first one. But a 2.1 from there will mean much more than the breakdown she was having at her first university.
Financially it is better to leave at the end of a term otherwise student finance may want to claw back part of the terms living allowance loan.
DDs university accommodation also accepted a months notice on her accommodation before she has actually left as her course tutor emailed them to say she was leaving.
What difference is an arbitrary few weeks/months going to make if the majority of people on his course don’t speak his language?
Move ASAP. Stuff DH
He needs to speak to his tutor before doing anything else.
I'd encourage him to stay until Christmas. If needs be he has time to reapply for next year and sort his mh but he needs to bear in mind the likes of Durham are not full of northerners (and very £££) and definitely not move just for a gf. Is there any chance he could ask the accommodation office to move him , having likeminded housemates could buoy him along. At least if he can make an effort on this score and join a society or course group he will have given himself a better chance to settle.
Not as a parent but I have been the student in this situation.
I had a terrible first year. Wrote suicide notes, spent every evening locked in my room in halls doing embroidery listening to everyone else have fun.
I was a very young 18yo from a small village. I'd missed out on normal teen life because I'd been ill with cancer from 13-15 and I'd never been out drinking.
I stuck it out because I just wasn't brave enough to tell my parents or do anything else.
Things got much better in my second year when I got a house share with locals and made friends away from uni. I'm still best friends with one of them now, 25 years later.
It worked out for me but it doesn't for everyone and we're much better at talking about it now. I'd let him make his own decisions and trust that he knows what is best for him.
I think you need to get him to articulate why exactly he wants to move and if this can be changed where he is now easily- eg where he is living. Once you have done that he can make a logical decision as to next steps
I’ve been in a situation where I hated the uni and the people in my halls. I left - no regrets, no ill effects from doing it! I started another course the year after.
My sister hated her course, left, and did an internship for the rest of the year which in my honest opinion served her a lot better than sticking it out!
I did 2 years at a uni where I was incredibly miserable and I am still paying the mental cost of that 16 years later. My mum and dad encouraged me to leave rather than try to finish my course. I was failing in every possible way. If he can stick it out til Christmas with the new arrangements but is still unhappy, let him come home.
I really had to write as this rang SO many bells for me. My DB went to a top Uni in the south and by the first Christmas came home telling my parents that he didn't want to do his course anymore and was unhappy. My parents at the time had very busy careers and to there eternal shame didn't listen and told him to stick with it. It was a four year course and he struggled on for 2.5 years and then became very depressed. Cue us driving down monthly when he wasn't contacting us to insure he was still alive. He stopped paying his rent, he stopped washing and would not contact us. He had friends, who helped him spend his inheritance on booze so he felt even worse. After 3 years he dropped out of his course, so it was a total waste of time anyway.
He came home after 4 years and it took 2 years for him to sort himself out and get a good job. 16 years on he is married and happy but not having a degree has affected him career. I often as do my parents wonder would have happened if he had been allowed and supported when he came home that Christmas and said he wanted to stop. I truly believe he would have had a much easier happier life.
Please listen to your son.
My daughter had a rocky start but was brave enough to change flats and try again- now she’s doing really well! She suffers badly with anxiety too.
I know lots of students in Newcastle and it seems a fun friendly place.
I also think that if he’s prepared to change what is wrong and sort it out that is a positive thing and shows resilience. All we can do at their age is advise and support......which is hard but will empower him for the future if it turns out well as it has done for my daughter. Hugs to you, I know how hard it is going through this.
what the heck is wrong with going “up north”?
No wonder your poor son had issues if he knows his parents have that sort of attitude.
It sounds like he really clicked with a group of people and understandably he wants to be near them. I would encourage him to do what makes him happy. Life is so much more than about which university a person attended. Having said that he should not move simply for romantic reasons unless he understands that his girlfriend could end things with him.
My dd didn't finish her last year at Uni due to stress and other factors. She went to work for a few years, then went back to Uni part time and completed her degree while working. She felt better about it and was able to do things at her own pace.
Mental health is always more important. You can't get a good job if you're dead.
First term is often rubbish.
So saying a friend's daughter was unhappy for the first two years (same reasons as your son). She refused to change uni though. The last year she met her OH and now lives, after graduation and at her choice, in that city.
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