Daughter about to drop out of uni(53 Posts)
My daughter is a bit of a quiet soul and has just started at Manchester Uni. She's coping with the course but is finding life so difficult in the halls that she's now talking of leaving. She's in a "flat" with three others and whilst the two boys are OK, the girl in the room next door is proving to be a nightmare. She has lots of friends over every night and the noise they make is totally unreasonable in my opinion. It's now 11pm and my daughter has just phoned. The noise from the next room is clearly audible even over the telephone and my daughter is in tears as she has an important presentation to give tomorrow. She says she's been unable to study and unable to sleep for days as the noise goes on into the early hours. She's complained to the halls of residence but they've done nothing.
Any advice on how to handle this one?
Has she tried phoning or emailing Nightline? They are a student run (national) helpline that give informal counselling as well as practical suggestions (which hospital has an A & E for example). I know they have one at Manchester Uni as DS1 volunteered there and eventually trained others as volunteers.
Might be good as it's informal and won't involve going to the formal Uni counselling services.
Betelgeuse I'm afraid to say I would be surprised if an extension was granted due to claiming sleeplessness and noise in halls affected her work. It would probably need more than a log from her; I would expect her to be asked for independent evidence that the noise was a significant problem, otherwise lots of people would just be able to make this claim and get extensions. The best tack is to work on getting into different accommodation. The upside is that early pieces of work are not likely to be formally assessed and if they are will probably have a low weighting compared to later work, so if she doesn't do as well as hoped for it won't have much impact in the long run.
I remember writing an article in a university journal about noise or it might have even been a poem - it was all about how we should rise with the sun and go to bed when it was dark. As you can imagine that did not quite fit in with university student ethos.. plus ca change.
Your daughter has to "man" up and deal with it. Loads of good advice. Complain. Ear plugs. Wave Agreement. Move to another flat. Put up with it. Whatever she does, leaving the actual course is not an Option.
My daughter (no4 child) also a first year, is also going through similiar crap with her flatmates in Halls. However she is the eldest in the Flat by two years and has really used this to effect as they are always asking her how to cook something or how to get around London etc. After a particularly rowdy night, she charged out her room into the kitchen and really blasted the others! She was so mad at not getting any sleep, felt she had tolerated it long enough and just (according to her) became "me/parent". Having told them they were inconsiderate, thoughtless, selfish gits - and a few other choice words. They cleared up and went to their respective rooms. The next day there was a box of chocs outside her door and loads of sheepish apologies. No trouble since. They have all been out together for a meal.
I am sorry but we kinda sniggered when we heard her moaning about the noise but told her that she had to deal with it.
My dd is at another northern uni, in private halls with severe restrictions on having guests there after 8pm "so that people can sleep" she is next to a party flat where people are knocking on the door and having drunken conversations in the hallway at 3am. the walls are paper thin - she is not getting to sleep until the early hours then is unable to get up and has been missing her 9am session starts. Last night was compounded by the security guy coming up to knock on their door in the early hours to tell them people were complaining, so they turned it down for a bit then back up again.
She's been to see the student advisers who rang the hall - they are letting her look at a room in a post grad block, fingers crossed as this has been a huge problem for her.
Get your dd to log the problem - mine was reluctant to do so - but halls have rules and people persistently breaking them need to be clamped down on.
My son started in temporary student accommodation which was a room in a prviate family house on the top floor. It was really quiet.
I usd to go to sleep at 10 at university. I always always used wax ear plugs. Also these days you can probably buy head phones she could sleep in too. Also consider if she wants to come home every weekend if you can afford that and block book train tickets. If it keeps her attending it might be worth it.
Or she could move into some very old lady's spare room if she is a solitary silent sort of person and that might resolve things.
How's it going? FWIW, I have heard that many Manchester students find the halls very noisy and struggle to deal with it after coming from a family home, so she may well not be as alone as she feels.
How are things with your daughter now Scorpio57 ?
I had a similar problem when I was at uni many years ago and landed up sleeping on a friends floor until we could get a flat.
Try to get a transfer, if possible. I know many Uni's have had spare accommodation this year due to the reduction in student numbers as both my nephews at top uni's have been given twin rooms on their own as there is so much available. It may not be like that everywhere but it must be worth a shot.
I can't believe people saying that she doesn't need to take her first year studies seriously and she should get with it and party. So many kids spend their first year partying, believing that because they got good A level results everything will be fine in the end - they may find out later on that actually if you don't do well, unlike school, you get kicked out at university. There were quite a few casualties at my dd's uni.
If your dd is conscientious, she probably wants to do well right from the start and that is to be commended in my opinion. There is so much emphasis on the 'student experience' whatever that is. I paid something like £6,500 upfront in accommodation fees for my dd, so if she hadn't been able to work I would not have been happy tbh. That was just accommodation, so if you add in the current £9,000 in fees and the £4 - 5 thousand in living costs it's a very expensive student experience, in my opinion.
I hope your dd sorts things out. She mustn't give up, as that would be a crying shame.
Sympathique and waspspider- I'm with you. Many comments here seem to suggest it's the girl's problem - she isn't settling, or doesn't know how to have fun, or needs to buy earplugs and put up with it. Really, she is paying the same accom. costs as the others and shouldn't have to put up with this. There is nothing wrong with her attitude or thoughts on this. In "outside life" there would an environmental health issue about noise late at night disturbing other people - my daughter in first year halls regularly had her flatmates coming in at 2-3am with other drunk students, and carrying on the partying until 5am+. Why should she have to put up with that? She didn't choose to be in a flat with folk who wanted to party all the time. If our neighbours were doing it, we would not be simply telling each other to buy ear-plugs.
I hope she can get a transfer to somewhere that is a little less noisy. If she is enjoying the course and fine with being away from home but is finding the lifestyles of her flatmates ruining her sleep and sense of well-being, then she needs to talk to accommodation officers or student welfare.
Lots of students struggle to adapt and take a while to settle. Some of the 'party' ones are probably acting this role to cover up their insecurities.
There are usually lots of different avenues of support. Mostly if these are used fully, things can be resolved. As well as accommodation service, counselling and personal tutor already mentioned most unis have a non-denominational chaplaincy.
At all of the unis I have worked out, they offered additional support to all students (including those with no faith). At my current uni, the faith centre seems to be the social hub for quieter and 'lost' students. Even if your DD has no religion, it could be another source of support.
As a last resort, if your DD loves the course and uni, but really can't get the accommodation sorted, then leave of absence would be better than dropping out. She could then spent the year finding a better place to live without having to reapply next year.
Hang on, I'm behind the times, it's £3000/term, isn't it? Plus living accommodation costs. That's one expensive term-long party.
& I just wanted you to know that there's nothing wrong with your daughter taking work seriously from day 1 - no, she doesn't have to 'relax' if she doesn't want to. She is not headed for a work-generated breakdown - I promise, I've seen 2 kids go through with her attitude - and their friends. She deserves to go far. And also I agree with you that noise so loud that it can be heard from down the phone IS excessive at any time of day: she's not over-reacting. (How much are these noisy oiks paying for partying? £1000 a term? Are they mad?) Hope she manages to find like-minded people. They exist, lots of them. Bless you both.
Just wanted to let you know that your daughter isn't the only one feeling like this. Mine is a quiet only-child, and has just started at university. She's seriously struggling with the communal living side of things, and has nothing in common with her flatmates. It's hard when they are feeling so miserable. I would think your daughter has a good case for requesting a move if she's so unhappy. I've been trying to get mine to go the student counselling service for some advice on how to cope, but she doesn't think this will help. I'm afraid it might just be a matter of braving it for a year, with plenty of weekends home, and then hopefully getting a house with like-minded friends next year.
Tell her to ask if she can move to a quieter flat although 11pm is not late for students. As others have said what about earplugs?It takes awhile to settle down with everyone at uni so I would suggest she doesn't quit yet. DD1 didn't like 2 of hewr flatmates when she first went to uni. She is now 25 and they are still the best of friends.
It would be such a shame to drop out especially if she's good St and enjoying the course.
Can she contact the accommodation people and apply to move rooms? Sone rooms will be vacant now by others dropping out/changing their minds about halls. Or could she put up a notice looking for a room in a house nearer to the Uni (if halls won't charge her all year) or move into private halls which tend to have quieter people in as they are people who didn't want the "rough and tumble" of some Uni halls.
Personally I think making lots of complaints about your flat mate won't make much change but will make you unpopular - that's not fair of course but some students go to Uni mainly for the fun aspect in the first term and knuckle down there after.
She will need to compromise a bit though, no room is going to be like living at home and you can't try to force others to live to your home rules so maybe ear plugs and focusing on not stressing the small stuff would help. Can a presentation 3 weeks into the first year really be that important?
This is where I lived as a Manchester student. Admittedly it was Uni run then but it was lovely, with a really friendly studious atmosphere and a mix of interesting people.
Might be worth asking if there are any nursing/ midwifery students with the same problems at the accommodation office. Or if someone can take her place, a room in a family house might be an option? Often see those advertised in the nicer areas of Chorlton etc.
Talk to the girl
and a very loud stereo at 5am - with the speakers pointed at the joining wall.
To be fair the OP didn't say her daughter's neighbours were drunk just that they had friends over very late ,if they were out clubbing that would presumably be better because they would be out ,the problem is that they are socialising in their own rooms which presumably is cheaper.
Like you say it's all about compromise but most 18 year olds would not regard 11pm as late and that's just a reality.
Hopefully the OP can pass some advice on to her daughter , it would be such a shame is she were to drop out.
A certain amount of noise is sadly normal. My DCs have been in the same situation. They do have to compromise and accept that some other students can only have fun if they have drunk a lot and stay out late, thus making a noise on their return. However, I do think that after Freshers they should be more considerate.
I am surprised at the poster(s) that infer that masses of noise is normal and is what is to be expected! Not everyone has the finances or inclination to go out most nights. There has though been some brilliant advice too which I shall pass on to my DC. So thank you.
If the ear plugs don't work, have you tried pillow speakers. These can be linked to an iPod or any device and you put them under your pillow. So then at least they have something else to listen to rather than the external noise and they don't have to wear headphones. The problem is that when they tired everything else seems so much worse and it can just escalate.
I hope her presentation went well. It is easy to say that it is only the first year and not to get too stressed, but at least the OP won't be posting in May/June before the exams that her DD wished she had done more work in the first term!
University life is all about compromise and that has to happen on both sides!
Would second the idea of speaking to the accomodation office and asking for a transfer . My ds1 has also just started at a big University in a northern city after leaving a quiet market town in a county with no big cities at all .Am slightly bemused at the moment that my politically active , thoughtful ds has turned overnight into a party animal , I think he is also a bit bemused but is going with the flow which I think is for the best, I am sure it will settle , many people meet their best friends at University in term 2 not one.
Once lectures get underway properly she will meet other like minded souls , also she should join societies that interest her and she will meet others . I have to say though that most students are fairly nocturnal in thefirst term of the first year.
What subject is she doing , I know that at ds university they put vocational degrees eg nursing together as they are working shifts etc.otherwise you are all lumped in.
My ds is also slightly concerned about the amount of work but they need to learn to prioritise and understand that at this stage most students will have work at the bottom
I'm ex Manchester (a long time ago) and second the advice given above. I also found the counselling service brilliant when I needed them and still draw on things I learnt about myself/coping strategies in those sessions. In my first year I was on a hall floor with a group of girls that I just didn't get on with (apart from one who's still a really good friend but she moved off as the others made her so unhappy) and at times that's bloody miserable. We didn't have mobiles (I know, that old) and the blasted phone used to go at all hours but my calls would be hung up by some of the girls so theirs could come through! There are lots of student accommodation options in the city and because the student body is so large finding someone to click with is very possible but it can feel very daunting. I came close to not wanting to go back after Christmas in my 1st year but I'm so so glad I did as from there it got so much better!
Sorry about your husband. That's a lot of very big events in a short time. Good luck to your daughter, hopefully whichever choice she makes will see her end up happy in the short and long term.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.