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DS/DD off to Uni? - Empty nest support thread

(1000 Posts)
rustybear Thu 31-Aug-06 20:09:19

DS is off to Warwick in October - anyone else feeling old? Or are there any old hands with advice ?

mumof3teens Thu 31-Aug-06 21:35:54

A friend lent me a book - "What every parent should know before their child goes to university". I think it was by Jane Bidder? I found it very useful with lots of practical tips. Re contact - we agreed on 1 email (Fridays) and a phone call (mondays) as a minimum, which seems to have worked well throughout the year. It was quite hard at first not to ring to check he was OK, but we let him settle in first.

PretendFriend Thu 31-Aug-06 21:40:01

How far is Warwick from you, rb? Our first chick went to Leeds, which is about 1-1¼ hours drive from here which is reassuringly near but not too close!

It was 5 years ago and I can't remember what we did about contact, but IIRC there was some every week although not by appointment; also she would text her sister more regularly than us so at least we knew she was OK!

rustybear Thu 31-Aug-06 22:10:00

About 1.5 hours I think. I suspect I'll get to hear more from DS via DD than directly - but at least if I'm on MSN I'll see when he's online & therefore not dead in a ditch somewhere - even if I don't actually talk to him!

mumof3teens Fri 01-Sep-06 10:09:35

I know it may seem trite but I think it is at this stage that you really realise that your DS & DD aren't with you forever - end of an era - but also very exciting for them (& you). It is great to hear how they are getting on. DS sent us a copy of his first 6 week timetable, which helped. I have also found that the three of them are much better friends with that bit of distance between them...

rustybear Fri 01-Sep-06 10:46:45

Yes I remember I suddenly started getting on a lot better with my sister (18 months older & we fought like cat & dog for most of our chilhood!)after she went off to Uni.
I'm now wondering when we'll get the letter confirming the loans - I think some of Ds's friends have it already, but we're a different authority from many of them & we did put it in pretty much at the last minute, as it took ages to get some financial details.

tallulah Fri 01-Sep-06 11:07:25

DS1 is off to Strathclyde in a couple of weeks. As we are in Kent he couldn't have gone much further if he'd tried

He is our second to go, and it doesn't feel quite so bad as when DD went 2 years ago. I think it got to me more when we were doing the visiting rounds and I had a sudden panic of "I don't want him to go". It'll certainly be odd when he's gone, but we are waiting to see if the food/ fuel bills go down!

Judy1234 Fri 01-Sep-06 21:12:24

It's not so bad here - 3 at university, but one living at home and 2 much smaller ones with another 10 years at home so doesn't feel anything like an empty nest and sometimes I wish they didn't spend 50% of the year at home.

Flutterbyzz Sat 02-Sep-06 08:27:27

My eldest daughter is off to uni in two weeks. I'm obviously really proud of her and want her to go off and be independant, have fun etc BUT I dont want her to go, I'll really miss her. She'll only be an hours drive away and we've organised to chat on MSN, she'll send me texts and phone etc but I feel as if my little girl is leaving and when I see her again she'll be different and my little girl will be gone

Frizbe Sat 02-Sep-06 08:34:22

On the one hand you have my sympathies (on the other hand you can have one of my little ones come and stay if you like ) it must be soo hard seeing them go off into their new lives, but look on the brightside and enjoy it whilst you can, you'll be able to go and stay with them now, visit lots of nice new exciting places for free as they move around for the next 10 years or so, and it also means that grandkids could be in the offing if they meet a 'nice young man' so bar you having to fork out for the expensive wedding after uni, you'll soon have a house full of little cherubs again, only this time ones you can give back
On the downside, they may well ring you for cash, say 'NO' or if you do say yes, do not make it a habit, or else when they finish they'll be back home with a vengance (my auntie had to physically downsize her house to get rid of her youngest son, who was 32 and not leaving....)

Lilymaid Sat 02-Sep-06 18:43:33

DS1 going into 2nd year at Nottingham (DS2 doing GCSEs next year so he will be leaving 3 years down the line). I did miss DS1 a little, but remembered how I felt when I went to university and wanted to cut free from my family a little. So we didn't contact him more than once a week by phone and only e-mailed when we had something specific to deal with (usually money).
However, when DS2 goes, I expect I'll feel very much the empty-nester even though I know that they must take their steps to independence some time.

mumof3teens Sat 02-Sep-06 18:58:21

LilyMaid - DS1 and DS2 must be in the same school yr as yours, so we will also be going through "losing" DS2 in 3 years. However we have DS3, who is just going into yr9, so we have 5 years before we have a totally "empty nest" (although DS1 may be back home by then!) I am not really looking forward to DS3 leaving, but I'm sure lots of new challenges/adventures will come along.

redsky Sun 03-Sep-06 02:24:00

Ds originally wanted to go to university in Melbourne Australia (we have family there) but I vetoed that as too far. Next choice was St Andrews!!! (Not quite as far as Aus but not very practical from Surrey)
I'm thrilled he's off to Nottingham soon - only 4 hours away!

Judy1234 Sun 03-Sep-06 15:10:55

My second one is at Nottingham too. She's really enjoying it. When her older sister left for university it wasn't such a huge wrench nor the next one and in September the third one partly because I work full time and the girls were very independent and often out on their own. Hopefully when my 7 year olds leave for university in 11 years I might be a grandmother.

gillymum Tue 05-Sep-06 10:59:43

Any advice about getting through the trip to leave DS at uni without making an eejit of myself and spoiling his street cred in front of new friends?

He's off to gb and we live in ni, so no jumping in the car if he's in diffs. I'll miss him so much I just cry every time i think about it.

I know all the stuff about how much he'll enjoy it as i just graduated myself a few years ago as a v mature student - but the emotions overwhelm me - which is probably partly due to hormones. Would rescue remedy help??

mumof3teens Tue 05-Sep-06 19:24:00

Gillymum - The time I felt most tearful last year was when we had helped DS1 unpack and were driving off. He looked so small and vulnerable (he isn't really - he's over 6ft!) I think you should try to arrange to keep busy and give yourself a treat just after he has gone - the tearful feeling didn't last long, although I still don't look forward to him going back after hols etc. I think it helps to talk to someone in the same boat (friends or MN).
I would ask him to email or ring you 2 or 3 days after he starts - it will give him enough time to have made a few friends/settled in a little.

Btw the Sunday Times is doing a Uni survival guide next week (running for 3 weeks I think)

Lilymaid Wed 06-Sep-06 15:16:44

First year students are generally reasonably well looked after in halls of residence. 2nd years move into grotty student houses in dubious areas - then you start worrying!

gillymum Wed 06-Sep-06 21:00:43

Thanks for the advice. I'm not really worried about him as such as I know that there's a v good support network where he's going.

I think it's just the moment of parting. It's been a bad year for us with illnesses etc. and this is the last straw. Also, everyone keeps saying 'Oh - you're going to miss him so much!' I know I will!!! Please don't mention it!! I think I'll get a sign printed and hang it round my neck.

Will get the Times and will let you know how it goes.

Many thanks

karen8 Thu 07-Sep-06 09:17:48

I can really sympathise here. I am just looking at Uni's with my 17 year old DS and it is making me really sad. Of course I am happy for him and know that this is the next step etc etc, but I also feel really tearful every time I think of him leaving home and know I will miss him like mad. I feel like my home will be a sadder place without him, which it undoubtedly will.

I have a 6 month old DS too, so it's not like I'll have an empty nest, but somehow that isn't helping at the moment. I guess it's just something I'll have to get through but it's goodd to read other people's thoughts and experiences on here.

gillymum Thu 07-Sep-06 11:31:52

Thanks Karen8. It's great to know that others feel the same. I feel exactly like you. DS is calm and laid back with good soh - I can have a relaxed conversation with him without all the repeating and explaining I have to do with DH!

I've been looking at all the activities that the student assoc at his uni have lined up for fresher's week and I'm really cheered to see that they'll be partying every night! I'm also looking at cheap flights for the Christmas break so that gives me a timeframe.

It'll be OK once he's gone - it's just the parting

mumeeee Sat 09-Sep-06 15:13:37

Hi everyone.
My eldest DD is 19 and starting her second year at uni at the end of September.
She really enjoyed uni and made a lot of friends in her halls. Tell your Ds to prop his door open when he first moves into halls, that way he won't cut himself off from others. Alsomake the most of the freshers week and sighn up for any activities he is interested in. This will help him settle into uni life and make more friends. I did fel a bit said when she went but soon got used to it. It helped that she was only a short way a away. She went to Cardiff Uni and that is where we live. It was her choice to go into halls and I think it was good for, she has matured a lot in the last year.
She is now sharing a private house with 4 friends from Uni, she moved in last weekend as they had to start paying full rent from the 1st September. I found it strange her moving out again and was a bit tearful last weekend. Because as Lillymaid said they are looked after in halls and there is always someone on site if anything goes wrong. She now has to sort everything out herself ,although the landlord is only a couple of streets a way from them.
Anyway she is having a great time. Already spending money on her roomand her student loan has not even gone in yet! She bought an arial for her TV which she needed and a freeview box that she just wanted! She has also biught some curtains as she doesn't like the blinds that are already provided. Oh well Sshe is doing some extra hours at work so she still has some money in the bank.

Lilymaid Sun 10-Sep-06 15:51:31

Recommendation for first day - they will be worried about making new friends. As Mumeeee said, tell DS to keep his door open as he unpacks and to say hello to anyone passing. I provided DS with a chocolate cake and DH gave him a bottle of Vodka (perhaps he shouldn't have done but ...). Both were consumed by him with his new friends on the corridor on the first night and friendships developed from there!

mumof3teens Sat 16-Sep-06 18:52:08

Feel v sad - just back from dropping DS1 back at Uni. He is in a house this year (chosen by him and his 6 friends last Jan) and it looks awful - dirty carpets, mould on the walls. broken tiles etc etc. This is what makes me sad. I couldn't believe my eyes (or nose). Wanted to give it a good clean, but DH said leave it. DS1 seemed surprised at my reaction.

Lilymaid Sun 17-Sep-06 16:31:04

I dropped off my DS at his student slum earlier this week. Not too mouldy, but smelt rather musty. As he too is sharing with 6 other boys, I can't imagine that much cleaning will take place. Still it had a microwave, freezer and central heating - which is more than I had in my student house.

WhereDidTheYearsGo Tue 19-Sep-06 11:06:20

Hi. I dropped my dd off on Friday. I am happy for her and know she will be fine, but even today suddenly found myself bursting into tears. I'm not a bad mum, but can't help regretting every time I was "too busy" for her and wishing I had made the most of every moment. I have 2 younger children so it's not really an empty nest, but this has hit me harder than I imagined.

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