DD hates her uni course - advice please!

(35 Posts)
debjud Tue 21-Oct-14 14:42:55

Four weeks into her course, DD is having a great social life at uni, is on sports teams and has joined a couple of other groups. Is having a great time - BUT - says she thinks she is on the wrong course, hates quite a lot of it (and likes some of it). - RG uni.

I have suggested to her that she speaks to her personal tutor within the dept, to see how the bits she hates fit into the the whole 3 (or 4) years to give her some perspective. But I also wondered if there was a course she could change onto and have suggested she looks into that too.

On the one hand, it is very early days. On the other hand, if she was to change (and was accepted), I suppose sooner rather than later would be preferable.

She has a history of this whenever there is change - when she started gcse's, A levels (changed A level at xmas in y12) and now this. However, she also ended up with 3 x A*'s so I suppose feels somewhat vindicated)

I think I was a bit short with her on the phone, because part of me thinks that while I am v pleased she's so happy with the rest of uni life, I'm also paying for accommodation - and it's not just for partying and cricket....

Would be v interested to hear from anyone else who has had the same situation, perhaps with older DC's

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bohoec Tue 21-Oct-14 14:48:49

Not the same situation with DCs, but personally, when I started uni 15 years ago. It took me until the spring semester to really feel fully settled to be honest, but looking back it was the best thing my mum ever did to encourage me to stay the full year. FWIW I went on to do an MA a few years after I graduated, back at the same university in a related subject. First impressions aren't always right, particularly for someone who doesn't adapt to change easily.

The first year is largely about testing your basic knowledge of your subject, adapting to the responsibility of independent study and getting used to living away from home IMO. I think it's too early for your DD to jump ship. Perhaps meet her halfway and agree to discuss her options at Christmas, once she's spoken to a tutor as you have suggested?

mum9876 Tue 21-Oct-14 14:57:59

I think it'd be worth speaking to her tutor. Quite a few people changed when I was uni, usually to a joint major instead.

I think if you pursue something you're not enjoying, the danger is that you'll get a lower grade qualification out of it, and then won't be able to go on to convert to another direction at MA level. That's pretty much what happened to me. I'd used up any funding I could get for a first degree and couldn't get onto an MA course with a 2:2.

MsHerodotus Tue 21-Oct-14 18:27:17

I really hated my course choice when I got to university, luckily was easily able to change as we did three subjects in the first year. And I had also changed at GCSE, and at A level, like your DD.
If she can change - go ahead. If not, is a more serious decision.
But I strongly feel that you have to have a real interest in the subject, and if you don't is counter productive to continue.
FWIW, I have very happy with the changes I made at all those stages - it tallies with my genuine interests even today, 25 years later...

Nosy67 Tue 21-Oct-14 18:46:02

What is the course? What does she hate?

YouAreAMouseInAMaze Tue 21-Oct-14 18:48:56

A lot of people take time to settle in. The whole 'amazing freshers' thing is a bit of a myth ime. Then there's getting used to a new way of learning - very different from school. Give it until at least Easter.

debjud Tue 21-Oct-14 18:49:01

It's Product Design - within the School of Engineering. She particularly chose this course because while it didn't require a maths or science A level (which she hasn't got), it offered a maths and electronics module which she felt was 'real world'. Now I think she's struggling with this and she also says that what they're 'designing' is boring and old fashioned. I have suggested as well as talking this through, she flags up the difficulty with the maths.

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debjud Tue 21-Oct-14 18:50:26

Mouse - but wouldn't it be too late to change then, if she decided that's what she wanted to do?

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debjud Tue 21-Oct-14 18:53:22

She is also one of only 5 girls amongst a group of 30 - which I suspect has also got something to do with it. She says that a lot of them are confident with the engineering side, so lack of confidence.

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YouAreAMouseInAMaze Tue 21-Oct-14 19:20:36

She could start again in September. I did this. TBH a lot of people feel that they've done the wrong course at this point - it's only been a month. I think it's too early to know you've made the wrong decision in October. You don't really know anyone, you feel underconfident, you're getting used to a new environment etc.

debjud Tue 21-Oct-14 19:32:06

.... and taking on an extra 9k in debt .....

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UptheChimney Wed 22-Oct-14 21:37:36

She needs to talk to her Personal Tutor.

And then she needs to give it a proper go. I am a bit aghast at her comment that what they're 'designing' is boring and old fashioned It may be that they need to learn the basics before they can do the groovy stuff. I find that 18 year olds who aren't particularly mature tend to think this way. It drives me crazy: you need to learn and master the basics before you can do the new stuff.

As any musicviamn, elite athlete or artist (such as a musician) will tell you: you have to keep doing the fundamentals every single day of your life. Scales, sprints, push ups, whatever ... you have to master the apparently "boring" stuff before you can do the amazing stuff.

So she really needs to think about this. It sounds to me as though she hasn't quite found her focus, and has spent too much time on socialising and sports. These are great things to do while you're at university, but that's not what you're there for.

But most students eventually settle down: she needs to give it a term at least.

MillyMollyMama Wed 22-Oct-14 23:35:48

I think I would be worried that Maths and Electronics modules at degree level were really for people with at least a maths and possibly physics A level. Engineering Schools usually design courses which require a science background although I know Product Design can be more arts focused. How did she think she would cope with the maths and electronics? The real world is looking a bit tough at the moment!

It is not always possible to change courses. The course she wants may be full but it is worth asking. Can she swap modules or are they compulsory? Failing this, she may need to knuckle down for the year and change after that. It is better than failing!

catslife Fri 24-Oct-14 09:40:22

Has your dd studied Product Design before OP? dd is taking this subject for GCSE and there are only 2 girls taking this subject in a class of 20. (This is double the number of girls than the previous year though). So the low number of girls wouldn't be unusual.
It can often be possible to swap degree courses (usually within the same department) at the end of the first year if a student has taken a module combination that allows this, passes the first year exams and has the right A level combination to meet the entry requirements of the new course.
Without either A level Maths or Sciences though there may not be other courses (or modules) within the Engineering department that she could swap to. Changing to a completely different degree course in a different department may not be possible without reapplying, but if there are other degree courses at the same university for which she meets the entry requirements, it would be worth asking.

debjud Fri 24-Oct-14 09:49:59

Thanks to all replies - really helpful, and confirming my view really that she should hang on in there at the moment.

MillyMollyMama - the maths module is for people on the course who haven't done maths a level (well at least those with maths a level have the option to elect to do another course in that time).

catslife - Yes, she did PD at GCSE and A level - but she was at a girls' school, and there were 11 in the A level group (and 2 groups at gcse!) - I think this was largely due to a very enthusiastic Head of Department and great teaching. She started the 6th form wanting to do Theatre Design (hence the choice of PD, English, Philosophy,) but changed her mind half way through - because she 'wants to make a difference in the world'. (her words)

UpThe Chimney - yes, no doubt it is due to immaturity - but how do you stop an 18 year old being immature?

I've told her that the next time I speak/hear from her, I want to know that she's spoken to her tutor, or the date and time that that appointment is.

It's never 'job done', is it? They get the A levels, the university place, then......

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UptheChimney Fri 24-Oct-14 16:42:43

I've told her that the next time I speak/hear from her, I want to know that she's spoken to her tutor, or the date and time that that appointment is

Or ....

You could stop monitoring her and let her fall -- just a little way ... That is really hard, IME, so you need to see if there's a way you can get to take responsibility and if she doesn't let her fail, just a little bit. It's finding the right opportunity to do that which is hard.

debjud Fri 24-Oct-14 17:40:57

Yes - I don't exactly monitor her - she phones me up and tells me all this - and I do wish sometimes she would just get on with sorting it out. Anyway, that's what I've told her to do now - sort it out herself - we'll see!

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UptheChimney Fri 24-Oct-14 17:50:35

I hope she does -- good luck!

PurpleAlert Tue 28-Oct-14 18:32:54

Hi debjud- My DD is doing product design at Loughborough. (I think I remember you from another post- where did your DD end up?)

DD went in with maths A'level and PD (and English). She was told that physics was not necessary if she had maths. She was originally going to do Industrial design but they persuaded her to do PD instead as it is a BSc and she hoped it might have a little more cudos with employers later on.

It is a tough course. Loads of lectures. Some of her friends on other courses have very few lectures but she is kept really busy (which she prefers) but she is struggling a bit with the electronics. Tutors seem to just give them the work and get on with it. Luckily she has fellow PD students who have done physics A level and they are helping her with it but she has been shocked as to how little help she is offered from the faculty on a subject she hasn't studied since GCSE.

Is there an option for your DD to switch to Industrial design? -tends to be less maths and physics and many of the PD/ID courses are similar in the first year.

debjud Tue 28-Oct-14 20:01:42

Hi purple - Thanks for your post - I do remember you! My DD went to Leeds - was her first choice. As I said originally - she loves life there, it's just the course....

However, just today, she phone to tell me that she's got a meeting with learning support tomorrow (she does have a few issues around that too) and I'm hoping she'll organise to see her dept tutor soon - trying not to push and stay out of it - she really needs to get control of this herself.

I will, however, mention Industrial Design to her. Not sure really - her interests are around the environment, ergonomics, third world etc. But no harm in raising it. She is particularly struggling with lectures - can't sit still in them ...

How is your DD finding Loughborough?

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PurpleAlert Wed 29-Oct-14 07:24:41

Hi debjud DD has a friend at Leeds and she is really enjoying it too.
My DD is absolutely loving Loughborough- was always the first choice from the minute she walked into the campus on the open day there a year ago.
Social life is great and she has made loads of friends.
Hope your DD sorts out her course. Not easy dealing with upset offspring when they are so far away but you have to let go of the reigns and let them sort it out for themselves!

wingcommandergallic Wed 29-Oct-14 07:33:35

My sister was similar.
Completed the first year of her degree at one uni then 2 weeks into 2nd year, she decided she didn't like the uni and wanted to come home. DM wouldn't ket her come until she had found another uni place. Luckily she managed to transfer to a local uni and keep credits gained in her first year.

Encouraging your DD to sort it out herself is the way to go but I'm betting it will improve dramatically next term.

Spickle Wed 29-Oct-14 07:51:05

My DD came home at the end of the first year and told me she didn't like her course, even though she loved the social life. Unfortunately, she was too late to change to another course and so she spent the next year at home, working part time, before going through the whole UCAS procedure once again for the following year (and another £9000!). She is enjoying her new course (also new Uni) and is now in her second year so fingers crossed she actually finishes this time!

I do think it would be better for your DD to voice her concerns to her tutor and see if she can change courses sooner rather than later. Unfortunately, if she doesn't feel confident on this course and, of course, it could get better or it might not and if she doesn't make a decision until next summer, it may be too late to swap onto a course to start in September.

debjud Wed 29-Oct-14 09:34:30

Yes - thanks to you all. When she was at home, we would talk through school problems together (of which there were a number!) and then make a plan together - which she would implement in one way or another. So now I just get the occasional upset phone call (and many many texts) and am just left with it.

I guess she just has to go through that and come out the other end - part of growing up and taking control of her life. Still hasn't made an appt to see her tutor as far as i know......

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Greengrow Wed 29-Oct-14 11:17:01

If she is going to change course within the same university the sooner the better as she could still stick with this year group and move to a different subject if they have space for her. It needs to be addressed urgently and she also needs to think how the new choice will fit into whatever career plans she has.

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