Daughter unhappy as everybody already choosing 2nd year accommodation after 8 weeks Bristol

(43 Posts)
Mindy65 Thu 27-Nov-14 13:43:09

My dd started at Bristol this term and has loved it all so far. She has been highly sociable and thrown herself in to everything. However, in the past week, she has had her confidence thrown as everybody is suddenly choosing whom they want to share with in student houses in their 2nd year. She thought she would share with people in her block in her student halls but they have made plans which don't include her - mostly because they are studying the same subject which she isn't. She has so many different friends but they don't all know each other and somehow she has fallen between stools and doesn't have anybody who has asked to share with her. We feel she shouldn't panic yet as lots of people who choose to share now (after only 8 weeks) tend to sign their contracts and then realise by the end of next term that they don't know their prospective flat mates that well and might not even like them so much. Still, it's hard for her to see and hear her peers discussing houses they have seen.
Any advice from experience of this time of year when students rush to get housing for their second year? She is now saying she isn't enjoying Bristol.

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LittleBairn Thu 27-Nov-14 13:49:15

I would tell her the same that those thinking after 8 weeks that they can plan their university time out and who they will be friends with are unlikely to stick with the same plan. Especially when its over something as arbitrary as being on the same course.
She sounds like she may be a bit emotionally immature, especially if she is now claims its ruining her time at Uni.
Does she have any particular interest that she could join or set up a group outside of the university bubble. For some it can be a bit suffocating, by creating a bigger social group for herself she could maybe settle into Bristol as a city rather than just be totally focused on Uni.

MyUserNameIsHistory Thu 27-Nov-14 13:51:42

I feel for your daughter; the pressure to find someone / somewhere to live can seem overwhelming and horror stories from students in other years can make the housing situation seem even worse. There are a lot of students in Bristol (both at the UoB and UWE) - but equally there is a lot of student accommodation! My advice would be to encourage your daughter to wait, be sure of who she wants to live with, and look for somewhere closer to Easter. There will be lots of others who don't yet have anyone to share with, they are probably just keeping quiet about it. She may have fewer potential properties to consider but she will be living with people who she likes, rather than people who are relative strangers. Please encourage your daughter to talk to her personal tutor as they will also be able to reassure her - Bristol is a fantastic place to be!

LosBreakingBad Thu 27-Nov-14 14:11:10

My son is in his final year at Bristol. I would agree with the advice to wait until the new year, at least. There's loads of accommodation for all sizes of groups. She can share with just one friend if she wants to. It's far too early to start worrying.

Mindy65 Thu 27-Nov-14 14:13:25

Thank you both for your responses. We have told her to try and be relaxed about it as those who are making initial plans now might not necessarily stick with their plans. We have already told her to go and see her personal tutor today which is good. Apparently, this is an issue which comes up every year i.e. that students have to choose so soon whom they are going to share with next year when they have only known each other for a relatively short amount of time.

Yes, it might seem that she is emotionally immature but at the same time, I can understand how an 18 year old who has thrown herself in with great enthusiasm might feel a bit crushed when people around her are talking about potential houseshares but haven't included her. Still, it does show a lack of confidence that it could upset her so much even if she might come across as being confident and sociable to the outside world.
She has lots of interests outside her academic work. She will be in a play which is coming up and she trains and plays on a sports team. She goes out a lot with people from different halls of residence as well as from her own one. I feel she might have spread herself too thin or perhaps hasn't been proactive enough herself in organising something as she assumed she would go in with some of the people she likes in her block. I do think though that there must be many other students in a similar situation but she is just unaware of them. She had been so looking forward to starting at Bristol University and thought she had got off to a great start so felt as though the carpet had been whipped from under her feet when the friends whom she thought she would go in with had already planned a house which didn't include her. We have told her to let the dust settle a bit and somehow a space in a house will come her way.

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littlesupersparks Thu 27-Nov-14 14:19:11

Personally I think she should get engaged in these conversations - because all her friends know she does lots of stuff and is sociable they may assume she already has plans. I would say something along the lines of 'ooh, what houses have you been looking at? That sounds good, what areas are you thinking of?' And be relaxed about saying 'ah, I haven't decided who to live with yet, it's early days' just make it clear. It may be that some friends have their eye on a certain house that needs an extra person, or that someone like minded also doesn't want to decided just yet. I'd just make people aware that she's not sorted though.

Mindy65 Thu 27-Nov-14 14:20:32

Thank you LosBreakingBad. Our messages crossed. Good to hear your advice as well.

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Mindy65 Thu 27-Nov-14 14:26:06

littlesupersparks….. that is exactly the advice I gave i.e. "Just relax about it and be chilled when talking about it. Say that you haven't made up your mind yet what you are doing and show in interest in any places which might come up". A few people have actually said to her that they assumed she would be sorted already as she has so many friends. That's why I feel she might have spread herself a bit thin rather than consolidating friendships. She had been so busy that she hadn't really given the house situation much thought yet.

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Littleham Thu 27-Nov-14 16:11:32

My dd is at Bristol - started same time as your dd. She is really enjoying it, but we were concerned about the same issue, as she was put in a self catering flat with year 2's and 4's. We encouraged her to get to know people in adjacent flats (with fresher's) and on her course.

When the e mail came out about going to the Accommodation Fair, she casually asked a couple of groups whether they were going and got invited along. Will see where it goes from there! As your dd is in a lot of groups, there is almost bound to be someone in a similar position. Happy for you to PM me if you want.

I'm sure it will work out.

littlesupersparks Thu 27-Nov-14 16:17:44

It will definitely work out xx

BlueStringPudding Thu 27-Nov-14 18:43:22

My DD is also at Bristol in her first year. She's planning to share with a group from her Halls and they have already been to see a couple of houses. However they are hoping for a largish house, and I think their core group will find somewhere and then seek people for any extra rooms.

So I agree that your DD's best bet is to indicate that she's still deciding what to do so that people think of her when they have a need for an extra person. Am sure the groups look more sorted than they really are from the outside..

woollyjumpers Thu 27-Nov-14 18:56:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

freedom2011 Thu 27-Nov-14 19:05:20

If all else fails, She could stay in halls. When I think back to my crappy 2nd year flat I wish I had. But to an 18 year that probably seems very uncool.

Littleham Thu 27-Nov-14 19:12:04

The second year in my dd's Bristol hall is very happy to be there, so if all else fails contact the accommodation office.

MillyMollyMama Thu 27-Nov-14 20:15:49

Don't stay in halls for a second year. It basically says you are Billy No Mates. Bristol students look for flats very early because there is not a good supply of decent flats. There is a supply of grotty flats and very average ones! Many students also want to be in Clifton or Clifton Village and the best flats get taken immediately the students get back in a January, hence the rush to sort out composition of groups now. If your DD is less concerned about where she lives, waiting and talking to others makes sense. My DD was left out by her hall "friends" too and they invited girls to join them who were known to them through school/family. However, DD shared with a brilliant group of 5 people but they sorted the group out before Christmas so they hit the ground running in January. The group of friends were studying a real mix of subjects, but they liked each other's company and were easy going. I suggest your DD starts talking to likely flat sharing students fairly soon and puts her disappointment behind her.

Mindy65 Thu 27-Nov-14 22:08:36

Thank you so much for all of your feedback. So good to hear your views on this. I spoke to my dd this evening and she sounded more cheery although I made a point of not mentioning the housing tonight as we had talked it about is so much in the past two days. Hopefully, by being relaxed and positive about it, she might hook up with a group. I think she initially felt very hurt and disappointed by her new friends in her hallway but she has been out and about a lot whilst they have been bonding in Halls more and I have pointed that out to her. I do think it's a terrible shame that this all has to happen so soon in the year as I know from my experience of university that six months in to my first year, I had a much clearer idea of who my good friends were than I did after 8 weeks.When I spoke to somebody today in her Halls who is in charge of accommodation, they said it's an issue which rears its head each year and puts quite a lot of the students under stress at this time. Thank you for being so understanding and constructive in your messages. Any more feedback aways welcome.

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MillyMollyMama Thu 27-Nov-14 23:59:53

It would be better if the university insisted that properties had to be a certain standard and maintained a list of decent and proper landlords. If there was enough decent property to go round, there would not be pressure! The university actually wrote to us, as parents, to say that flats would be available in September so you could avoid paying the summer rental when your DC is not in residence! In their dreams! Also, Clifton and Clifton Village are lovely residential areas and highly desirable. However there are bedrooms in basements, landlords who do no maintenance and flats that are damp with the wallpaper peeling off (these are called party flats).

I think the point you make about making secure friends in hall is valid and overlooked by some students. The bonds in the catered halls are strong because of the formal events and it can be easier to avoid mixing in the self catered halls because people go their own way more readily. My DD never lived with anyone from her course. The people she lived with were all friends from hall. In a flat of 6, only one was another girl so having a wide group of friends is quite important, especially when you need to slot, unexpectedly, into another group of people. However, other groups will not be fully formed and there is still time. There will be other students who have been "dropped" too.

lalsy Fri 28-Nov-14 08:24:58

My dd is deciding this at the moment - it looks as though most of the girls in her flat are going to share (they boys are keen to join them but the girls seem to feel they complicate life and don't wash up often enough smile). It will depend on what they find, though, they may need to add some to the group, or people may drop out. I think it is very early days and people are saying they are sorted to reassure themselves (even though in reality no-one has signed anything) - which makes it hard for your dd as she will have to get word out that she is not sorted - perhaps it is best to do this as breezily as possible? There will be plenty of others in the same position. I fear my dd has jumped too soon....

Mindy65 Fri 28-Nov-14 08:28:20

Thank you MillyMollyMama. She is in a catered hall and thought that she had made good friends there but at the same time, she was often out with people in other halls etc. whom she knew already or met through activities.
She said two days ago she just wanted to start all over again as she felt she had mucked this up by not consolidating within a group. Hopefully in the next weeks something will pan out.

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Mindy65 Fri 28-Nov-14 08:30:35

Thank you lalsy… have just seen your message. I think too that some people might feel they agreed too soon to go in with people and only once they have seen the houses will things become totally clear as my dd said one group went to see a house two days ago and then couldn't all agree on whether they liked it.

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Bonsoir Fri 28-Nov-14 08:35:17

My DSS1 is in his second year at Bristol and lives in a beautiful house in Clifton with a friend from his course and two medics. My advice to him last year was to make friends with someone whose parents were buying them a property and make himself into a desirable flatmate and tenant smile. We were happy to meet the owner and guarantee and pay rent direct. This has all worked out very well as the parents of one of the medics are indeed the owners of DSS1's accommodation and DP and the parent-owners met and DP signed a contract directly with them.

Littleham Fri 28-Nov-14 10:32:01

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy Bonsoir. I think that menas my dd may end up in a hovel... Don't think she knows anyone with a house!

Kez100 Fri 28-Nov-14 10:41:40

My DD has done that Bonsoir, although it wasn't as pre-planned! The family of her new best mate on her course just happened to be buying a house.

Mindy65 Fri 28-Nov-14 10:45:33

Lucky for your Bonsoir and Kez100 as having looked just now at the quality of online property for rental for students, it seems that the houses for sale look a lot nicer! I have noticed that in most cases they don't seem to have internal photos of the rental properties. Still, would rather my dd had the option of looking at rental houses with friends than not yet have a group together!

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Kez100 Fri 28-Nov-14 11:48:52

Yeah, my DD was extremely lucky. She had been asked to join others too - that in itself was very stressful because she had to "let some down" and their friendships were really only in a very early stage and quite vulnerable to taking things the wrong way. She said it was an absolutely horrible thing to have to do as she is sure she would have loved living with them as well. But she is delighted with her choice as well so she does now consider herself to have been very lucky.

For rents her parents are following the standard student rent overall for the house and splitting it into slightly different amounts per room as the rooms vary in size. Just hope it all comes together and the sale goes through!

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