Feeling guilty about "leaving my family behind" when I go to uni

(13 Posts)
SecondYearGirl Wed 21-Sep-16 22:14:27

Hi all. I'm not a parent, I'm 19 and about to start my 2nd year at uni. Ever since I started university I have struggled with feeling really guilty about leaving my parents and sister behind at home while I'm away. Almost like a reverse empty nest feeling if you will - I feel bad about giving my family the empty nest feeling.

It means my sister doesn't have a sibling around, and my parents can get quite lonely - I am always under the impression that their marriage is starting to show signs of struggling these days. I'm really close with both my parents and so I feel bad about being so far away - I'm a 5 hour drive or 2 and a half hours on the train from home so visiting often isn't possible because of really expensive tickets.

I know I shouldn't feel like this because moving on is just a normal part of life, but it's something I really struggle with. I have told my parents I feel this way and they tell me I'm being silly and that of course they want me to move on with my life, I shouldn't worry about them. Any advice from a parent-who-isnt-my-parent's point of view?

Thanks if you even got to the end of this long ramble smile

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WittyPutDown Thu 22-Sep-16 01:17:02

All,my kids are at Uni and I miss them when they are away but I'd hate for them to feel bad for leaving. Even if I do feel a tiny bit sorry for myself it makes me happy that they are off out enjoying themselves and doing something positive with their lives. Don't waste your time feeling guilty about leaving home. It's a pointless emotion unless you actually have done something to feel guilty about. wink
The best thing you can do for your parents is to look after yourself, work hard and have fun. The occasional phone call won't go amiss though grin

MrsBartlet Thu 22-Sep-16 06:35:39

My dd is also just about to start her second year. I miss her madly when she is away but the thing that makes it ok is knowing she is enjoying herself and making the most of all the opportunities that come her way. If you are happy, your parents will be happy.

Phaedra11 Thu 22-Sep-16 08:00:02

Parenting eventually leads to a point where those little people who needed us for everything , grow up and can look after themselves. Even if they don't go to university the independence manifests itself in some other way. It would be awful if that never happened!

It is painful for us as parents but there is compensation in seeing our children flourish and grow. I miss my DS but am so pleased he's moving on and developing. You can't turn back time and become that needy child again. Even if you were living at home your parents would have to deal with the transition. They may have issues to deal with now. That's not your responsibility. And it can be easier to be a lovely grown up daughter from a distance anyway! Give them quality time in the holidays when you can, send them lovely messages from university.

Regarding your sister, she will be growing up herself soon. You can be a wonderful role model in a way you wouldn't be if you made personal sacrifices and stayed at home.

Also, I would ask myself why I felt personally responsible for my parents happiness. It may just be because you are a lovely, sensitive young woman but do watch out if anyone in the family is playing on that and trying to manipulate you - consciously or not.

DoItTooJulia Thu 22-Sep-16 08:05:32

Go and don't look back! (In a nice way) you are NOT responsible for their happiness and if you went back home it wouldn't magically all be better.

You have your whole life ahead of you and right now you need to throw yourself into uni. Get the best grades, make great friends and experience things. I am the oldest too, so I do know how you feel. But honestly, you get one (expensive) shot at this, so do it to the best of your abilities. Stay in touch, go home in the holidays but remember that they want your life to be amazing-and for that to happen, you need to take the opportunity in front of you.

I hope it all settles down op. flowers

AverageGayLadAtChristmas Thu 22-Sep-16 08:10:08

I've just started my first year! Mumsnet has basically said to me too - Just enjoy it! Throw yourself into as much as possible as you only do it once smileflowers

sentia Thu 22-Sep-16 08:14:04

That's not very sustainable. Did they bring you up in a way that primes you to feel like the parent - expecting you to be the responsible one, behaving like children in front of you, etc?


MrsMargoLeadbetter Thu 22-Sep-16 08:16:57

You sound very caring OP.

I am sure they'd want you to enjoy yrself.

How often are you in contact with them? We have a family (am 40 yr old Mum, not a student) Whatsapp group which is good for sharing snippets of life. Do/could you do similar?

MrsMargoLeadbetter Thu 22-Sep-16 08:18:00

And yes, you are not responsible for their happiness.


ZaZathecat Thu 22-Sep-16 08:35:01

Your OP chined with me as I also felt terribly guilty when I was away at college many years ago. It was awful because my db had already left and my dad deserted (out of the blue) just before I was about to go to college, so I felt my leaving dm all alone was the last straw. I've felt guilty pretty much ever since knowing she's lonely. BUT what good has that done me or her: absolutely nothing.
Your parents are happy for you anyway, so go and have fun and make it all worthwhile!

Squirrills Thu 22-Sep-16 12:01:59

How thoughtful of you.
I have two sons, one in third year and one a fresher. Yes it's a painful phase in my life but the one thing that makes it easier for me is to know that they are happy and flourishing. Embrace the opportunities you have and let them know how much you are thriving.
You don't have to visit home to keep in touch, a quick Skype or chatty texts are great.

SecondYearGirl Thu 22-Sep-16 22:23:02

Hi all, thanks for your lovely responses - deep down I really do know that I'm just being silly and that my parents are proud of me and happy for me. I'm off tomorrow and will miss them a lot and (despite a wobble and a cry and a hug with my dad just now) and happy and excited!

And sentia, no, I haven't been brought up in a way that I'm required to act as a parent, not at all! To be honest I'm just a big worrier, that's all.

Thanks again everyone smile

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SecondYearGirl Thu 22-Sep-16 22:23:46

*am happy and excited, that should read!

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