An update(17 Posts)
Not sure if any of last year's cohort are still visiting this thread, but maybe someone remembers me writing about the difficulties DD underwent on arriving in Durham October 2016. She had taken a gap year, anyway, to try to get her Chronic Fatigue under control, but during that time her anxiety, and I guess depression too, took a hold. She had been unwell with CFS for around 4 years at school, but being the perfectionist she is she had managed great grades for GCSEs and A levels, although at the expense of normal teenage rites of passage I guess.
Anyway, DD just could not settle at Durham, hated college, couldn't make friends, didn't sleep, couldn't socialise etc etc and within two weeks had in effect a complete breakdown and both the GP up there and the Tutor of her college agreed that she really had no alternative but to defer entry for another year and try to get better with proper treatment for her mental health issues. Her place was held for her, but we were told that if she wished she could also apply through UCAS for other universities if that is what she wanted.
We were all very worried about her. Durham with its collegiate system was i thought a more "caring" place than larger city universities. I was concerned that she was giving up too easily - she was there no more than two weeks - but when we saw just how battered and bruised she was by the experience we agreed there was no alternative. many of you on here were very supportive and sympathetic.
So DD was home for another year, and shrunk further into her shell feeling she had let everyone, including herself down. This is so odds with her outwardly very friendly, chatty, joking demeanour : it became clear that this had been a pretence, which she could manage to maintain with family and old school friends around her, but couldn't away from any kind of support network. She was referred to a psychiatrist and a CBT therapist and started medication and therapy which she continued twice a week for most of the year. Just before the very latest deadline for UCAS in January she applied again to another five universities, including three courses at two London universities. We live in London.
So she got offers at all of them, and firmed a top London uni. I was concerned that it would be more difficult to make friends at a large spread out London university, with many people living at home and large numbers of students from all over the world. But this is what she thought would be better for her - presumably because she could get home in under an hour. She bravely agreed however to apply for uni accommodation. She chose self catering because one of the things which had caused problems in Durham was the idea of walking into a huge dining room. She asked for en suite facilities to avoid the anxiety of having to wait for a shower/worrying about taking too long etc etc. And almost four weeks ago she started.
And she has coped. She has a huge circle of friends in both her hall of residence and from her course, she has joined societies, she has been the one helping a very drunk and vomiting girl home from a club, helping put her to bed and watching over her, she has managed to do the first presentation to her class, her room is by common consent one of the best kitted out and furnished with pictures and fairy lights and blankets. yes she still gets exhausted, yes she has to manage acute anxiety attacks, yes I'm sure she is still pretending, probably a lot - but the important things is that she can do this, she admits she is happy, she has a lovely circle of friends and she thinks that she can last the course. She still has support from her doctors which of course must help, but everyone is finally able to breathe a little more freely. the danger now is that she must learn to say no to some things - freshers flu for her is not something which will go with a few early nights if her CFS flares up.
But my message is this : Cosy collegiate Durham was so very clearly not right, loud brash London apparently is, against all odds. The very vast majority of students will settle into their first choice uni, even if the early weeks are tough....but it may be that in a few cases the wrong choice has been made, and that the experience is more than just tough. Our story shows this can be turned around.
Thank you again for the supportive posts last year : at the time it was an utterly wretched experience for DD and for us.
Lovely update! Am so pleased that your DD has settled in so well.
Wow! That is lovely news. So well done for your DD. I hope her health stays good over winter.
That's lovely to hear, you must be so relieved that she has settled so welland made friends. Durham is so far away from London, and I can appreciate that in some circumstances knowing you are not too far from home can make things easier.
Wonderful news, I am really pleased for her (and you).
What a lovely update. I'm so pleased for your DD and for you too. I remember your thread well. I posted on it not that I can recall what I wrote
it was probably rubbish 😂 Whoever said that you are only as happy as your unhappiest child was right.
What great news. Thanks for the update, hope she continues to thrive
Oh that's great news. And I've just PMed you!
Yes to fairy lights. They make any room look cosy.
That is so lovely to hear - very pleased for both of you!
What an uplifting update to read. Our DD's are the same age. Mine is now a 2nd year but I'll be honest and say she's struggling with her MH. She's finally asked for help which I know wasn't easy for her.
Good luck to your brave little (big) girl (aren't they still our toddlers at heart?) and to you because I'm sure you deserve them.
Fantastic update and I remember those couple of weeks very well, I think we spoke quite a bit (different name). All credit to the uni for saying they'd hold her place but to feel free to go ahead and apply elsewhere too. Very glad indeed to hear that all seems good.
Op, so very glad to hear your DD is a lot better and enjoying her new start .
My DD lasted half the year before coming home. She has also started again this year - new course and new uni. She is now less than an hour away and is like a different person this year. Not stressed and she is smiling!
Different universities suit different people and also their flat mates can make a huge difference.
What a lovely story.
Fresh start is sometimes obviously needed. Also our DC tend to know what is right for them.
best wishes to you both
I'm delighted to hear that your dd is coping. I didn't see your original posts, but your pride and support shine through, as do your dd's personality and strength of character. I have a dd with ASD and anxiety disorder who is currently going through UCAS. I will keep your experience in mind when advising her, and if/when she faces difficulties next year. All the very best to both of you .
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