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Worried about DD at Uni(44 Posts)
DD has phoned in tears because she is feeling so ill and exhausted. She thinks she has some kind of stomach flu, constant nausea, no appetite then if she eats she is bloated after a few mouthfuls followed by diarrhoea then headache and tiredness. She has been in pain with for the past 7 days so I have made her make a doctors appointment today.
Her sleep pattern is none existent and she seems to be napping in 2 hour intervals throughout the day and night. Collectively she is sleeping a lot but it isn't quality sleep iyswim. I think there is a strong possibility her symptoms are stress/anxiety related but want to rule out anything physical hence asking her to make an appointment with the GP.
She has missed lectures over the past week and has a lot of essays and supervisions to attend over the next few days so doesn't want to come home to recuperate as she is already falling rapidly behind in her work. Her health is clearly more important but she is resolute in staying a uni at the moment. I asked her to go to student welfare today for advice and support but she says that it is so backed up they wont be able to see her until next week.
DS is off for half term at the moment and I have no suitable childcare but feel really torn. She is 200 miles away and my partner is working away so have no transport for the next few days.
Even if I get a train today Hotels and Airbnb are coming in at extortionate prices due to half term and her uni being a tourist city. We are already stretched financially so it is massively frustrating.
I will definitely drive down as soon as partner gets home but just wondered if anyone had any advice as to what to recommend for her to do until then.
Sorry for the ramble just feeling useless at the moment and worrying a lot.
Freshers' Flu, but a bit late?
A doctor's appointment is a good idea, she could also drop by the Student Union for a chat and some support? She needs to communicate with her course leader about her work too rather than letting it drift and pile up.
It's horrible being away from them. When DD was ill (Cambridge so similarly expensive) the halls would lend out mattresses and I slept on her floor. It was a bit grim but manageable. Is her room big enough for that? How old is your son? Any chance of a sleepover with a friend?
Oh lord, I really empathize with having one so far away and feeling helpless.
I haven't much advice- except really encourage her to go to student welfare as soon as possible. That way she is "on the radar" if she needs extensions for essays and so on. Tell her to look at her deadlines- maybe do it together over the phone- and decide what's doable, then get her to contact her tutors and explain what's going on. In my experience (my dd had mental health problems in her second year) tutors are ready to help- but it's better to approach them before things get really bad, not after.
But I do feel for you, I really do.
Yy, some unis have a student counsellor/nurse as a first port of call. Any chance of a drop in with them?
Bertrandrussell is right. She needs to contact her personal tutor as soon as possible. I work at a uni and one of our main frustrations is students not using the system. Tutors are there to help, but they need to be seen ahead of deadlines.
She is a second year so not freshers flu. She is generally doing well on her course but has been stretching herself thinly in all areas lately. Good idea about the student union, she is not a member but hopefully someone could help thanks.
cathyandclare the same uni as DD, I didnt know if they would let me stay so I will look into that immediately thanks!
I would go to her if you can , she sounds in a mess poor thing . Where is the uni ?
I agree that your DD needs to talk to her personal tutor as soon as possible. She may disagree but the sooner they know that she is ill the easier it will be if she needs extensions for essays and/or other support.
Most tutors have little patience with the retrospective, last minute 'But I was ill' and may assume it is just an excuse.
Poor love. for both of you!
Having world in unis, please ask her to speak to her tutor. She needs to explain that she's not well and gets some sort of extension for her work. The added stress of deadlines will be making things worse. Tutors often find out too late when students are struggling for whatever reason but can be helpful in managing workloads and making allowances. I often heard "if only I had known, we could have done something"
Hope she's feeling better soon.
Check on the nurse/counsellor as well then, I think most colleges have one. She was great with DD, got her an appt with a DD, spoke to her tutor and just generally eased things a little. DD was definitely predominantly stress and anxiety related though. Hope all goes well.
Good that she has a doctors appointment - it is very important that she asks the doctor for a note as this will be invaluable if she ends up missing deadlines/ having to apply for mitigating circumstances.
I think this is surprisingly common. My daughter constantly has a very bad cold, her house mate, a male, constantly gets sickness bugs and ends up either in a&e in a panic, even though the other housemate is studying to be a doctor and says he is fine, or his parents do the mercy dash and actually come get him and bring him home.
I think basically they burn the candle at both ends. A mix between socialising and studying as well as adapting to living without parents. I'm not saying she's not ill, and a docs appt is a good idea, but your suspicion it's stress/ anxiety related may not be far off the mark, especially if heavy work due.
Can she watch her lectures remotely? My daughters uni records them and puts them on line, so students who can't attend can still watch the lecture.
The fact she's in tears is a concern , are you comfortable in how she is coping?
Thanks so much for the suggestions everyone, I am relaying them to her now. She has just walked out of the doctors and they want a sample from her as she has severe abdominal tenderness. Trying to explain to a 20 year old how do a stool sample raised a shriek of disgust but was followed by a welcome laugh.
I have explained how important it is that she speaks to her personal tutor and other support systems in her college and I think it is getting through to her.
Sneak in a blow up mattress (battery blow up) and sleeping bag and sleep on the floor . If you get caught apologise and say you didn't know it was rule breaking (it might not be anyway!)
I don't mean to sound harsh, but this is part and parcel of growing up and learning to live independently. She'll be very well looked after by mates etc in the college environment, and the GPs are excellent and close by in Cambridge. I really wouldn't go down unless it sounds like she is seriously ill.
What Bluntness100 said!
My son is a second year and seems to have a perpetual cough/cold at the moment, he has been tearful a couple of times, but this is when he is feeling at his worst.
Have you gone through practical basic questions/things she can do step by step by FaceTime or Skype?
i.e. What have you had to eat and drink today, make her be very specific.
What medicines are you actually taking and when, (may be dosing up with non drowsy stuff) etc.
May sound obvious but my son is terrible for not actually eating/drinking enough, not remembering to take paracetamol etc.
OP DS1 was the student welfare officer at his college in Oxford, and Cambridge will inevitably have the equivalent, in case she's hesitant to go directly to her tutor (although my DCs' tutors have overwhelmingly seemed very approachable and extremely willing to go the extra mile in situations where there was a real problem). The student welfare officer will know exactly which direction to point her in and will undoubtedly be a sympathetic ear at the very least. If there turns out to be a problem which puts her too far behind to catch up, then rustication is an option which very often seems to turn out well, and provides necessary respite. One way or the other things should be fine and she's certainly in one of the best set ups for support. I agree about leaving it a few days before rushing up - if by the time your partner returns with the car she hasn't made progress with the student welfare officer or her tutor then perhaps go then - maybe reserve a free cancellation B&B on booking.com for next week/end when prices will be cheaper and you won't crowd her out too much in her room or draw attention to her in college by staying overnight (she might not mind that of course and prefer for you to bunk down). Another option which would be cheap would be a guest room at the college - some colleges have them for term time visitors. Hope she turns the corner very soon.
If you're really stuck financially then I'm happy to host you (albeit in my tiny flat) or run you into central Cambridge (parking is horrendous and ££££)
I think Tessie is wrong.
Students at top Universities can work incredibly hard, in my experience much harder than I and my friends ever did. The second year is often the worse, as by the third year you will have a good idea of the sort of degree you will get. Many of your peers will be working hard, and appear to be coping well. It might feel very lonely.
It is her life. She is an adult, but families support when things get tough. Either now, or at any stage. It is important to listen, to provide an external perspective which college peers may not be able to give, and show you care. Even if it is the odd funny card or sending some homemade cake.
OP can give sound advice on informing tutors, seeing a GP and so on. The student may be ill or simply anxious, but either may prevent her seeing the simple step by step actions she needs to take.
DS looked really thin and tired before his second year exams, though never complained and had supportive friends who were going through the same. Not surprising as he was working very long hours. Luckily he was in London so I used to text when I was passing and we would have a quick coffee and catch up. He did well so the third year has been a lot easier and less pressured. If I were OP, I would be tempted to be "on the way" to somewhere, and take her out for lunch or dinner. And if there was a sense she was sinking, I would think about offering more support and mothering.
I also agree about the eating. DS seems to have worked it out for himself, and in his third year is much better at pacing himself and planning meals. I don't think it has always been so.
TBH uni wrecks people's health. There is no schedule or structure so sleeping becomes disordered, food is unhealthy, excercise is cut down, depression and stress sets in. She needs to get herself into a routine. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every weekday- excercise get a couple of times a week to tire her out and eating more nutrient dense foods. Plus cutting down on any alcohol. I'm four years in and have JUST gotten myself into a healthy place bodily and mentally xx
Also there are so many illnesses at unis - many of them brought from overseas and around the country- surfaces in lectures aren't cleaned til the end of the day - many bodies around. Tell her to start religiously using hand sanitiser x maybe send her a care package like my mum did - beechams, flu tablets, lozenges and a hot water bottle, some cosy socks and hand sanitiser and a little letter x if she's really ill can she not get an emergency appt? I had one on a Sunday once where they send me to the hospital because the GPS was closed but I was so ill I was feverish and had to be wheelchaird in by the DP x