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Bristol University(62 Posts)
Hi my DD is looking to apply for Vetmed this year at Bristol as one of her choices.
I have just seen on the news about yet another sad suicide here which is apparently the 8th in 2 years.
Does Bristol have a problem different to other unis as I don't remember hearing about any others? Is the pastoral care lacking in some way?
Are there any parents of DC there already who can provide reassurance?
My DD is there and in her 2nd year. She loves it and has never been happier. We have spoken about the suicides and she has no idea why there is such a high rate. She has a huge group of friends (including lots of vet students) and they all love it as much as she does.
The vet students all seem to stick together as far as i can work out as they all have a very different schedule to the regular students.
No problems for mine either. Happy as sandboys there; so happy one prefers it 100x to home apparently.
Some of these suicides are also in the holidays and of students with prior mental health problems.
Xenia My DD prefers it to home too! Home is boring apparently. Except she misses the dog.
My DD went there and was very happy. There are deaths at other universities but they are not attracting the same publicity. Definitely deaths due to drugs elsewhere.
I think we all realise that mental health in young people is becoming more fragile. That is not a unique position for Bristol students. I understand the university is improving pastoral care and not every student has died whilst actually at the university. It is also very difficult for a university to take care of a student who has experienced mental health difficulties for years. Neither can other students be watching out for their flat mates all the time, any more than parents can when a DC isn’t at home or they don’t know the extent of the problems.
There has been another thread about when parents should intervene if they are worried about their DC. You might like to read it. One of the problems faced by a parent is knowing there is something wrong and how best to tackle it. I think if any parent has a DC with known mental health problems, then there must be a full and frank discussion about their needs before embarking on any rigourous course, at any university. It makes sense to know what care is in place and if you deem it sufficient. With vet med you have few choices and every course will be demanding. There is no less than intense route to that qualification and Work afterwards is full on too.
Two deaths in two weeks. Very sad.
Our friends’ DN died suddenly when studying at Oxford. It was a brain hemorrhage. Nothing to do with the course or the university. Just hugely unlucky.
Dd is at Bristol, and has said there is a lot of extra support and training being put in place for staff, although some changes have been controversial. There is help- but students have to ask for help, which is hard anywhere.
Your Dd will find out more on open days etc, and asking questions as faculties vary in their support structures.
Vetmed DD currently finishing 2nd year. For what it is worth she is v happy. Accessed support services last year and had a v positive experience.
The vet students are supportive of each i think, but they do mix with other students too.
Feel free to pm if you wish....
I do wonder how accessible mental health provision is at Bristol. We had a young person from there on our graduate programme commit suicide in the last year. The graduate had let people know that accessing mental health services at the university was difficult. However, I think the university is now addressing the issue head on and have asked students to seek help.
Perhaps part of the problem at Bristol is that others, like Bubbles' and Xenia's DC, are having such a brilliant time. It might then be difficult to admit that, perhaps for the first time, you are struggling. I dont think that necessarily implies fragility, though I can see why a student might, and therefore not want to admit problems.
In my view, support in advance of central support services, is also important. DD describes last term as the most difficult few months of her life. She got through thanks to the support of her facilitation group tutor and her senior resident. The latter being a PG stuident whose place in halls was subsidised in exchange for her looking out for the first year students around her. The tutor insisted on her going to welfare, mainly as a precautionary measure in case the issues affected her academic performance (standard advice) but in practice it was the SEN support people who helped steer her through some of the disjointed bureaucracy.
My understanding is as part of the welfare reforms, and to save money, Bristol will be doing away with their first tier support such as senior residents and local acccomodation offices. (The latter were also helpful, moved quickly and applied their knowledge of "noisy" and quiet flats to get DD move to somewhere suitable.) I think this is a huge pity.
I think DD will be fine. Overall it is probably an advantage not to be someone who makes their BFFs during freshers week, but to take time to build friendships. She likes her course and is doing well, has some nice friends, is engaged in wider University life and thinks the City is beautiful. However a friend yesterday suggested her son had become similarly isolated in his first year there, and though he did well academically, he never really jelled socially. Given so many are having the times of their lives, this becomes difficult. (In contrast DS was happy from the day he started LSE, but there academics were the focus so there was not the same pressure.)
Would DD choose Bristol again, Yes I think she would. In many ways it is the perfect place. However with the benefit of hindsight I think she would move flats more quickly (a student at Newcastle suggested you apply a six week rule. Students run out of money six weeks in and generally quieten down. If they don't you have trouble), and move again if the next flat was equally noisy. Moving is common, as it will be if you are asked to share with 10 strangers. (She almost certainly would not have had problems had she been in her current flat from the start.) She would also allowed herself respite from the newness, by coming home at some point during her first term. (Vets and some other courses don't have reading weeks.) And she would have recognised that though she came from a city, and indeed a private school, there would be a level of culture shock. (In her case it was the extent to which drug use was normalised. Of course there were drugs at her school, but not amongst her friendship group. Though this could be true of other Universities. Plus at Bristol students seem to have the money to go out several nights a week, perhaps not the case elsewhere.)
Thank you for advice and feedback it will be a choice and I guess DD in all likelihood will only receive one offer at most for Vetmed and we will be very grateful whichever one it is!
Of course my 2 might just be saying they are having a great time and aren't as people tend not to moan in our family (even if we are secretly dying of cancer) but they do seem very happy. Even the fact they don't come back in term time, have been to stay with university friends in holidays etc does seem to indicate they like it. I hope they are being kind (m y only instruction when they went to university was to be kind) to everyone there as some people will be homesick etc. Mine are helped by being almost the oldest in the class/year and having much older graduate siblings so have always just felt a bit like 2 years older than some people their own year at school. and they have each other (different halls but sibling support if they need it).l
I am more interested in what marks they will get in the upcoming exams though at the moment. I hope no one is having too good a time. They should be there to work too.
Bristol does seem to be very much a 'party' university. My DS' flatmates in his 1st year went out so much - DS is not remotely unsociable, and I think he was going out loads - but they still made him feel like a bit of a swot. His STEM course is quite study-intensive, but two of the flatmates were STEM students too (including one medic), and it didn't seem to stop them!
I can see that if this wasn't your thing, or alternatively, it was your thing but you were somehow missing out, it could be tough. I don't think my DS is madly happy (matters of the heart are not helping, and I don't think that's unusual!), but he's coping afaik, and he does enjoy the course, very much, and also has time for has a lot of fun eg sport, clubs, parties etc.
Sorry that probably is completely unilluminating. oh I wanted to add - afaik his only drugs are alcohol (not to constant excess, just - well, like we drank, probably) and too much caffeine. He comes home quite a bit, but it's quite an easy journey, and there is free food here, also his old sports crew he still plays with.
Very sadly Bristol students were told today that another young person, this time a first year, lost their life over the weekend. There will be an inquest so presumably more details will emerge, but still very, very sad for family and friends.
I've no direct knowledge of Bristol University, but as she's looking to do Vet Med I would be asking what support services there are at the Langford Campus - it's a long way from the main campus in the city. I would also visit Langford with your DD - she'll be there frequently and move there for the last two years. It's very rural and she needs to be happy with that - and the reality that she'll probably need to pay for a car in the last two years.
Oh dear. That's so sad. Mine still seem fine but very immersed in revision with an awful lot to do. It will be over fairly soon. I tihn kit's quite sweet one of mine now says his is the best unversity on evrey level for him in the UK and he cannot understand how he was choosing between Durham and Bristol and how he would have hated Durham (Durham is lovely and I'm from the NE so don't take his brazen loyalty to the place he is at as anything to go by). Anyway not everyone will be happy even those who say they are and I always feel sorry for people they mention who complain about noise as I was those people at university - trying to get my sleep, trying to work and with selfish people around keeping me awake.
Bristol doesn’t really have the same party image as Newcastle, for example. Stoke Bishop flats are not near the city centre so students have to make a bigger effort to go out. The student halls near the city centre are for the clubbing students!
My DD never mentioned drugs at all. She would have swerved them anyway. Her hall were social but, the trick is at Bristol, to know where is likely to be a bit quieter. I agree the first few weeks can be a bit silly, but the majority calm down. Stoke Bishop is nearer the sports facilities so you get the sporty people living there. I think other universities can be much more party central!
DD is in first year at Bristol and loves it. As a previous poster said she too finds home boring and only pops back to see the dog!
She’s based at Stoke Bishop (Durdham) and is very happy there, but said it could be very lonely there if you don’t have friends. I asked about pastoral care in halls and as far as she’s aware there isn’t any!
I have 2 dd’s going to Bristol this autumn ( exam results permitting) and we are very concerned indeed.
Part of our twin trend? I hope they have a good time, bevelino and it goes well, exam results permitting.
Might it have something to do with the higher than average levels of drug use in Bristol?