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3 days into uni and dd is not happy - what can I do?

(126 Posts)
Janus Mon 17-Sep-18 10:37:58

Dd started on Friday, all seemed positive, went out for a big night out, etc. The next day she started texting that she felt tearful and rubbish. I thought this was partly a hangover but it went on and she went out just for food with flatmates but not out after. Sunday seemed ok, no real talk about hating it, out for a few hours in the evening.
Today is the first lecture day and she’s already texted to say the timetable is awful and she wants to come home.
She is doing radiography so it’s going to be different to many others as it will be much more hours and placements so she won’t be able to go on mad nights out and I think she feels this will alienate her from flatmates.
She is only an hour and a half away so part of me wants to tell her to stick the seek out and come back at weekends l, hoping she will gradually not want to do this. However spoke to a friend who is a lecturer yesterday and she said to not do that as it teaches them to come home every time they are struggling.
Any ideas? I haven’t actually rung her as I thought my voice would upset her but I have told her to call on a break so want to offer some advice when she does call.

OP’s posts: |
GameOldBirdz Mon 17-Sep-18 10:48:03

I'm a lecturer, I agree with your friend.

In the nicest possible way, your daughter is four days in to a new life it's understandable that she's wobbling but, at the same time, she needs to grow up a bit and get on with things. Four days absolutely isn't long enough for her to judge things. She should give herself at least the first term.

I know this sounds daft but has she read the timetable right? I had a student come to me in tears once because she couldn't cope with her timetable but it turned out she'd accessed the whole department timetable so was going to lectures for every one of the 30-odd modules that were on offer.

It might be that she has and she just has a busy timetable. Doing a very applied subject, I don't think that's surprising and should be good preparation for the world of work in her field.

If I were you, I would keep my distance. Let her know that you're there for her if/when she wants a chat but don't call/text her too often asking how she is.

Encourage her to get out and about, meet people, join clubs, join the gym etc. If she's still struggling, she needs to speak to her academic adviser about exactly why that is (rather than just "I'm away from home and the course is hard".. with all due respect that's the same for everyone). If she's still struggling, you need to encourage her to give it at least one term with a completely open mind.

How about you arrange to visit her mid-way through the term one weekend for a day of shopping and lunch? It'll give her something to look forward to.

I'm sorry if my post comes across as quite harsh, OP smile

noblegiraffe Mon 17-Sep-18 10:48:18

Coming back at weekends will definitely alienate her from her flat mates.

Tell her she needs to give it a fair chance, she’s only just got there and needs to settle in. She will meet friends on her course.

HRTpatch Mon 17-Sep-18 10:51:10

My ds was like this.....first night at uni I got the teary phone calls. After a week.he was begging to leave and come home.
He has now completed his first year and had a blast. I was tough with him and said no to coming home.

CMOTDibbler Mon 17-Sep-18 10:58:20

With radiography, she'll bond with her course mates far more than her flat mates tbh, and with placements she'll get in the social world of the hospital as well. Applied courses are different from things like english as there is so much directed time, but as you spend so much time with the others on your course you bond during practicals etc.
She needs to give it time - I think the bit before lectures etc really start is the hardest bit

Potentialmadcatlady Mon 17-Sep-18 10:59:36

Feeling down is normal
Feeling overwhelmed is normal
Feeling panicky is normal
Feeling stressed is normal
It’s ok not to be ok and it’s ok to acknowledge that she is feeling pants... her peers will be feeling pants/sad/overwhelmed etc too...
I say all this as a Mum who has had to leave her home loving quiet DD at a Uni for the first time yesterday- she is over 12hours travel time away..I feel like a part of me has been cut off...
What uni told us was learning resilience was part of uni life- feeling all of the above is normal, learning resilience to cope with all of those things is normal too...and what hit me hardest was that as parents we need to step away now for a while and let them learn how to be resilient. It is their Uni experience not ours, their skills to learn not our responsibility to sort it out for them at this stage. ( unless it’s serious health stuff)...
Uni also told us to listen to them but keep reminding them to talk to their peers/tutors/wardens... asking for help from the people living with them is another life skill...
I know how hard it is.. I’m sitting here wallowing myself missing my DD but I keep thinking of what they told us and I’m holding tight to that

Janus Mon 17-Sep-18 11:44:56

Thank you everyone, I hear what you are saying (Although I won’t be telling her to ‘grow up a but’!). I know she has to toughnit out but my heart literally hurts that she’s not happy. I think you are right that We have to not say come home this weekend. It’s going against my instinct but I completely understand why I shouldn’t.
Wow, she was so excited to go, I didn’t see this coming at all.

OP’s posts: |
Janus Mon 17-Sep-18 11:49:55

Sorry for all the typos, I’m having little sleep and am a bit of a zombie!
I hope I don’t sound rude. I do thank you all and although she’s said she wants to come home I’ve not told her to. I keep telling her to go and meet people. She’s out to lunch with 2 girls from her course. I think this going to be a rollercoaster few weeks.
Thank you again.

OP’s posts: |
HRTpatch Mon 17-Sep-18 13:00:05

It's very hard isn't it janus.
I never saw it coming with ds....he also realised he wasn't "top of the class" as he had been at 6th form.

Janus Mon 17-Sep-18 13:13:21

Was there anything you could do to help Hrt? How long (I’m afraid to even ask!) until he felt even a bit better?
I haven’t mentioned coming home at all. She’s told me there’s a lecture on mental health while away tomorrow morning so I said to listen and ask for help at that.

OP’s posts: |
Maybugger Mon 17-Sep-18 13:14:25

It is really tough, isn't it?
With DD i would take her out for lunch every 4-6 weeks, sent little cards occasionally, enclosing a gift card or a £10 note, sympathised with how she was feeling but tried to be upbeat when we chatted.
I think it took her a good few months to settle in and I certainly spent a lot of time worrying!
DS was the absolute opposite, went off without a backward glance whilst I dissolved into a soggy heap.

HRTpatch Mon 17-Sep-18 13:18:41

janus I chatted to him every other day, made practical suggestions about seeing his tutors, encouraged him to join a sports team. That helped as he found his tribe.
He came home after a month, weeping and wailing and I had to be quite harsh with him. His girlfriend agreed...said he wasn't making an effort to be sociable and so was missing out.
By Xmas he was a lot more settled and has had a good 2 terms.

Bobbybobbins Mon 17-Sep-18 13:23:37

I found it hard to settle when I went - everyone else seemed to be enjoying it more than me though I later found out this wasn't the case! I didn't go home at all and this was pre mobiles so used email to communicate mostly. Really enjoyed it from about 2 months in.

lrh3891 Mon 17-Sep-18 13:24:36

Aw, I really feel for her. I was your DD! I was desperately unhappy in my first weeks at uni. Hated my halls, hated my course, hated my roommate, I was basically scared of everything and felt horribly lonely.

My wonderful, wise mother went along the lines of "if you really really decide you want to come home after a term we will help you find a job or a more suitable Uni. But please stay for one term and try to stick it out". I spoke to her fairly frequently, saw a counsellor, and gradually came into my own.

I ended up staying for the whole course and graduating with a good degree and a good group of lifelong friends. I think just knowing that I had the acceptance that I could go home if I really really needed to helped me to not need to, iyswim. She'll be fine, it's very normal!

Janus Mon 17-Sep-18 13:25:40

Christmas, months 😳😳😂!
Oh Lordy, I’m going to be a grey haired witch by then! Have about 3 hours sleep a night from the worry!
Ok, at least I know what I’m dealing with. I will try and not see her for a month and then I think we’ll go to her as if she comes here I fear we’d have to force her back in the car!
She has a reading week at the end of October so guess she’ll come home for that. I will have to make an effort to burn every meal and shout at the other kids so she’ll be desperate to go back!
This is just so bloody hard, I was watching a woman with a toddler today and though how easy she had it!!! It’s all relative I know!

OP’s posts: |
GameOldBirdz Mon 17-Sep-18 13:26:57

She’s told me there’s a lecture on mental health while away tomorrow morning so I said to listen and ask for help at that

Do you mean a lecture given by the disability support service? This might well be very useful for your DD. At my old university where I used to work, the disability support service encouraged homesick/unsettled students (not those with serious MH issues, those like your DD who feel a bit wobbly and overwhelmed) to get in touch then they organised them into groups and arranged for these groups to get together in the second week to help support each other.

By the end of term, very few actually needed that support any more but most stayed in contact.

Janus Mon 17-Sep-18 13:30:10

She’s decided she hates it all too, the flatmates, the coursemates the timetable, etc!
I think she’s in a mindset to hate it all. I know every new job I’ve startes I’ve hates and then after about 2 weeks I loved nearly all of them!
I may give her the carrot of stay until Christmas and then see how she feels.
Thank you so much everyone, this has been one of the most awful threads I’ve ever had to start and I’ve been on here since that 18 year old girl was just a few months old!

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GameOldBirdz Mon 17-Sep-18 13:30:37

She has a reading week at the end of October so guess she’ll come home for that
No, try not to encourage her home for this, or at least not for the whole week. Reading weeks are there to give students time to catch up on work and write assignments, which she won't be able to do as well if she's at home.
Students who see reading week as some kind of "half-term" and go back to their parents don't do as well in the essays which are due after reading week and can come back a bit disconnected from the course, which can set students like your DD back even further.

FinnJuhl Mon 17-Sep-18 13:30:54

I remember the wobbly first few weeks. As a PP has mentioned, my parents planned a weekend visit halfway through term, which really gave me something to look forward to, and also got me more invested in the university town (so I could show then round, take them out for a meal etc).

Janus Mon 17-Sep-18 13:33:44

Sorry my typing is just a mess!
Yes, the university is doing a lecture on mental health while away, not sure who is doing this. She’s never suffered mental health issues but I think this will cover homesickness and it will be amazing if they offer that service of grouping them together. At the moment she’s saying no one else feels like this and I’ve tried telling her there must be so will be good if they can do this so she doesn’t feel so alone.

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Janus Mon 17-Sep-18 13:36:38

Ok, not home in the reading week then! We could go down and offer that as something to aim for then? That’s about 7 or 8 weeks away so maybe she’d see that as not too far away and hang in to then.

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Graphista Mon 17-Sep-18 13:36:50

I've done uni twice and was also a student rep and I think probably also due to me being a mature student dealt with many homesick/struggling to settle students. I'm also from a military family and this sort of thing is common in first week or so of basic training too. My dad wanted to come home 2 weeks into basic training and my grandparents wouldn't let him! They'd both served and knew this was common and made him stick it out a bit longer, by the end of the first month he'd made friends and was loving it (well as much as anyone loves basic 😂). My brother (police) also has said he saw it when he was doing initial training (he was an older trainee and had left home years before - again probably why the younger ones struggling leant on him).

A few days in she's BARELY given it a chance!

She needs to stick it out for at least a few weeks before even thinking of coming home because coming home will just reinforce those feelings. I would say AT LEAST until reading week/half term. The lecturers I knew advised this and sometimes a full term.

You need to be bright, breezy and encouraging not 'oh you poor thing'. Remind her she will NOT be the only one feeling like this even if it appears the case. She can speak to student reps, student support etc they're usually quite good at encouraging/distracting and putting students with similar backgrounds/issues in touch with each other.

"She’s told me there’s a lecture on mental health while away tomorrow morning so I said to listen and ask for help at that." Hopefully that will be when she realises she's not the only one as it will stimulate discussion on the topic. Probably the lecturer will point it out as normal too - that'll be why it's been scheduled as one of first lectures.

Don't be too available by phone either. I rather think parents being too easy to contact makes this harder these days.

She needs to approach it with enthusiasm. She'll meet others on her course, with similar placement schedules that she can socialise with (my first time at uni was nursing which is also very time demanding - still found time to socialise and make friends).

In the meantime - look after yourself too. You'll be missing her have a partner/husband at home? Friends going through same? Plus you have us bonkers lot to keep u sane 😂😂

GameOldBirdz Mon 17-Sep-18 13:41:23

She’s never suffered mental health issues but I think this will cover homesickness and it will be amazing if they offer that service of grouping them together. At the moment she’s saying no one else feels like this and I’ve tried telling her there must be so will be good if they can do this so she doesn’t feel so alone

It sounds like it will cover homesickness. Most people in the audience will be people who're a bit wobbly/homesick (because why would the "completely fine", "Loving it" people bother going along?). I'm an academic and trust me there are tonnes of people feeling exactly the same way that she does. Of my group of 10 advisees each year, at least three of them will say they're feeling homesick/wobbly/overwhelmed within the first few weeks. They might not admit it to each other, but there are people feeling the same way.

Does the university have a forum she can join and find some friends through there?

She will make friends on her course (as PP said, applied courses tend to have very strong bonds between students, more so than "normal" degrees because of the contact hours). She might have to meet a few twats but she'll eventually find her tribe. And her tribe might actually only end up being one or two people but that's fine. I think there's a prevailing idea that students need to be in huge groups of friends, going out lots and having a scream every night. It doesn't need to be like this. Your DD might just make one or two friends and just spend a couple of nights a week knitting and drinking tea with them... that's completely fine. She needs to live her own university experience, not the experience "sold" to students.

GameOldBirdz Mon 17-Sep-18 13:42:05

Yep, I think going down for a day in reading week will be lovely smile

mamamedic Mon 17-Sep-18 13:44:38

SO sad reading this thread! Not for your daughter, she'll be fine I have NO doubt. It's difficult (not impossible) to find anyone that didn't love their time at uni.
But for YOU, OP, my heart is breaking. I understand your worry and desperation. It goes against 18 yrs of parenting to be tough when they're reaching out for you.
But she knows you're there to love and support her and that will give her strength. And imagine the way you'll both feel when she turns the corner and starts to enjoy herself!
Keep us updated. X

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