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DD not enjoying university

(39 Posts)
Smallblanket Thu 03-Oct-19 09:53:54

My DD is in week 2 of uni - very miserable, ill, normal freshers stuff. I think if she rides out the next couple of weeks she will be probably fine.

But at the back of my mind, and at the back of her's, is whether she has chosen the wrong uni, and possibly the wrong course.

If she leaves soon (I think VERY soon), there will be no fees owed and she can pay back her maintenance loan, so can have a fresh start after a year out.

I don't know whether to encourage her to stay, or encourage her to leave.

I'd be grateful for any advice from anyone who has been in a similar situation.

OP’s posts: |
Booboostwo Thu 03-Oct-19 10:35:13

Why is she miserable? What is going wrong? Why does she think it's the wrong Uni? Why does she think it's the wrong course?

LIZS Thu 03-Oct-19 10:43:16

I'd encourage her to persist even if she decides to swap courses. She might still be able to mid term. Lots of students have wobbly starts, some are just able to brazen it out better than others.

boringisasboringdoes Thu 03-Oct-19 10:53:26

Have you been to visit her? Go there at the weekend if possible (rather than her coming home). Get her to show you round.

This is very common but also very hard. Try to find out the specific facts regarding fees etc so you know the timeline. Is it possible to change course at the same uni? Etc etc Perhaps you can find this out so she doesn't have to spend time obsessing. Is there a student advice service with the union? Once you've found out the dates then she can spend the time she's got really giving it her best shot and seeing if she feels the same. Inform yourself about the loan rules re if she stays and then drops out later in the year for example.

Was she looking forward to going? Does she have a history of homesickness/confidence issues? And have these improved with time previously? Does she need more time to make friends? Is there a uni counselling service she can access? What would be better about another course? Would she get in? So many questions, better chat in person rather than a testy phone call

boringisasboringdoes Thu 03-Oct-19 10:55:03

Teary not testy aargh

ifonly4 Thu 03-Oct-19 11:05:34

She needs to think about whether it's the course she's having second thoughts about or whether she's struggling being away from home and making friends.

Bluntness100 Thu 03-Oct-19 11:11:43

Many kids struggle at rhe early stages, it's all so new. They are on their own, need to make new friends, be independent.

Of course after two weeks she doesn't know it's the wrong course or uni, the reasons she picked it still stand, she's not given it a chance, she's just looking for reasons.

The question is knowing your daughter do you genuinely believe she can settle in and adjust or does she need the extra year?

zafferana Thu 03-Oct-19 11:23:19

Has she ever been away from home before OP? How independent and self reliant is she? Does she have a bf that she's really missing? Good friends who've gone off on a gap year that she's actually wishing she was with rather than being at uni? Or is she just homesick? If she's never been away from you before for any decent amount of time then it will be hard initially. No one is looking after you when you go to uni - you're on your own. If it's just that then I would encourage her to stick it out - it will get better - but she's going to have to dig deep right now to get through it.

Visiting and spending a bit of time with her there, rather have her come home, is a good idea. Spend time talking and try to find out what she's finding tough. Did she spend a lot of time choosing this course and uni, visiting the campus, were you both happy that she'd made the right choice before she went? Or was it a last minute decision, via clearing, or because it was the only course she could get onto? The answers to those questions are key in deciding whether to stick it out and see if she can settle in (two weeks is nothing!). OTOH, sometimes you just know that you've made the wrong choice and it's best to cut and run and start again in 12 months time.

MindyStClaire Thu 03-Oct-19 11:28:14

If she genuinely thinks she may have picked the wrong course, she needs to sit down and try to express why. If it's to do with the academic side of things (not enjoying a particular subject for example) she should speak to her personal tutor or equivalent to discuss. It may be that that subject goes away after first year / can be avoided / everyone finds difficult / there's extra resources available etc.

Smallblanket Thu 03-Oct-19 11:34:44

Thank you all. I think it is homesickness/missing boyfriend/ not having found her "tribe".

I've suggested she talk to the student support officer about her options and am arranging to go and visit at the weekend.

OP’s posts: |
SunshineAngel Thu 03-Oct-19 11:41:12

Hey smile.

Obviously I don't know the details of her situation, but when I started uni 10 years ago I HATED it. I have anxiety, I am shy, and I went to live in halls with people I had never met in my life. I'm not one for drinking.

The night before I didn't want to go, and only did because I was scared of telling my parents I'd changed my mind. The first week was hell (also got freshers flu!) and then once we settled into lectures it was even worse, as there was more time to think.

I even made a countdown calendar thing, and would tick a day off each evening, counting down to when I could go home for Christmas.

But.

I started talking to one or two people in lectures. Started talking a little to my flatmates when we were in communal areas etc. Instead of sitting in my room, we would instead sit in the kitchen and watch TV, and chat girly things.

It took weeks, but eventually I found that I was forgetting to cross off the days on my countdown. By the start of November I'd abandoned it completely.

Uni ended up being the best experience of my life. Of course, if she's not sure she's in the right place or studying the right thing then that's different, but it's totally normal not to have settled in at this stage. I promise smile.

LIZS Thu 03-Oct-19 11:41:37

Has bf gone to uni too?

Marinetta Thu 03-Oct-19 11:51:02

My reasons for not settling in at uni may be different from your daughter's but if she really isn't enjoying it I would say the best thing to do is drop out, take some time to assess her options and apply again for next year if she decides that uni is what she wants to do.
I went to a local uni but lived in student accommodation, homesickness wasn't an issue for me but from the first few weeks I knew I wasn't in the right place. Parents, friends and the university encouraged me to stay with the reasoning that I just needed time to settle in but my feelings didn't go away and although I persevered with uni I struggled to make friends and find the motivation to go to lectures and complete assignments. I did change course in the first few weeks but that didn't help. Even in final year I still had the feeling that I wasn't in the right place and nearly dropped out before final exams.

When doing uni applications I think that very few people know what they are letting themselves in for as at such a young age and often the university experience doesn't turn out as imagined. If your daughter needs more time to find the right path for herself there is absolutelylitely no shame in taking a bit of time to find out what that is. After 14 years of compulsory full time education I believe most people would benefit from a bit of a break but our society seems to encourage people to start higher education immediately after A levels.

Teddybear45 Thu 03-Oct-19 11:56:18

2 weeks is nothing really and I wouldn’t be encouraging her to move back just for a boyfriend / her local friends. Suggest you visit her and find out what the problem is - if something fixable with a move of residence or a car then consider those things first.

Grumpyperson Thu 03-Oct-19 13:41:52

Please don't let her drop out because of a boyfriend! If there are other reasons she is unhappy that's a different thing, but you can be pretty sure the bf won't drop out of his uni (if he's at one) because he is missing her.

zafferana Thu 03-Oct-19 14:33:00

Yes, def don't let her drop out because she's missing her bf! She risks fucking her up whole life if she does that and for what? They'll either break up anyway or they'll make it work. But dropping out of uni is NOT the answer!

MillicentMartha Thu 03-Oct-19 15:29:23

Date---------------------------------------------------------Percentage of tuition fees you'll have to repay
From the first day of the first term----------25%
From the first day of the second term-----50%
From the first day of the third term---------100%

www.ucas.com/finance/student-finance-england/suspending-or-withdrawing-your-full-time-studies

Taken from the above website. I'm not trying to advise, just giving you the facts about fees.

Embracelife Thu 03-Oct-19 16:44:01

Dd about to dropout but has chronic condition and is going to start again part time in 2020 at different uni which has modular part time similar degree...she has spoken to student support and just needs to get paperwork signed off. For her it s sensible decision tho not without angst
She will prob have some tuition and maintenance loans to add to what she will repay when she earning 25k which some way ahead.... will go fetch all stuff nxweek ...now where to put it...

Smallblanket Thu 03-Oct-19 18:43:26

She isn't going to drop out because of the boyfriend, she just misses him which is adding to her feeling miserable.

She also says (just now) that she'll stick it out but will look into changing course (physics to maths) - so no hurried decisions needed. Will go and see her on Sat, take her out for lunch and see.

Thanks for all your insights - it was very helpful.

OP’s posts: |
MarchingFrogs Thu 03-Oct-19 18:56:14

Has she thought about doing something like working part time - a few hours a week in something SU related, more for the human contact / something different to do aspect than necessarily for the money? Or volunteering, on- or off-site (ditto)?

Canklesforankles Thu 03-Oct-19 20:13:07

Embrace sorry to hear your DD has had to change plans. It sounds like you have a great alternative plan lined up and you have obviously supported her in giving it a try and then shifting to plan B.

Kuponut Sat 05-Oct-19 09:17:57

To be honest it's that point where I think it hits everyone -I'm a grown adult, doing a course I really want to do and content I really really enjoy - and I was having the "fuck I really don't want to do this can I drop out" googling student finance repayment vibes the other day! I'm older and allegedly wiser and recognised it for what it is - but I can imagine for an 18 year old it feels like a real brick wall to get through.

HandsOffMyRights Sat 05-Oct-19 09:28:09

OP, I dropped out of uni after a term. I still regret this nearly 30 years on.

I wish my parents had visited me at uni, it could have been a game changer, but they were getting divorced, had new partners, were busy selling the home and weren't bothered tbh.

I was so terribly lonely and missed my boyfriend at the time and he seemed to be moving on, which sounds so pathetic now. Everything was changing and I thought returning to my home city would normslise everything.

I'd hate to think of anyone so unhappy but likewise, how I wish I'd completed that course.

IdblowJonSnow Sat 05-Oct-19 09:29:04

No one can know OP.
Encourage her to make the decision herself and support her.
I was miserable and ill the first time I went to uni, the halls were decrepit, area was rough, then a grandparent died. In the end I sacked it off. But I felt such a failure it took me years to try again. I did though and that time it was fine.
Some 18 year olds just aren't ready.
To the pp who said she could spoil her future - it really won't. There will be other opportunities if it's not for her.
Bit soon to decide yet.

DishingOutDone Mon 07-Oct-19 13:51:43

How was the visit @Smallblanket?

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