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Shy DC(16 Posts)
Does anyone have any shy DCs? I’m worried about DD starting university. She is extremely shy until she gets to know people and I know she can isolate herself if she’s unsure of things.
Have any of your DC been this way and how have they coped?
I was worried about ds, that he would spend all his time in his room on his own. I persuaded him not to bring his gaming computer with him & as he likes baking, sent him off with lots of equipment & ingredients for freshers week, figuring that freshly baked cakes would attract people to come & talk to him.
I would say he still mostly socialises with people from his halls & is going to house share with some of them next year. Baby steps!
That’s what I worry about (being alone in halls.) I really hope she can settle.
I think it can help not to have expectations too high - there are always stories of dc going off to university and immediately making 10 new friends and going out every night, and it can make the slower starters feel very inadequate. A good tip is 'don't worry if you don't enjoy freshers week' - that is incredibly common and that week is so unlike the rest of university.
Does your dd have friends from school or outside activities? If it's just a question of her being slower to make friends, then she's likely to do so at university - it will just take a bit longer. Obviously joining clubs and societies that she's genuinely interested in will help, though not a magic instant solution.
The other thing I would bear in mind is that it isn't the end of the world if they come home a lot of weekends - university life can sometimes be quite dull (ssh!) at weekends, and coming home can be a way of easing the transition for those who are finding it harder (I know some on mn would disagree and say you have to throw yourself into it wholeheartedly, but sometimes there isn't that much to throw yourself into at weekends unless you're sporty - a lot of clubs and societies are on in the week.)
Thank you for your suggestions. Once she’s settled she will come out of her shell but she’s not the type to make the first move.
I think the option of coming home on weekends would suit her (best of both worlds.)
I’m going to slow drip some of your suggestions. Thank you @Decorhate too.
She could join things. I was quite shy. I joined 2 choirs and fixed some violiln and piano lessons every week at university, I also joined another club which did some weekend hikes in the country and in year 2 and 3 volunteered every week in a law centre (I read law). I joined a political club too and went to the talks. all that did help as well as having a course with a lot of lectures and also group tutorials where we had to speak.
If possible, choose catered halls as I think they tend to give more opportunity to talk to people
I would also go for a traditional catered hall if that’s available. Eating together is sociable.
I would actually caution against going home at weekends too often. That inevitably means DD will be viewed as “part time” and not available at weekends when plans are made. This then leads to being left out of arrangements. She’s not going to be around and it’s self exclusion.
It depends what you want out of university. My DDs certainly were not bored at weekends. I know they were confident but they found like minded people. In addition they did want to include others who were quieter. They recognised others needed to be asked regarding joining in.
Socialising isn’t just clubs and drinking. Sometimes they went out to meals, to concerts and even shopping! Plus coffee shops and just mooching around together in the park. Even if there is nothing organised, getting to know others and having a chat is important. Students who go home all the time tend to get left out and trying to join in is important. DD1 was in halls with a tv room. They didn’t have TVs in their rooms.
I hope she succeeds in making friends. You don’t need 20 friends but coming out of your room, joining in and being available to be included are important, in my view.
Those are great points. I think catered halls would be beneficial as at least it would mean her showing her face!
It’s such a big world out there and I really hope she enjoys the opportunities ready for her. Thanks everyone for the advice.
I have experience with my own dd.. honestly I say dont worry too much.. . I know its hard and you wonder how she is going to cope. But they do. May I ask is your dd a introvert? If she is you may find that actually she doesnt mind being alone that much and prefer it sometimes. And they find like minded people like themselves.
I would encourage her to join societies that interest her and just be herself. My dd knew she was a introvert, she met similar people like herself and they formed lasting friendships... She never felt left out not going pubbing and clubbing it just wasnt her thing neither did she feel pressured to go. You might find that sometimes its the quiet and unassuming ones that are actually the stronger ones in the long term when it comes to academic study aswell.
I think that it is incredibly hard to predict. I would never have thought that my dc would struggle, but they have. I think that many students move from the nurturing environment of school and family to a lifestyle where they are likely to spend long periods of time (maybe 2 days in a row) with very little to do - and where no one will bother about you, unless you can find some way of connecting with some like-minded people.
I think that life in modern self catered halls is incredibly isolating and I would echo looking for a catered hall. Also it seems to me that the best activities for forging friendships would be those where you do either work together as a group or a team and meet weekly ie choirs, orchestras, sport.
She’s a funny bunny. She can be an introvert, however, there are times when she’s quite a comedian and enjoys socialising with family. She is very quiet until you get to know her. She doesn’t initiate conversations, etc. but she had ventured to new schools, colleges on her own.
@Springquartet she would be happy to be involved in ensembles and similar activities.
I actually thought growing up would make things easier in terms of worry. Epic fail!
Sounds just like my DC. If it is an option, would they consider a university that would be close enough to commute if they found that they didn't like being away?
One more tip, when she is choosing accommodation, it may be best for her to go into halls that actually belong to the university. Lots of universities have 'partner' accommodation, which is run by private companies. It is easier to move between university accommodation than partner accommodation. In the case of the latter, you are tied to a lease for a year. If things don't work out, your dd would still have to pay the rent, unless they find someone else to take it over. I think that this is virtually impossible, as I saw ads from students who had left or wanted to move as early as October. Some of them offered a discount on the rent as an incentive.
If you commute, you definitely will not be part of a “gang”. A couple commuted into Bristol from home on DDs course but they simply went home when they didn’t have lectures so never integrated. If she has character and wants to make the best of the experience, find a university hall (definitely not a comment run one) and try to join in with things she might like. Of course it doesn’t have to be wild nights out but finding something in common with other students is not only possible but far easier if you spend time around them.
I disagree that students spend days doing little. My DDs were always busy! The course won’t just be contact hours. Self study is always required. All sorts of things are available if you attend the fresher week fair.
Going to university and taking the chance to spread your wings is great for employment. Get something on the cv. Volunteer. Help out at events. Most students need more than a degree these days so use the time at university wisely to demonstrate employable skills. I know that’s a big leap from starting out on day one but I would not facilitate coming home or commuting unless you really had to. I’m sure you won’t by the way! It will be fine and she’s got a bit of time to build up resilience and research what she can do.
Thank you all for taking the time to respond. Such a scary time for me (imagining her all alone!!) and you’ve all set my mind at rest with your advice.
Springquartet has a good point - it is very unpredictable, and i think that's because there's a lot of chance involved. Things like; do you gel with your flat (don't expect to be best mates, and don't worry if not!); are you put in a work group (if there are any) with people you click with? are the clubs for your interest open and friendly, or cliquey, or not very active? do you end up in a hall where nobody knows anyone (probably good), or a 'team' has arrived already knowing each other and sticking together?
That makes it nervewracking for the dstudents (and the dparents!), but it means that quite shy people may meet people they have things in common with straight away; and equally, usually outgoing sociable people may strike unlucky and take longer to find their people.
However, one thing university has going for it is numbers - there are so many more potential friends than at school - but you may have to be prepared to go out and find them. And that may mean making the first move - and several occasions if the first few attempts fail! Which I know is incredibly difficult for the very shy. It's not just a question of 'forcing yourself' - if you're really shy it can come across as unwelcoming even if you do extend invites, so I understand the reluctance. The one thing I'd say is 'don't worry if you haven't made friends by the end of week 1, 2, 3 etc' - in real life it takes time, so the expectation of making close chums immediately isn't really realistic (although is fostered by the 'yay! freshers week!' vibe - which I realise is well meaning.)