University experience is awful at the moment

(618 Posts)
Cupcakke Tue 22-Sep-20 09:57:53

DD moved into university on Saturday. The rules are very stringent, both campus bars are closed, the university library has very little capacity and the restaurant is take away only. There are virtually no freshers events in person.

Her flat mates are very shy and not very social and she is in a small flat.

Large gatherings keep occurring but the penalty for this is very severe so DD very cautious not to attend these.

She is essentially watching Netflix in her room. I fear for the loneliness. The online events she has attended are poorly attended and just very boring.

Teaching starts next week and her In person contact hours are just 4 hours a week.

Anyone else’s dc thinking this years university experience is non existent.

OP’s posts: |
AgentCooper Tue 22-Sep-20 09:59:36

I’m sorry flowers it is awful. I work at a university (though working from home atm) and our students have zero face to face teaching. I worry about them.

ForestbytheSea Tue 22-Sep-20 10:07:13

My dd is due to go on Sunday. I’m feeling really worried about it, and tbh starting to wonder whether it’s worth going. She’s been told she can only socialise with the people in her flat but no idea how many they are or who they are. I am beginning to think that universities shouldn’t be allowed to get away with offering so little for the extortionate fees.

MarchingFrogs Tue 22-Sep-20 10:15:50

Is this an isolated campus with poor transport, or could she at least get out and investigate the local area?

Gymntonic Tue 22-Sep-20 11:30:17

It's all sub par isn't it.
And I don't think the universities are telling the full story here. They have a role to support and facilitate safe social interaction and group forming. It's disingenuous to suggest that young humans, living alone, will fail simply because they're not rich enough, bright enough or failed to apply themselves to online learning.

Student suicide is sadly always a news story, in the autumn especially, and I fear it's not long before we hear of the first non-covid university deaths.

Cupcakke Tue 22-Sep-20 13:04:03

She’s in a campus outside of a city and has explored the city. But in regards to freshers events the Uni have put zilch on in person.

OP’s posts: |
Fyzz Tue 22-Sep-20 16:23:26

I am grateful that my DC did not start this year. Having said that they are both shy and freshers was not the time or place where they made friends. They both felt it was over rated and disappointing.
In both cases it was the flatmates where they eventually bonded making lasting friendships.
Hopefully your DDs flatmates will come out of their shell and make something of it.


lanadelgrey Tue 22-Sep-20 17:42:18

How about something simple such as ordering a pizza and eating it together. My DD has done that and also gone to the supermarket with her flat. Ok it’s not wold clubbing and pub crawls but it helped break the ice

ramblingsonthego Tue 22-Sep-20 17:48:07

Where I work we are still putting on an in person freshers fair and a lot of online events. Student engagement with the online events is very low, and even with encouragement it is hard to motivate them to attend online.

We get its different and a bit shit, but all of the engagement teams are trying to do as much as possible within the guidelines. Try and encourage your daughter to join in with some of the SU online events that will be put on.

Bowbridge Tue 22-Sep-20 18:41:52

Not a lot is happening for Freshers for my DD. However, her dept has organised a treasure hunt around the city one day this week. Could your DD get together with a few flat mates to do something similar? It is a fun way to explore the city and bond.

MajesticWhine Tue 22-Sep-20 18:45:20

My DD has just started. It is crap. She is incredibly sociable so she is trying hard to meet people but I really feel bad for her. I'm worried about the mental health of young people stuck in a small bedroom with a laptop for company. She tells me that in the online lectures they are not allowed their cameras or microphones on so they can't even see people.

FurryGiraffe Tue 22-Sep-20 18:53:42

There's no point in a student having a mic or a camera on in a lecture. The software isn't designed to let everyone see each other. It's designed to let the students hear and see the lecturer. In a Zoom webinar the software doesn't facilitate even the lecturer seeing the students, though there should be mechanisms for asking questions (chat function, or raising hands).

If tutorials are also online, those will (I would imagine) allow her to interact with her peers.

I appreciate it's all a bit crap for the students though. It's not the experience they want/deserve. Most staff in universities really are working as hard as they can to give the students the best experience they can. But our hands really are tied.

Sunshineboo Tue 22-Sep-20 18:58:27

i work in a university and our hall students are in households with their floor. events are being put on for them to do together, and there are larger events al be it socially distanced. there are also virtual events

it is not as it was last year, but there is time and effort being put into settling the students in, particularly by student led committees

please recommend that your daughter to look into societies or volunteering through the union - she may meet like minded people through that (albeit virtual or socially distanced)

AllNewThings Tue 22-Sep-20 19:04:28

My DD is the same 😕. No freshers events where she is either. She's the eldest of our 5 DC and so is used to a busy house and is desperately lonely. She said that she is trying to interact with every single person she sees around campus, in the hope of sparking some kind of friendship. I worry for her mental health.

caz123456 Tue 22-Sep-20 19:13:42

My daughter has been in halls for 11 days now and is in an apartment for 5 but there's only her and a lad so far. He has literally not come out of his room when she is there! He came into the kitchen once whilst she was there and she said hi, but he blanked her and walked out. She's left him a couple of notes in the kitchen to introduce herself in case he's shy, but he's just taken the notes and not responded. I'm worried about her, but she does have one friend there and she's been out with him and his flatmates but it's not the same is it? She seems OK though, i think I'm worried more than she is.

iftherewereahorseyinthehouse Tue 22-Sep-20 19:32:41

Gosh the poor things. This is making me anxious just reading it. I had a hideous first year in halls without any of this to deal with. I think they need to give it til Christmas and hopefully it will get better but meeting people must be next to impossible. I think the flat of five will warm up once they get used to each other, pizza and wine night is a good idea!

Whistle73 Tue 22-Sep-20 19:44:14

Gosh this is really not my DD's experience at all! I feel very lucky that so far she is having a great time. She gets on well with three of her four flat mates and has also struck up a friend ship with girls in the flat opposite. She been shopping with a friend already and has been out every night so far at socially distanced events and although that's going to dry up now I feel there is enough going on in halls to keep her busy,

LauraAshleyDuvetCover Tue 22-Sep-20 19:55:03

I'm a PhD student, and am teaching online small-group workshops. We're being asked to keep an eye on our students.

For some courses, I'll be the only "staff" they see regularly in
an interactive way, which I'm a bit worried about. Depending on their courses it'll be one of the only chances for group work too, so I think I might try to make sure I build a bit of chat time in.

I was horribly homesick when I started in normal times, I'm honestly not sure how I'd have coped with this. I'll be more cheerful than that when I see them, don't worry!

CamelotSweetheart Tue 22-Sep-20 20:07:23

I think a lot of the issue with half empty flats is that they've all gone a lot earlier than they might otherwise, so some of them have gone as much as two weeks before the actual start of term.
Unis have opened their halls early to facilitate social distancing and not having everyone turn up on the same day, not because they need the students arrive so soon.
It's a long time to hang around before there's anything to do (especially with such a meagre freshers offering). Hopefully once term is underway, it will be easier for them.

Gymntonic Tue 22-Sep-20 20:16:47

Some of these situations are absolutely godawful. And online socialising is no treat at all after a day of online lectures and working on a laptop. Everything is shut at 10.00 pm and there are some long evenings ahead for those without friendly flatmates.
I hope there are plans for extra student counselling and pastoral visits to flats not just security patrols. @LauraAshleyDuvetCover that's a lot on your shoulders.

unfortunateevents Tue 22-Sep-20 20:51:45

@caz123456 snap! DS2 moved in on Saturday and only two people have been allocated to his flat of EIGHT! Moving in for that uni has finished now. The other student is, we believe, international and hasn't been seen or heard from since he moved in. He has no idea if they are male or female, he thinks he has heard them moving around a few times in their room but they have never answered when he knocks. So he is effectively completely on his own for cooking, eating - everything. As others have said the students are only supposed to be socialising with their own flat but I know he has been out with the girls from the flat next door and someone came over last night to cook with him. Luckily he is resilient and articulate so will hopefully be able to sort the situation out on his own but if not, I'm going to be raising merry hell. So far he hasn't had a response to his email to accommodation to ask them what is going on. In this time, when everything is online and freshers is effectively cancelled, how can anyone think that this acceptable? Apart from the wellbeing and mental health considerations, his flat is ground-floor and accessed directly from outside so it is not safe for anyone to be in occupation on their own!

Frouby Tue 22-Sep-20 21:01:16

I started uni as a very mature student, first freshers event was today, online.

Ive said to my dh I feel so sorry for the students that have moved into halls or wvn private accommodation right now. We ha e 45 mins f2f teaching until at least October half term. There have been no in person freshers events.

Some of the students on my group WhatsApp have been out out. A few have met each other for coffee or drinks etc. But most are just mooching around town, not particularly bonding with flatmates, missing home and family and I can't see it getting any better anytime soon.

By contrast a friend of the family has a student in a different uni and he's struggled socially but had masses of f2f teaching, 6 hours today apparently. If I was a parent if a student with either 0 or very littlw f2f teaching and my child wasn't managing well, I'd try and bring them home to do the online stuff for now. Am sure unis would rather have the next lot of fees rather than drop outs.

akerman Tue 22-Sep-20 21:06:01

My DS started two weeks ago. Private halls. It’s OK so far.he seems to have met quite a few people and has been to the pub etc with some of them.

University staff have worked phenomenallyhard over the summer.

GaribaldiGirl Tue 22-Sep-20 21:54:13

My daughter’s first week has been rubbish. On an empty corridor in a catered hall where you have to sit separately to eat. Course is online. Freshers was online. She’s persevering and has met people from her course off site - but it’s Scotland so feel it’s all going to get worse and she may well give up and come home. I know Covid has been hard for lots of people but these poor young people miles from home and expected to live in solitary bubbles with their laptops. Awful.

monkeyonthetable Tue 22-Sep-20 22:02:18

@Cupcakke - DS's uni has also put on no freshers events. It seems so - well - cruel! They are all new and lost in big new cities without any familiar faces. There are no friendly second years to welcome them, no mixers, no socially-distanced get togethers, nothing. I don't understand why they couldn't, as educational establishments with exemptions from the Rule of Six, created some large bubbles and helped them feel normal.

DS is relatively lucky. He's in a central HoR and has met some lively people and some quiet people, so already there are a few small groups getting established. They sit in parks and play cards and chat. Not quite the exciting rite of passage he expected. But once term starts there's one hour of contact time. One! The rest of the time it's Zoom and sit in your room doing solo study.

I think the rate of attrition this year will be huge. Unis are really not focusing on the mental and emotional wellbeing of their Freshers. One boy in DS's flat lasted three days then went home, saying, what's the point? - it's all online. The unis need to rethink this and using sensible social distancing techniques to enable live contact, instead of throwing everything online.

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