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17 year old DD @ Edinburgh University is finding it hard, any others out there?

(27 Posts)
LizzieMacQueen Wed 14-Sep-16 23:49:24

I'm asking on behalf of my DD who is struggling to find similar souls and is feeling left out of all the Fresher's week stuff that is on.

With the exception of one girl (who may be going home) she has not met any other Scottish 17 year olds in her accommodation or on her course.

And because she has no-one to hang around with this week she is convinced that she'll never make friends and will have a miserable 5 years ahead of her!

So without wanting to sound like a dating advert, do you know anyone in a similar position?

PM me for confidentiality if you prefer - I can then tell you a bit more about my DD.


(posted in chat too)

Couchpotato3 Wed 14-Sep-16 23:58:13

It probably won't be much comfort to her right now, but she won't be the only one feeling lost and lonely. Fresher's week is billed as this amazing opportunity to make new friends etc etc but the reality is that it is quite stressful and difficult for a lot of kids. Things will settle down a lot in the next week or so, lectures will get going, and she will have some other things to get her teeth in to. The first three weeks don't define your whole university career, and the nice thing about uni is that you are far more likely to encounter like-minded people than at school, where you are essentially thrust together with a very small group of people who don't necessarily share any of your interests. At 17, a year or so's difference in age feels like a huge deal, but it will quickly become less important. She needs to try and find people who have similar interests - maybe try out some of the uni societies and clubs - there will be plenty if she goes looking. My DD was 19 when she went to uni, but found the whole thing quite daunting and difficult for at least the first term. She was also quite homesick, but by Christmas, she had made some friends and they were looking for flats for the second year together and things were falling into place. Good luck to your DD. Sorry no magic advice to make things easier, but just know that it will get better.

LizzieMacQueen Thu 15-Sep-16 00:05:04

Thanks couchpotato3, that's what I have been trying to tell her ---- it's hard initailly and I'm close enough that I could pick her up and take her home (I won't). Her two flat mates are 19 already and everywhere she looks there are English or international students who are oozing with confidence.

It's just making the connections with similar girls. I'll mention the associations to her - she already signed up to netball but she said they weren't hugely welcoming, just asked her to leave her email.

Blondie1984 Thu 15-Sep-16 00:21:08

Tell her to have a look at the forums on the studentroom website - she might find some people on there who are at her uni and feeling the same way

HairsprayAndHeels Thu 15-Sep-16 00:30:46

Sorry she's having a tough time - has she been to the societies fair yet, or just sports? They're in different places this year.

Fwiw I hated freshers' week (and I was 18 and English), but found I settled a lot when lectures started and I saw the same people every day. I'm doing a PhD here now, so it definitely improved grin

HairsprayAndHeels Thu 15-Sep-16 00:32:18

PM me if you like - I might be able to suggest some societies that might suit her. You can also play netball through your school as well, so that's another option.

LizzieMacQueen Thu 15-Sep-16 01:01:59

Thanks all, she's going to take a look at the Freshers activities fair tomorrow. I've told her to pretend to be confident, 'fake it until you make it'.

VioletBam Thu 15-Sep-16 01:08:05

She's young and it IS hard. Her being Scottish though hasn't much to do with anything and she needs to move on from worrying about other people's nationality a bit....what are her interests? There will be clubs geared towards them.

BeJayKayven Thu 15-Sep-16 01:26:27

I hope your dd finds her way, it isn't easy for all of them

botanically Thu 15-Sep-16 01:49:06

Once classes start she'll be fine, she'll get to know people in small tutorial groups and she'll find herself recognising people in lectures and sitting with them etc etc. I always found that asking for help with something (even if I didn't need it grin) was a good conversation starter. "Are you going to X, Y, Z - I'm not sure where it is!" etc.

I'm not sure why she can't just try to befriend the English and international students though...

LizzieMacQueen Thu 15-Sep-16 07:43:59

I said the same botanically, pretend she doesn't know what bus to get just to make conversation.

But it's not that she only wants to mix with Scottish girls, she's finding the other students are often 2 years older than her and she finds that intimidating. I think she is starting to feel a bit more's early days, we'll see what today brings.

Lightbulbon Thu 15-Sep-16 08:03:06

It is a shock when you are 17 at uni and so many of the English kids are 19.

Just fake it til you make it!

prettybird Thu 15-Sep-16 11:29:30

I was 17.5 when I started at St Andrews (a looooong time ago blush) straight from 5th year and knew no-one (all my friends had done a 6th year or stayed at home and gone to Glasgow Uni)

I was in an old fashioned catered hall of residence so that made it a bit easier.

Nevertheless I did struggle a bit for the first 6 months - until I had an epiphany and realised that my Uni friends wouldn't be teasing me (I was very naive wink) if they realised it was upsetting me. hmm

Once the studying starts, she'll get to know other people with the same interest as her. She should also make the most of Freshers Week to join lots of different clubs/sporting activity. She may or may not follow through with any or all of them - but the whole point of Uni is opening up to new experiences.

BertrandRussell Thu 15-Sep-16 11:30:55

Is she into drama at all?

GeorgiePeachie Thu 15-Sep-16 11:34:26

I found uni hugely isolating in Freshers week. I didn't want to go to any of the socials they'd organised as they all sounded awful and based on drinking. Even finding someone to go to fair with is pointless because you realise the person from you halls is actually not into any of the things you're interested in. Most of the booths are rubbish anyway. Decide what you want to get from uni and sign up. work out the timetabling later and see what you can do this year.
Ugh I feel for her, its miserable at first.

FoggyMorn Thu 15-Sep-16 12:04:40

It really tough isn't it op? My DS started at an English uni at age 17 (and that was after completing Scottish 6th year, not straight from 5th. Most of the students on his course were 19 or even 20. For 2 years he was the youngest student in his college, and he graduated at age 20 - the age of a good number of first years.

One of the downsides was, he had a different colour student id, to alert student bar that he "couldn't" drink. That did cause some agro- his academic parents did make the most of that by buying him lots of lemonade and deciding he was to be the college mascot, which he took in the (fun) spirt intended.

I think it is a case of socially "fake it till you make it". Edinburgh has an academic parents system too don't they? I thought one of the ideas behind that was to help the 1st years get to know new people? Has your DD met her "parents"? Do they have some activities planned?

LindyHemming Sun 18-Sep-16 21:38:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Dontrocktheboat Sun 18-Sep-16 21:46:53

I can totally sympathise with this. I went to Edinburgh uni albeit 20 ish years ago as a Scottish 17 year old and there was an absolute world of difference between me and my flat mates all of whom were from the south of England, had been to public school and had gap years - one turned 20 before I was even 18. I just did not have the confident social attitude to make it in their company, and I think as Scots we are just naturally less effusive (well I was anyway) which gets interpreted as standoffishness. I did quite quickly find some (Scottish and then English but from less intimidating social spheres) friends but at times I was quite miserable in my flat.

In retrospect I think 17 is too young for a lot to go to university and am glad my kids are growing up in England. I would absolutely recommend joining a society she is interested in where she is bound to meet like minded people.

nothingtodotoday Sun 18-Sep-16 21:52:37

she can go to the Uni events at 17, just not to clubs in town. A good plan is to join clubs which she is interested in such as swimming, drama, an orchestra etc as that's where they make most friends.

Dontrocktheboat Sun 18-Sep-16 22:02:41

Also, what I (and others) found with a certain type of English student (commonly referred to as yahs, who are pretty prevalent in Edinburgh) they are not actually there to make friends with other 'normal' students, they already have impressive social networks from various boarding schools and tend to stick with them (then move to the new town after slumming it for the first year in student accommodation). Although all my flat mates were nice enough people, when they arrived they pretty quickly established why they all knew in common from various society social events and spent the rest of the term going to dinner parties with people called Tuppie and Alethea.
She just needs to find some normal people with whom to go to the union - they will be out there!

ticketiboo Fri 23-Sep-16 19:19:10

Omg Dontrocktheboat, I could have written your post. In my first year I was in a flat with Tabithas and Olivias, whose pals Will and James had all gone to eton. I wanted to be grungy and listen to oasis, they had cultures dinner parties having all done a year out. I was so out of it. No help at all to OP as I ended up moving to Glasgow uni and was miles happier there. But think advice about waiting to meet folk on her course could help massively. Hope she's okay.

Dontrocktheboat Sun 25-Sep-16 12:57:50

Yes, definitely remember the dinner parties with old Etonians. One of my flatmates was the god daughter of a prominent Royal and used to go on pheasant shooting weekends. I had been to a Scottish comprehensive and my idea of sophistication was drinking Malibu and lemonade in our underage friendly local (one of said flatmates did refer to Malibu as common...)

FinallyHere Sun 25-Sep-16 13:34:10

One of the big things I learned at college, was that the really good friends come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Thinking that there is a particular type of person 'scots, 17year olds' that you will click with, isn't going to be helpful , so that that sooner she realises thus the better.

Hope she finds 'her tribe', some interests in common with some people sooner rather than later.

Dontrocktheboat Sun 25-Sep-16 17:34:03

Finallyhere, agree with that but that was my attitude going to university - I then found there are some echelons of society that are pretty impermeable. There really are two tiers of students at Edinburgh (at least were) and they just don't mix. (For what it's worth I made friends from several different cultures and backgrounds there not just Scottish seventeen year olds!)

Groovee Mon 26-Sep-16 09:27:12

How is she getting on now OP?

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