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Grrrrr sorry this is a silent vent about ds who is 'undecided' re university - bit late!

(88 Posts)
NotanOtter Tue 25-Aug-09 20:28:17

just offloading really

ds seems to want me to pick his course. Up until three weeks ago ( but only for about 12 months prior IYSWIM) ds wanted to do medicine at university

Then he waxed and waned a little

Then he was in the National youth Theatre over summer and came back all fired up to be an actor

Then started making 'jokes' about not doing medicine hmm

DP willing to just let it all lie but i wont and start questionning if its right for him...cue daily changing of mind

Cue me starting to stress over unwritten personal statement

.....him getting moody now and saying 'no one has done it' and still no nearer WHAT exactly he does want to study

Anyone been here and offer me sound advice ...

frakkinpannikinAGRIPPA Tue 25-Aug-09 20:32:39

Get someone at school to talk to him.

I assume he's doing A-levels in subjects suitable for medicine? They will know what other courses he can apply to or what else he might have to do to get onto a drama course or something.

Also - stop stressing him out (sorry if that sounds harsh). I remember being so stressed I applied for totally the wrong courses, then took an unscheduled gap year, then got to uni and changed course. AND if he's really not certain he should plan for a gap year and know the option of reapplying once he has his resutls is there.

eandh Tue 25-Aug-09 20:32:48

No but I was like that 12 years ago!! eventually picked planning and geography, made my parents traipse around teh country looking at Uni's, picked to go to Portsmouth filled in all grant forms/housing forms etc got my A level results accepted place and then decided I didnt want to go <much disspaointed from my parents> and got a full time job!

Goblinchild Tue 25-Aug-09 20:36:32

Oh yes, you sound like me last year. And then the scramble to find interesting and grown-up things to fill the personal statement with.

Medicine is tough, this year many of the degree offers were looking for 4 or 5 As at A level to even be considered for a place, and if he's havering then he'll find it harder to sell himself at interview.
Hardest thing was for me to step back and understand that if she didn't do things for herself, then she didn't have the self-discipline and general attitude to make it at Uni. You can prod and encourage, but it needs to come from him and if he isn't ready yet, then that's something to work on over the next few months.
He'll eventually have to refine his offers to one firm and one fallback, and they don't have to be the same degree or subject area. So he can hedge his bets a while longer.

bigchris Tue 25-Aug-09 20:40:06

i would back right off

my mum was forever nagging me about what i wanted out of life, what i was going to do etc etc, it very nearly gave me a panic attack

leave him to decide

NotanOtter Tue 25-Aug-09 20:43:19

thanks very much

frakkin.. i know i know i am trying not to but he seems to be actually asking ME what he should do....

i have suggested natural sciences as this seems ideal..he does not need to actually decide his leaning until at least one year in.... he seems none plussed

Goblinchild his application has to be in by october i think time is really really of the essence

he has always been very very very driven and is doing very well academically but just then i was talking about chemistry and he just said - 'that's my worst grade point average so i can't'

<bangs head firmly against any passing brickwork>

NotanOtter Tue 25-Aug-09 20:46:16


i am really not nagging - just coming to the realisation that nothing has been done

he has spent most of the summer working 9-6 in a cancer research lab at a local university having no fun (although enjoying the work) all in the name of doing medicine but i just feel his heart not in it....

he is one of six - there is no time to nag wink

bigchris Tue 25-Aug-09 20:51:34

sorry didnt mean to criticise!
definitely sounds like his heart isnt in medicine
maybe a gap year would help him decide?

NotanOtter Tue 25-Aug-09 20:56:00

no chris i know you are right nagging will do nothing but close his brain still further....

he suddenly seems young when he has always seemed mature...

gap year suddenly seeming attractive but he has always said absolutely not ....hmmm

frakkinpannikinAGRIPPA Tue 25-Aug-09 20:59:16

Natsci at Cambridge?

Is he dead set on Oxbridge?

NotanOtter Tue 25-Aug-09 20:59:47


that is the only mainstay tbh

Pielight Tue 25-Aug-09 21:01:00

Maybe you should say to him

'you decide. If you want to do english and theatre studies - then do that. I honestly don't have some crazy agenda about medicine. I give you my permission to do drama at Manchester if that's what you want.'

then see what happens.

Pielight Tue 25-Aug-09 21:01:26

Oh. See it's Oxford not Manchester.

Milliways Tue 25-Aug-09 21:02:25

Does he fancy a year out?

Medicine is so tough! I spoke to a registrar the other week who is wondering - after over 7 years training, if she is in the right profession!

He can always combine an interest in Drama with an academic course. The Cambridge Footlights????

I feel your pain, DD was unsure as to what exact course until very late, and even last week was saying if she didn't make the grade would take a year out and reapply for a totally different course at another uni!

Hopefully he will get some sound advice from the career staff at his school when Term starts. They tend to spend ages helping them with statements etc.

Good Luck

midnightexpress Tue 25-Aug-09 21:02:50

NAO, don't have children that age myself, so apologies if teaching you to suck eggs, but I have 2 cousins who are currently medical students and I would say that you have to be really dedicated to medicine to get a place on a good course. It's fiercely competitive (no doubt more so in present straitened times) so if your DS isn't really committed, I would imagine that would be very obvious in an interview. So if he does want to do it, I'd suggest he either gives himself a bit of a kick up the backside or takes a year out to make up his mind.

Pielight Tue 25-Aug-09 21:03:00

Or point out all the actors, directors, comedians which have studied medicine only to join dramatic society at Oxford and do that instead. That might cheer him up.

NotanOtter Tue 25-Aug-09 21:03:49

pielight i get you!! wink

I did say to him tonight 'tbh i really would prefer you not to do medicine now as it is hard slog and your heart is not in it imo'

last week i asked him about ppe or theology as he used to be into that sort of thing and he said' hmm i need to do sciences - more gritty - can't be doing with the waffle'

he is good at the waffle - his best scores are in RS!

Ponders Tue 25-Aug-09 21:04:51

Oh just tell him to take a year out, do something earnest or useful or interesting or boring or whatever, think about what he really wants to do & then apply next year when he knows. Or the year after. Or whenever. But make it his decision, not yours, & him to do the legwork, not you.

I've always thought it's ludicrous to make them decide at an age when they really don't know smile

midnightexpress Tue 25-Aug-09 21:06:28

Oh PPE is pretty rigorous I think grin - lots of frightfully bright people did PPE when I was there a hundred years ago.

frakkinpannikinAGRIPPA Tue 25-Aug-09 21:08:32

Natsci sounds a good choice and he can have plenty of time to indulge in theatre! They will like a strong extra-curricular interest and dedication to his academic subjects too.

Why the Oxbridge obsession? Has he visited, talked to people, found out what it's really like, decided on a college?

I was also very Oxbridge focussed but not sure why. I ended up rejecting my place because I knew it was the wrong place for me. Hence the unscheduled gap year! In fact there are a lot of similarities between your DS and I, except I applied for Geography and my extra curricular interest was music which I ended up doing a degree in.

One word of advice though - if he's applying for Oxbridge he can only write a personal statement for that course so no join honours courses in biology and drama!

Fayrazzled Tue 25-Aug-09 21:08:34

If he's undecided, I think NatSCi is a good option. My friend did NatSci and decided at the end of her first year she wanted to do medicine. However, there was no place to do medicine as it operated a quota system (I assume it still does but don't know for sure). However, she chose her NatSci courses carefully and as a result, was able to shave a year off her medicine degree when she did it as a post-grad. (Expensive way of doing it though, because of course she had to pay all her tuition fees as well as living expenses).

If your son's heart isn't in medicine it will come out at the interview. I think a gap year sounds like a good idea. If he gets the great A levels he is presumably predicted he will also be in a stronger position at interview.

On the other hand, if he decides to pursue medicine, there will be plenty of opportunities for acting should he be successful in getting a place at Cambridge- although as a medic he might not have very much time for acting compared to his friends pursuing arts courses.

Which college is he interested in?

Pielight Tue 25-Aug-09 21:09:25

Tell you what. Let's tell him this NOA

'ds - here's how it is. Either you get your sweet arse in gear and give this some proper applied thinking and deciding - or else I'm opening it up to MN. And they are going to decide your course'

then I'll pop up shouting

I think he should do Tourism and Home-making combined with Hispanic Studies

or something like that.

Might work. grin

Ponders Tue 25-Aug-09 21:12:40

If he wants drama then maybe he should think about RADA or something, not uni at all.

He doesn't know what he wants to do any more. He doesn't need to decide now - he is only 18 for heaven's sake! Take a step back, tell him to do the same, there is NO RUSH!!!

NotanOtter Tue 25-Aug-09 21:13:37

thanks so much for insightful input

he has been to oxford and cambridge twice now but again no college preference which i find odd at this stage

oxbridge obsession been since little - he has always loved a challenge

Ponders Tue 25-Aug-09 21:15:07

(My mother pushed my brother into medicine - "my son the doctor". He got through the first year, then messed up the second year; failed twice & dropped out - because it was her idea, not his)

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