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Help for my OH re. commuting to uni please :)

(11 Posts)
MiniMilk0610 Fri 25-Sep-09 21:42:06

Just looking for a bit of advice/people who have been in the same situation really.

My OH is just about to start his 2nd year at uni, about 2 hours drive from where we live. For first year he lived in halls and just came home at weekends to work & see us, this year he was planning to just stay at a friend's house down there 2 nights a week & live with us rest of the time as tutors had told him he only needed to be in 3 days each week.

We have a DD age 3 and I'm pregnant due in December.

So anyway, today he spoke to his new tutor who basically tried to encourage him to drop out and says he will need to be in uni at least 4 days a week, which whilst maybe not sounding like much difference will make a huge difference to us as it means the 3 days he will be home he will have to work and the one day we were all planning to have off together he'll be at uni for. I'm also worried that his tutor sounds really unsupportive - I got pregnant with DD in my first year at uni and went on to complete my degree with her, but was lucky as tutors were incredibly supportive of my situation...I'm worried that without that support my OH will struggle with his course?

OH and his tutor concluded the conversation by saying that he will try to stay at uni but after a few months (so before baby is born) tutor will give him a review & if he's not "up to scratch" he'll be kicked off the course. This sounds unrealistic to me, as surely even if he gets through this review by working super hard, he's not going to be able to continue that level of work once the baby's born...I'm effectively going to end up being a single parent to a toddler & a newborn!!

Am also annoyed as his tutors last year were quite supportive of the situation, had agreed he only needed to be in 3 days a week etc...but now this different tutor's come along & changed everything and made my OH feel like rubbish

Any words of wisdom/reassurance to stop me worrying so much please?? grin

TheFallenMadonna Fri 25-Sep-09 21:47:36

Does he have lectures/labs/tutorials every day? Will he miss anything timetabled by not being there for the extra day?

theworldsgoneDMmad Fri 25-Sep-09 22:31:02

Where were OH and DD when you were at uni?

His tutor isn't being unsupportive - his job is to be realistic.

Why is OH going to uni 2 hours away from where you live and why full time?
Can't he move university/you all move house and/or go part time?

I think you need him to take a year out if not, never mind him!

Not only may he not be able to enjoy your new DC as much as possible, but end up getting a crap mark through trying to do it all and failing.

moondog Fri 25-Sep-09 22:33:08

Well i looked after a newborn and a 3 year old more or less from birth of baby as my dh away for 6 weeks at a time (no w/ends home).
I moved house alone too.

It's manageable in your situation.Hard but not impossible.

MiniMilk0610 Sat 26-Sep-09 09:21:23

Sorry, went to bed soon after posting this last night! blush

Will try to answer all the questions as much as my sleep-deprived brain allows me too!!

Think he has some kind of tutorials every day, tutor has certainly said he has to go in, although this may be to test how committed to the course he is, he wont meet the tutor until he goes back in a week so hard to say for sure.

My DD is actually from a previous relationship so I did uni living near uni with her, several hours away from all family support etc. Was tough to say the least. Met OH when DD was about 9 months old but it wasn't until we moved back closer to family when I finished my degree in june 08 (where we live now) that we've lived together as he's from same area also. He treats DD as his own though & is a really great dad

He goes to uni 2 hours away as it is the best one of the ones he got into, and when he applied we hadn't been together that long, didnt know about future DC etc so thought him just being home at weekends would be ok.

We did look at him moving uni, but the closest one that does his course is still a good hour/hour & half away, a horrible drive to get there and course not as good...he did talk about looking into it again tho but know he wouldn't be very happy about it.

I don't really want to move down to where his uni is as he'd want to move away again once he finishes uni in 2 years time as there aren't many job opportunities down there, so don't think its fair to take DD away from all my family that she adores etc only to uproot her again in 2 years time. Again we did discuss this a few months ago but decided it wouldn't really work. Don't think he'd be able to do his course part-time as is quite a practical course but is worth asking just in case.

I do really worry about him missing out on the first few months of new DC, especially as he didn't get to experience that with DD and is such a great dad, but he sees going to uni as doing something for us, as he looks at it as a way of getting a better job in future to support his family. He is going to ask about whether he can take a year out, although the ideal would be if he could stop january-january so he can have the most time off once DC2 has arrived, we'll see, he's got a one-to-one meeting booked with his new tutor when he goes back in a week so he's got these things to bring up with him.

I know tutor isn't being unsupportive as such, but when I was at uni & told my tutors I was pregnant they were full of suggestions as to how they'd help me etc...even offered to look after DD for a few hours if I needed extra time to finish an essay! suppose it was different tho as I lived close to uni, DD was able to go to nursery on site and it was more of an essay based course so didn't matter so much if I had to miss the odd lecture. Whereas this tutor just spent the whole time on the phone pointing out all the negatives, how hard it would be etc without suggesting any possible solutions/ways to make it work, which made OH feel even worse about it all! But then as has been said, it would be so frustrating if he did spend the next 2 years struggling to balance uni, his family and paid work only to come out with a 'not very good' degree or no degree at all at the end

Thank you Moondog for your story too, I know I would be able to cope, I've done it before with DD and I'd just have to do it again, but it'd be sooo hard [hormonal wail!!! grin] and I just worry I'd end up really resenting OH for 'leaving' me to deal with it all

Aaaagh!! Thank you for all your advice, questions etc, gives us lots more to think about and try to work out before he sees his tutor.

theworldsgoneDMmad Sat 26-Sep-09 09:46:33

What subject is he taking and what mark did he get in his first year? (be as vague as you like)

Will this be his first child?

If he wants to do something for you all, he can take a year out, preferably from now.
You're due in December, so what will happen if you go into labour any time in December (or even November depending on how early you're due) while he's trying to meet end of term deadlines?

Being a good dad is about doing what's best for all the family.

The tutor is quite right in saying he has to go in.
After all, over the years, he'll have taught people more degrees than you and OH have taken.
It's difficult enough to catch up after the usual odd bouts of illness we all get and he shouldn't get into the habit of skipping anything on top of that.

Again, it's not his tutor's responsibility to suggest the solutions.
Has your OH actually taken any initiative himself in meeting with the university's support departments, or is he leaving you to do all the fretting?

MiniMilk0610 Sat 26-Sep-09 10:44:13

Its an art-based subject, they didn't get marks in their first year because it doesn't 'count' towards final mark, so he just got told that he'd passed, although they got feedback after each project which seemed to be fairly positive.

Yeah, its his first biological child so think its really hard for him to truly realise how tough the first few months are, he'll soon learn!!!!

I'm not due til right at the very end of december & was 8 days late with DD so unlikely to go into labour before term finishes I think, although this could of course still happen.

I just worry that if he takes a year out he wont go back. With DD I was really lucky in that she was born right at the start of the summer holidays so I was able to go back into 2nd year without taking any break, not sure I'd have finished my degree if I hadn't done that. Also, might sound a bit silly, but we want to get on with 'real' life as soon as possible, ie. full-time job, saving for mortgage etc & the longer he takes to finish his degree the longer we have to wait. That said, if our relationship ends up failing because of the pressure of it all then it will all be in vain anyway!

I know the tutor is right & knows more about the degree etc. It's just frustrating because his tutors last year had said he'd only have to be in 3 days a week and were quite flexible so we've made plans based on that over the summer and now they're all changing. Not the tutor's fault though.

OH has been to see people at the university with regards to finance, support etc yes. It's difficult as he works 50-60 hours a week during the holidays whereas I only work part-time so I have a lot more time to worry, plus suppose its more in my nature to think things through etc whereas if OH had the choice he'd probably bury his head in the sand & hoped it all worked out!! He is really trying to get it all sorted tho, he isn't leaving it to me I just thought I'd post on here to get some other perspectives, plus its a good excuse to go on Mumsnet more!! grin

moondog Sat 26-Sep-09 12:38:49

I'm in final throes of finishing my very demandingMSc. My dh is still away, I have two kids (still!) and work f/t.

If you are organised, you can do most things.

theworldsgoneDMmad Sat 26-Sep-09 19:48:46

Even the most average of universities give you marks which you can add up at the end of the year to calulate what class that would fall into, even in arts-based subjects (which I've studied myself).
Someone once told me something very similar - it turned out that he hadn't passed at all.

The "first year doesn't count towards final mark" belief is usually true but not always, by the way. I know members of academic boards who have confirmed they have definitely taken this into consideration when awarding classification.

Arts based subjects aren't exactly the easiest to gain employment in afterwards either and I wonder if your OH is off on a bit of a pipedream on this one.
I don't mean to cause offence because I know I sound very negative but this all sounds a bit fishy to me so I think it's best I leave the thread.

I do wish you the best of luck though

MiniMilk0610 Sat 26-Sep-09 20:50:21

Not sure why you think it sounds fishy theworldsgoneDMmad, admittedly I was a bit surprised that he wasn't given marks at first as I was told the marks I'd got at the end of my first year even though they didn't officially count towards my final grading. But I've seen OH's uni profile and there's no mention anywhere of marks, just that he's passed...he's definitely still on course as I've also seen emails from his tutors about 2nd year etc...

I do worry about employment at end of it, but its what OH wants to do, don't want him resenting me & DCs for preventing him from trying his best, and he is prepared to compromise to put his family first - has talked a lot today about possibility of taking year out etc so think we just need to wait until he's spoken to his tutor before deciding what to do next.

Thanks for all advice etc though.

Clowance Mon 28-Sep-09 11:41:47

I'm a bit late to the thread I know but i just wanted to wish you and your OH the best of luck.
It'll be hard whatever you both decide, and i think that is the most important bit, you must make a joint decision otherwise there could end up resentment on either/both sides.

Does OH have to be at uni all day? or is he able to go in for tutorials etc and come home again after?

I'm back to uni tomorrow and have a 4yr old so i know how tricky it is to work everything out.

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