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Exams missed, 18 months of enforced gap year looming, feels scary...

(19 Posts)
Cuddleczar Tue 30-Apr-13 10:15:52

My DD aged 18, academic high-flyer with offer to do medicine at uni, has had to pull out of her exams due to take place in May because of illness (kidney infection that finally responded to third lot of antibiotics, but has left her exhausted and listless and unable to study at the most crucial time; ultrasound done, kidneys looked ok, blood test being done tomorrow). We think she has negotiated to take her exams in November (will know for sure later today). But it feels so scary...she doesn't know what to do with herself because her brain is so geared up to studying so hard, and we feel frightened by the enforced gap year looming. What is the best way to cope both now and after the Nov exams? She thinks she will want to try to do some more work experience in a hospital in July (if health improves), and try to get a job as a healthcare assistant in the autumn, to fund some overseas volunteering in the spring next year. I feel like I need my hand holding--feel so miserable on her behalf that I am not sure I am supporting her in the best way. Also just want to say that I don't post very often but this forum is such a support, particularly for those with difficult teen problems (some of which occur in other parts of my family!). Thank you...

specialsubject Tue 30-Apr-13 10:23:55

sorry about this and hope her health improves soon. Try to see that it is not the end of the world - it is merely a postponement of her plans. I take it that her place can be deferred?

just a thought re overseas volunteering - be careful with this. Some voluntourism can do more harm than good and she needs to research it very carefully. There's plenty that needs doing in this country, and she could do that as well as having a holiday abroad.

good luck to you both.

CMOTDibbler Tue 30-Apr-13 10:43:35

Has she got practical things like her driving test done?

Spending 6-9 months (or longer) working as a phlebotomy assistant or HCA would be the best thing she could do imo - I worked as an HCA in my holidays all through uni, and it gave me a huge number of skills as I went into my medical but not medicine/nursing career.

mrsjay Tue 30-Apr-13 12:11:18

I hope she is better soon kidney infections are horrible, apparently taking a year out is good for them and if she is going to be working she is getting money and life experience I know you are miserable but it isn't all bad and again I hope she is better soon smile

SlumberingDormouse Wed 01-May-13 02:24:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SlumberingDormouse Wed 01-May-13 02:25:53

Seconded re 'voluntourism'; I'm currently writing a book about low-cost and ethical volunteering abroad so it's a subject I'm knowledgeable about. Look for grass-roots projects with management based in the country, not here in the UK. Ethical projects shouldn't be charging more than about £500 a month as an absolute maximum, and many are much less than that or free. Good luck.

schoolchauffeur Wed 01-May-13 08:03:23

Sorry to hear about your daughter's health and I do hope she is soon on the road to full recovery. I think you and she would benefit from a "mindset change". I think high achieving kids are led by schools to believe that there is only one track ie A Levels, straight to uni ( or planned and worthy gap year) etc and so when something happens to derail that track is seems like the end of the world.

But it looks like ultimately your daughter's gap year could be a good thing- the chance to have a long period of working in an area which will provide her with good experience for the future and an overseas trip. I know you will be hurting for her ( my DD has had to deal with a similar situation), but try to behave as if this is really not even a "setback"- just a different way of getting to the same end point.

Cuddleczar Wed 01-May-13 09:36:18

Thank you all for your sage advice and support. chauffeur I think you are totally right and we already felt that a gap year could offer many advantages if she fully exploits all the opportunities available; I am sure she will end up more mature as a result (and I hope able to do more than make a sandwich in the kitchen...I confess I have failed on that part of her education so far! blush). I think the worst thing for her is seeing all her friends go ahead and do the exams and the thought of not having any friends there for her for the (admittedly few) weeks that she will be in college in the autumn. Doesn't help that some of those around her are being negative about the gap year...

Lulu5000 Wed 01-May-13 10:08:05

Hi, there, just a thought...First I hope your daughter gets well very soon then give yourselves a good pat on the back for what you're achieved so far, maybe it's time to search for the answers in the past challenges.

Maybe you can help me, I have three teen boys at home and only one is school! One just dropped out in year 11, and the other doesn't cope in schools (he's in a tuition centre).

specialsubject Wed 01-May-13 10:36:28

there's a relevant article about voluntourism on the BBC site this morning.

she has to change her plans due to health. Those being negative are being stupid.

oh yes, please do equip her with the domestic skills - budgeting, washing machine operation, housework etc. Once she feels fit again she should be doing most of this at home.

JenaiMorris Wed 01-May-13 16:56:14

Would she be up for au pairing somewhere?

I had an absolute blast doing that when I was 18, despite being utterly rubbish at domestics - Madame had to tell me to sweep the kitchen floor before I mopped it for example.

Oh and she later accused me of being a prostitute (I can see that this might not be selling the au pair thing to you... grin )

Bonsoir Wed 01-May-13 16:59:43

How about au pairing in a family of doctors overseas? That way she could learn a language and hopefully learn all about another health system. A prospective medical student should be an easy sell to a family looking for an au pair.

JenaiMorris Wed 01-May-13 18:26:09

Bonsoir that is inspired.

schoolchauffeur Wed 01-May-13 19:24:38

Sorry to hear that some are being negative about her gap year. My DD suffered some health problems at the end of year 12/early year 13 so she dropped to two A levels. She will leave with 2 A2s and 2 AS levels so she will be doing a crash third Alevel at tutorial college next year.

Many of her friends have been dismissive, but she has researched all her options, planned her gap year trip and found herself a part time job.

She was initially stressed about being "different" but actually now she is really relaxed, working really hard for her exams and doesn't have the stress of conditional offers etc. Just looking forward to next year and making her decisions then.

I really hope your DD is able to turn it round mentally and see this as a positive thing. My DD was really upset initially, but just a few months has really made her turn a corner and see the positive benefits of her slightly different route.

mrsjay Wed 01-May-13 20:38:46

Oh and she later accused me of being a prostitute (I can see that this might not be selling the au pair thing to you...


JenaiMorris Wed 01-May-13 22:59:04

In all honesty, I was a spectacularly bad au pair (although I never actually was a prostitute).

I made lots of au pair friends, one of whom went on to take full advantage of the contacts her boss (who happened to be a flashy art dealer) shared when she completed her Art History degree a couple of years later.

The woman I worked for was also an art dealer - it was a real eye opener. I can't help but think that living in a doctor's family would open similar doors - Bonsoir's idea is super.

Cuddleczar Thu 09-May-13 18:18:08

Thank you all. Some great ideas in there. It's all done and dusted now, defo taking the exams in Nov and fortunately although progress is slow, she is slowly getting better. (Amazing how it has really knocked the stuffing out of her...I have never had anything like that. Except possibly having children grin). It was great having your support at a time when we really weren't quite sure it was the right course to take, thank you.

eatyourveg Thu 09-May-13 19:55:01

what about volunteering for the International Red Cross?

mindfulmum Fri 10-May-13 00:46:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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