Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Son or daughter about to leave for university or college? Worried about how they will cope? Links to my blog posts about my son's experience at university

I've put together some links to past blog posts which describe how my son got on at university. In a nutshell, my son went away to Sheffield University in 2012. He lasted 2 or 3 days before he was back home for an impromptu 'gap year'. One year later he made a second attempt which, despite a rocky first year, was a success. He is just completing his Master's Degree from the same university. So if your child is going away to university this September and you're a bit worried - or it doesn't work out - check out the links below to see what worked (and what didn't!) for us. Ultimately our story is a Very Positive One even though it starts off a bit negatively...

September 2012:

Preparing for university

After dropping him off

Ben returns home and takes an impromptu 'gap year'

We start to plan the 'gap year' to make it as productive as possible

Writing about what I learned in the process

What would I have done with hindsight?

Student Services help us formulate A Plan

Helping Ben to become more independent

Ben starts to do useful stuff during his gap year

Spring 2013

The university, Ben and me start to plan for success, second time around

Ben and I meet up with the various student services to formulate A Plan

The university nurse puts a (thankfully temporary) spanner in the works

More thoughts on the university nurse's comment

Putting it all into perspective

More thoughts as we plan for university

Summer 2013

Beginning to prepare for university

September - December 2013

Keeping an open mind on the eve of departure

Ben leaves for university again

Echoes of last year...

Sorting stuff out during those early days...

OMG, just days into university Ben falls prey to a phishing email - EMERGENCY

Rollercoasting through that first week

Supporting Ben with hopefully helpful advice

Ben survives the first week

Helping him to cope with a tricky second week

... which wasn't actually that bad, really... some positives!

Two weeks on - an update on university life

More news on how he was coping

... and how I was helping him to cope using Motivational Interviewing techniques

OMG, things go pearshaped...

The legacy of the eating disorder - problems socialising and getting to know people

How I attempted to detach myself from being too emotionally involved as it was all doing my head in!

Proud of him, but it's doom and gloom at uni...

Going back to Sheffield after a weekend at home... doom and gloom...

The road gets rocky

Hopefully mama's Tough Love approach is working

More rocky road stuff...

How was the university support package coming along?

I didn't write any more about university in 2014, not even Ben starting his second year. The reason was that I was beginning to come down with PTSD and felt pretty rubbish. But, to summarise...

Ben moved into a university-owned house for the second year. He didn't know anyone in the house and it was a bit of a dump. But he was very positive when I dropped him off for the start of the university term. We had our ups and downs, but on the whole it was a positive year. Ben met and made new friends within the 'nerdy' circle and was even voted onto the committee of the nerdy Role Playing Games (RPG) society. He and his new friends found a house to share for the following year and in September 2015, Ben left home for his final degree year at Sheffield. During this time I wrote a few blog posts about our experiences to help other families who might find themselves in a similar situation.

Thrilled to see these young people heading for university!

When university didn't work out, the first time round

Worried I may appear too negative!


One good thing that came out of Ben's eating disorder which was helping him in his studies

Overflowing with pride as Ben graduates with a first-class honours degree and makes plans to return to Sheffield to do a Master's degree in September

An update on how he was getting on back at university in 2016

Which almost brings us up to date. Ben finished his Masters Degree in June but has been spending the summer writing up his dissertation. Leaving Sheffield for the final time was sad for both of us but he decided that this September he is going to study at a local university for a PGCE. He did wonder about returning to Sheffield, but his decision was purely based on which course felt right.

He is still in touch with his friends from Sheffield and will no doubt meet up with them in the future. Meanwhile his circle of friends at home is stronger than it's ever been.

So, all in all, a Fantastic Outcome!!!

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