The empty nest myth

Alison Patterson, the Complete University Guide's University Liaison and Research Manager, is seeing her youngest child off to university.

She says that getting your new student ready for university brings with it a mixture of emotions all round. Whether you're seeing your first, only or last child off to uni, her insight is invaluable.

Shoot For The Moon

You are pleased that they have reached this point – passed their exams, got a university place, are embarking on the next stage of their lives. 

The answer is probably very well, because you have prepared them for this point and they are ready for their independence.

This year we are seeing our last child off to university. 

When they leave for university you are not saying goodbye.

Packing for the last child will be different to packing for the first. 

Now, the last is on her way and our children are worried about their parents, whether we will manage in the new normal that consists of no school children at home – only two ageing parents that have not lived alone together for about 26 years. 

When we load the car in a few weeks’ time with all the paraphernalia for university it will be as experts. 

We are good at this. We will be efficient, economical, ruthless. We may be a little smug in our expertise. We will also be among the most geriatric of parents dropping their children off. 

What we are not accustomed to is an empty nest; we will have to learn to live a new life at home. 

After all, we are still moving our older children, now graduates, young professionals around the country. 

This is the new world order where on the whole the young do not have the means for full independence. 

So, let’s not get maudlin, or wildly excited about the prospective freedom that should come with empty nesting, because it’s just an illusion – they haven’t really gone at all!

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