What to expect after they've gone

Finally, your child is at university.  If you're wondering how you're going to cope, we're here to reassure you. The whirlwind of emotions that you may feel is completely normal!

For them the nervousness will soon evaporate as Freshers/Welcome Week activities and the course get underway. If necessary, advice centres, tutors and counselling services will be on hand to provide help and support.

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Things change

In fact it may well be that you find the transition harder than they do.

  • A new student is embarking on an exciting adventure that will lead to new experiences and new possibilities. It will be a new beginning for you, too and it will also be an ending. Don't under-estimate how long it will take you to adjust.

Back together soon

Just as you are settling into a new routine, discovering new things to do as family life takes up less time, the Christmas vacation arrives and you are all together again.

  • Your son or daughter is the same person, a few months older, back in the same bedroom and abandoning clothes in the same place on the landing.
  • They will have moved on and grown up in subtle ways. You, too, are the same person but you will have moved on as well.

Keeping in touch will help

It probably won't be you who is first to get in touch, but keep the contact going as the distractions of term-time mount.

  • Regardless of how long or short the phone calls, texts and emails are, you can't say everything that could be said.
  • Indeed, one thing you can be sure of is that you won't get told everything. That is probably just as well – it would only make you worry about them even more!

People change

So, however hard you try, the chances are that both of you will behave as though the other hasn't changed a bit.

  • They will expect their bedroom to be exactly as they left it and your routines to be the same as ever. You will expect them to behave just as they used to.

  • You will almost certainly both be wrong and there will be another process of readjustment to go through.