What to expect when you pack your kids off for Uni…

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stagesofgriefblogDropping your child off at university is a day of mixed emotions: Pride and Anxiety, Joy and Loss… Scary though it might seem for all those involved, for your kids the initial feelings of separation rarely outlast Fresher’s Week. They’ll be off having a good time, and you’ll be sat at home worrying that they’ve only got enough clean clothes for the first month. But having spent 18 years raising, supporting and funding these now intelligent and highly-competent human beings, we think you deserve a break!

Because when such a big part of your life moves half way across the country to study Geology for 4 years at Exeter University (also applicable to other degrees at other universities, we’re not thinking of anyone specific), it’s only natural you’ll experience the five stages of grief

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At first it won’t seem real, and you won’t want it to be. The telly won’t be blaring out at all the unsociable hours and the dishwasher will have never looked so empty, yet you’ll carry on as usual regardless. For a while you might make too much pasta at mealtimes, or even set an extra place at the table as a habit…

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When it hits you, it’ll hit you hard. Why did they need to go and study Geology – or Geography (my mother could never remember) – anyway? Why couldn’t they just stay here and carry on as a Barista? (Or other rubbish summer job, again, we’re not thinking of anyone specific). What’s wrong with me?! Don’t be angry and definitely don’t beat yourself up about it; try and remember all the fun they’ll be having by this point…

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At your most desperate, you’ll do or say anything to get some normality back. When you don’t hear from them for a few days, you may leave a series of embarrassing voicemails – each more overbearing than the last. You’ll offer to do their washing if they come home for a weekend. You’ll offer to pay for their train ticket. You’ll offer to drive there through the night to pick them up personally. At this stage, try to stay sane…

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Feeling a bit deflated about the whole thing, you might notice changes in your mood, or even your diet; perhaps you’ll stop eating, or perhaps you’ll sit down with a big bar of Galaxy and will find you’ve eaten it without even thinking (again, honestly, I’m not thinking of anyone specific…) When you talk about your kids, you’ll speak about them with the wistful fondness of a lost love. Fear not, however, because the final stage is…


It takes a different amount of time for everyone – as long as a few weeks or as short as the time it takes to get back in the car and drive away from the University campus – but however long it takes, it will happen. When you do eventually accept that they’ve gone for good (bar the occasional bundle of washing every other week) it’s time to start enjoying your time without them. Getting away for a few days may be just what you need to forget about it all!


Having drained your bank account for 18 years – which, it’s likely, they’ll still do from time to time – you’ll start to notice an increase in the money you can spend on yourself. And while they’re off enjoying their freedom, know that it’s ok that you do too! Be inspired by their new experiences – go out for drinks with friends, take up a class or two, or get out there and see the world!

Because wherever you are in the world, they’re only a phone call away. And, before you know it, they’ll be back at Christmas and messing up the house all over again…

Is your child off to Uni this year? Share your experiences in our comments section below!

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