In association with Unite Students
I never had the opportunity to GO to university in the traditional sense.
I mean sure, I WENT – I got the degree and everything – but I already had a two year old, (teenage pregnancy and all that), so I didn’t ever do that whole ‘pack all your belongings into the back of a Nissan Micra and spend three years living in a shared house on pizza and cheap beer’ thing. I did share a house, technically, but it was with Bee, and she was too small to drink beer and we didn’t have enough money for takeaway.
From day one then, my ‘university essentials’ have been ‘an entire small two bedroom house full of things you need for a family.’
I got on with it though, it was all good.
What it does mean though, is that I had to put a little extra thought into helping Bee to make that leap from home to university, as I knew that I hadn’t had the typical experience myself and so wasn’t sure entirely what she should expect. With Belle too, if she decides that’s what she wants to do, it’s going to be a massive step, especially given how difficult she has found school over the last couple of years.
She wouldn’t be alone in feeling anxious about it though.
According to a report from Unite, 61% of students feel anxious about making the leap from school to university and only 9% – less than one in ten – say it closely matched their expectations. This could be a good or a bad thing, depending on how you look at it, but either way we’re clearly not prepared.
The worry is perhaps not surprising given the apparent lack of information and advice from parents – 77% of 16-19 year olds heading off to university said they hadn’t been given advice on sex or mental health, 72% hadn’t had advice about relationships and 66% were in the dark about drugs.
I find that pretty shocking, don’t you?
I’m not saying I would do a big sit down ‘this is what you need to know’ type talk before they packed up the Micra, but they’re such important topics, surely they’re an ongoing conversation with young people, whether or not they go to university?
We do seem to do a bit better on the practical side.
66% of 16-19 say they’ve been given advice on things like cooking and money management, although even then, that’s a third of students going in with nothing? Throw in stats like 55% of parents not thinking their child will be able to cook a meal from scratch, and you can’t help but wonder if there is room for improvement here.
Would you feel confident in your teenager’s basic cooking skills? Could they whip up something more impressive that a massive bowl of cereal?
As a bit of an experiment, I thought it might be fun to test out just how prepared Belle might be on a practical level by gathering a few university essentials. View Post