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Bored at university!!??

(61 Posts)
fluttERBY123 Thu 02-Jan-20 17:46:04

My gd started university in September. She says she is bored there. I was shocked as was my daughter, her aunt. It seems students don't talk to each other. You go into the refectory ( a hotbed of socialising and gossip in my time) and people are all on their laptops or phones. Gd is a very confident and outgoing person. I was so busy at university myself I had very little time to study. Is the above the case with other gcs? (Birmingham, since you ask.)

SirChenjin Thu 02-Jan-20 17:51:36

Yes - it seems to be very common from speaking to friends who also have children at university. In my day you ate, drank and socialised in shared kitchens and living areas in halls and flats. Now they seem to have online group chats and communicate that way. DS is lucky and met his friends on his course but DD really struggled - they all seemed to go their separate ways after the lecture. She’s now in third year and has made a small group of friends but there doesn’t seem to be the same range of social events we had.

nanaK54 Thu 02-Jan-20 18:00:57

This my oldest grandson's experience too, although I would have to say that he is quite introverted so not a 'problem' for him. He is in halls, really doesn't socialise with his flatmates and definitely no communal cooking.

Chestnut Thu 02-Jan-20 18:10:20

I am shocked but not surprised. Those damn phones have taken over everyone's lives. The Universities really should make an effort to get people mixing socially otherwise I fear for the future. These are young people who need to learn social skills and how to communicate in person not just online.

janeainsworth Thu 02-Jan-20 18:14:12

Inanimate objects cannot take over people’s lives, Chestnut.
Even young people at university have a choice as to how they communicate with those around them.

Doodledog Thu 02-Jan-20 18:17:09

I worked in a university for years, and still do from time to time.

I think that as with so much about human interaction, these things vary from person to person, and possibly course to course.

Students who get involved with societies and things like voluntary work tend to build networks and make a wide circle of friends, whilst those who turn up for classes and then go home don't. I also think that more people live at home (ie with parents) than in the past, so there is a lot more commuting, and less after-hours socialising than we did.

As a generalisation, a lot of students are very focussed on their marks and getting First Class degrees, which were very rare in the past, but are now more common. Some students feel that if they don't get a First they have wasted their time and money (which is not true, of course, but leads to a very study-driven experience, rather than an all-rounded one).

I'm not sure if there is a question in the OP, but in my experience the situation you describe is not uncommon, but if your grand-daughter wants a different experience it is easy enough to find it - it just won't come to her. If she asks about societies that would interest her in the SU it would be a good place to start meeting people to befriend. Her department might run extra-curricular groups and committees, too.

Doodledog Thu 02-Jan-20 18:26:35

Chestnut - just how do you think that 'Universities' can make an effort to get people to mix?

Someone would have to take responsibility for this - who should that be? How do you think that staff could (or should) interfere with the way in which young (or older) adults communicate?

Group chats on phones are a way for students to talk to one another when a lot of them are unable to be present because of work commitments. Very few students nowadays can manage without at least a part-time job, and many have to work pretty much full-time in order to pay the rent and bills. The days of sitting about in common rooms are a thing of the past, unfortunately, and there is nothing that staff can do to change that.

At least students who set up groups online or on phones are making an effort to communicate outside of lectures and seminars - it is a good sign, rather than something to be feared.

Doodle Thu 02-Jan-20 19:41:05

How interesting. I had no idea. I really thought that university would be a place where lots of socialising went on. I never went myself so have no concept of what it was like.
I felt (feel) sorry for my DGS who has autism and would love to have friends but struggles so much with relationships. He wouldn’t be going to university anyway but I felt he would be missing out. I wonder if that is the way of the world now. Will we end up not talking at all.

ElaineI Thu 02-Jan-20 19:55:24

I don't really understand this. My niece and nephew are at uni - York and East Anglia and both have joined lots of clubs and both had communal kitchens in halls where they ended up cooking with a group of people. Niece is always on the go - ballet, shows, skiing, surfing, helping new students and was chief organiser of finding a flat with her new friends for her 2nd year. Nephew has also joined lots of groups - politics, debating, history and has made a lot of friends and they have just secured a flat for 2nd year - he is the quiet one of the family. I think you need to join things to meet likewise people or you might feel lonely but need to make the effort. Does she live at home or in halls? Maybe college would be better if it is more local. Young people are encouraged to go to uni these days and many schools base their success on how many students go on to uni but it is not always the best route for everyone. Perhaps her parents could go through some of the societies available with her and select a couple she could try out.

BlueBelle Thu 02-Jan-20 19:59:22

I worry about my grand daughter who wants to go 2021 I was thinking it would be the making of her but although she’s a very loyal friend she takes ages to make friends and can never make the first move she’s still friends with the girl she met at play school aged 3 she ll probably find a friend the day before she leaves She’s very socially shy and afraid of rejection
I ll worry that’s she’s stuck in on her own all the time

Septimia Thu 02-Jan-20 20:18:40

It seems to be a recent problem. When DS went to uni he was in a hall of residence that had a refectory, and was on a mixed floor with kitchens. There was a large group of them, lads and lasses, all doing different courses, who went around together. Later they shared houses and remained friends. Most of them are still in touch.

So I would suggest that anyone going to uni should go into a hall of residence, preferably mixed, and certainly not start off isolated in private accommodation.

Tangerine Thu 02-Jan-20 20:28:28

It's not just with going to University. Whatever you do, work or studying, you have to perhaps go out and look for friendship/activities etc.

People won't come to you in four walls.

janeainsworth Thu 02-Jan-20 20:30:49

It seems that in some people’s minds, the primary purpose of going to university - to broaden & deepen your knowledge of a subject which fascinates you, or to follow a vocational course leading to a qualification which will enable you to follow a professional career, has been sidelined by the party-going, socialising type of activity that people who aren’t actually at university, imagine goes on all the time.
I suspect the reality is rather different.
I imagine that most young people at university work as hard for their degrees, if not harder, than our generation did. Then, as now, there were lots of people who were studiously quiet and didn’t have riotous social lives.

But the popular image of students as party-going layabouts was as prevalent then as it seems to be now. I went to Manchester in 1967 and my daily journey to the dental school involved a two-mile bus journey.
As the bus arrived outside the Students’ Union on Oxford Road, one of the regular bus drivers would call out “Manchester holiday camp!”
grin

notanan2 Thu 02-Jan-20 20:46:09

A lot of it has to do with the cost.
There are no "beer degree" students any more (just there for the social life, not bothered if they barely scrape a 3rd).

Most students nowadays take their course very seriously. They are there to get their moneys worth. Its a totally different atmosphere. Few drink. Mucking about and missing lectures is frowned upon by peers.

If a student isnt committed to their course they will be bored. Students study between lectures its not all "lets hit the SU and day drink". Students do talk to each other, but in study groups, about their coursework!

Its hip to be square now.

SirChenjin Thu 02-Jan-20 21:16:48

Be aware that halls of residence are quite different nowadays - they tend to be self contained flats, for individuals or small groups. There are often communal kitchens and eating areas but many (most?) have en-suite facilities. If you get on with your flat mates ie the 4/5/6 people who you share the communal area with and have similar lifestyles then it can be great - but with so many students working part time or having a lot of free periods which require self study then they can be like ships that pass in the night, especially if they’re thrown together with people who aren’t similarly minded.

notanan2 Thu 02-Jan-20 21:34:28

Halls used to be cheap so people often had "fun" trashing them.
They are really expensive now.

Plus university now is like a professional workplace. Students are out to impress so they get the good work experience placements etc. If you imagine, doing what we did at uni "in out day" in your office or work break room: thats kind of the reaction you would get for behaving like that as a uni student: it would go down like a lead baloon and people would distance themselves from you.

There is no "mix" of swats and "piss heads" and everything in between: ALL the kids are swats, because at that price, they wouldnt go if they werent!

There is good and bad in that.

notanan2 Thu 02-Jan-20 21:39:12

Also some courses have a much higher proportion of not necesarily mature students, but not fresh from school.

When I was at uni you had a lot of kids there partially becausr they werent mature enough for the real world yet. Uni gave you some extra growing room. Things wouldnt "get serious" until 3rd year.

But its hit the ground running now. And the flip side of students being consumers, is unis covering themselves incase results arent achieved. So they are MUCH hotter on recording attendance and participation in online coursework, tutor groups and other non weighted course related activities.

SirChenjin Thu 02-Jan-20 21:56:00

Agree notanan Add in the number of foreign students who pay exorbitant sums of money and often don’t socialise with alcohol in the same way we did and who weren’t there in the 80s when I was at university and it becomes a very different environment.

notanan2 Thu 02-Jan-20 21:59:23

Overseas students have SUCH a short window to secure onward study or employment or else they cant stay, so they often treat their undergrad course as one long intervirvew. So that they get taken on as post grads or as research assistants. They are really under pressure to secure the next step straight away.

sodapop Thu 02-Jan-20 22:00:29

My granddaughter has struggled at Uni too. She is quite shy and not a drinker or party girl so has found it difficult.. The communal kitchen areas are left dirty which again she finds hard. Must be different where she is notanan

notanan2 Thu 02-Jan-20 22:02:53

Its not just overseas students who dont socialise with alcohol though. Lots of domestic teens don't drink.

My uni days revolved around drinking establishments. Even if you didn't drink much yoursrlves that was where people congregated. People who lived outside of halls went to halls parties to drink. Those big halls parties dont happen now

SirChenjin Thu 02-Jan-20 22:08:54

Yes that’s true - but with more foreign students and less drinking overall the landscape has changed. We used to spend far more time socialising in the Union drinking cheap cider, but the traditional students union with £1 pints of cider is long gone.

Elegran Thu 02-Jan-20 22:50:53

There are two sides to Uni life. One is the studies - and she did choose that course, so it must be something that drew her. Are her lectures and tutorials also boring? It doesn't bode well for her studies if finds that a drag too.

The other side is the social life, and that is whatever she makes of it. Every university has societies and clubs for any subject you can think of, most of them initiated and run by the students themselves.

If there isn't one for her interest, she could spend some of her free time seeking others who will join her, and starting one up - or even starting it up and then recruiting others to it. Just two people can be a pioneering focus for a group, gathering others like a snowball.

grannyactivist Thu 02-Jan-20 23:45:44

It’s less than eight years since my older son was at university (Maths) and he made lots of friends that he’s still in touch with. My younger son (Engineering) has also made close university friends, but they are fewer in number. Both had regular exams throughout each semester so they had to study very hard, but they found time to socialise away from the drinking culture that seems to exist in every university. Neither of them spent a lot of time on their phones (still don’t) and they both had very active interests that they pursued.

BradfordLass72 Fri 03-Jan-20 09:43:28

Here's a different take on university and young people.

My grand-daughter, over from the UK spent the evening with me.

She could have gone to university and was urged to by her Mum and step-Dad, both teachers, to do so but instead of getting on "that treadmill", chose to take a mundane job, save and travel to England.

There she did any job she could get beginning with clerk and being a barista at night. She moved on to Portugal and worked in a backpackers then to Spain.

In February, she goes back to the UK and on to Austria, working in a pop-up hostel where she'll also be able to ski.

Then to the Oktoberfest in Munich before returning to a job as a courier dispatcher in London.

Like many people (even educators) she doesn't agree with the goal-based, idea of going to university to prove her worth and earn more money.

Meeting and helping people, sharing their lifestyles and learning about other cultures gives her a rich education.

Later, if she really has to (because our hidebound money-orientated society put pressure on the young to get a "good" job) she may train for some sort of qualifications but right now she's having a ball, doing a health and wellness cultural course and absolutely loves every moment of her interesting life.

I know this wouldn't suit everyone but I think we put too much prerssure on our young people with the idea that university is the only way to go.