Friday, 12 December 2014


I'd like to talk some more about my daughter's pre Uni experience before moving on to the dreaded subject of Freshers week (she's in her 3rd year now, so we've had the 'fun' of Freshers 3 times now).

We visited 3 Universities - Chester, Preston and Sheffield. As well as clocking up the miles, I'd like to share my experiences as dear old reliable Dad and offer some advice to other Dads or even Mums when undergoing the tortuous journeys to the interviews. My experience was that my daughter's nerves were shredded before we even left, especially the Sheffield trip, given that was her favoured destination.

My first piece of advice is; on the way, do not discuss the upcoming interview or try and role play any questions or scenarios you think may come up - you will be wasting your time...and you've absolutely no idea what outcome can result from the truly explosive combination the arrogance of youth and extreme nerves.

Secondly, do not, under any circumstances dare suggest that everything will be OK, it will NOT. Not until your child has enjoyed their first illicit drop of hooch at their very own Freshers week.

Thirdly and probably most importantly, do not treat moments of silence (up to 20 minutes) as opportunities to 'shoot the breeze' or play I-spy, they are all grown up now and you forget just how important and life-changing the process is. It's only reflecting now just how daunting the whole process actually was for my daughter and it's a real honour that she chose me to attend with her.

I think that's the key actually, just be happy that you are looked on for quiet support and remember just how important it was to you and how life-changing it will be for them.

We got through it and you will too.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Hello again...

I said that I'd start our (my daughter and I) story be highlighting her pre-Uni experiences first so here goes. I'd like to title this 'tantrums and tiaras' but there were no tiaras...

She had two bites at the Uni application cherry, the first was immediately following College. She applied to three Universities with a preference for Sheffield. Unfortunately, we had to walk the tightrope of Clearing the first time given that she'd missed a couple of the grades - narrowly I add, just in case she reads this...

Interestingly, her experiences at College very nearly put her off pursuing her chosen career and would have if it hadn't been for one inspirational tutor that she had.

Our experience of clearing - I say our, I include my daughter, myself and my landline - was hugely frustrating. Essentially, you have a day to be ignored time after time after time - I hope if any of you have to go through it, you have a better experience than we did, I'm not entirely sure my landline has ever been the same since.

The upshot was that she had to wait for a year and re-apply, in hindsight this has served her very well for 3 reasons:

  1. She matured more than I would have believed possible in that year and I think she has flourished in situations at Uni that she would have shrunk away from and
  2. Her work ethic multiplied. She took on 2 jobs, 1 of which was caring which we both feel stood her in massive stead for her chosen career of nursing - the genuine caring element along with medicine management has been incredibly useful
  3. Thirdly, she realised that 'real world' working, especially carer's wages made life quite difficult which served to be a real motivating factor during Uni life
All in all, I think we would both agree that her year out has been a huge help.

So, the following year came around and following some additional study, she reapplied for Children's Nursing - a really difficult course to get onto with limited spaces at all of her favoured Universities. 

I'll cover our experiences - her as the nervous applicant and me, as the 'willing' taxi driver and agony uncle in my next blog as I'm sure I must have bored you enough now...

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Hello everyone...

I'm Martin.

I've been asked to introduce myself to you all via my first blog. I guess like many of us, I'm not too keen on talking about 'me' however I'll do this as I really feel that being invited to blog on the topic of my parental experiences of having a daughter at Uni is worth sharing...

Let's do the boring stuff last. I'm a father of three, two 'grown up' daughters and a little boy who feels it's his responsibility to either get me and keep me fit or kill me prematurely, one or the other. I have a beautiful wife who is half Iranian, quarter Irish and English therefore we don't ever, ever row. I have  a one and a bit year old granddaughter who is just reaching that really sweet age. I'm the Chairman of my little boy's football club which is a fantastic honour - oh, and by the way, I work as a management consultant.

As I mentioned, my motivation for writing these posts is to share some of my experiences while my younger daughter has made the transition from 'pain in the backside' teen to rounded, responsible, fully paid up member of the human race via - what I feel is the fabulous vehicle of University.

Over the coming posts, I'd like to share experiences of the pre-Uni preparation, the few 'days of doubt' before she embarked on her University career, her first Freshers (probably quite a short post given my lack of information about it), her first experiences of living independently, her first year, second year and some of her final year.

I hope I can bring to life, some of the highs, lows, frustrations and rewards that she has shared with me and how her experiences have affected me and her family.

That's it for my intro, I hope your intrigued enough to welcome my next post and feel free to comment.