The Student Room Group

Dad things - what (not?) to do when dropping my young adult at Uni?

Two years ago I started taking my eldest to Uni Open Days, we went to quite a few before she settled on the Unis and Subjects that worked for her.

Apparently, as a dad, I did nearly all the annoying things that dads do at Open Days (apparently there are lists)

Now it is time to take her to her chosen Uni for the first time and help her settle in. I am aware there are probably things that annoying dads do here as well . . . be good to get a heads up to try and avoid some of them

FWIW I have already:

Packed some tools and lubricants to fix the things in the student accomm that need fixing.

Booked a cottage nearby for a few days before drop off day, so we can explore the area and get a sense of the place. (But I will be working remotely during the day)

Called relatives in the local area to let them know what is happening when, in case we need their help with some issue we cant help with by phone

Shown granny how to video call whenever she wants
I doubt you'll be doing this but I see a lot of angry dads getting very angry about parking
Reply 2
Don't stay too long when you drop her off. The most important thing about the day is for her to break the ice with her flatmates and that is much easier to do without parents hovering about. Your job is to help carry things in then let her get on with things. Having done this more than once, I found it helpful to make up the bed while my husband and child emptied the car - one less thing for them to do and it makes the room look more homely (perhaps more important to the parents than the student!)

If possible, drop in a local supermarket before you arrive to pick up a few basics (if in self catered) to keep her going. The flat might go as a group to discover local shops, but food already in the fridge is rarely a bad thing.

With phone calls, every new undergrad is different, but it can be easier to let them phone you/grandma at their convenience during the early days as they have a lot going on with freshers, course admin, getting to know new people and their new environment. Things settle down once they into a routine
Reply 3
Be as quiet, pleasant and insignificant as possible. Ask her to tell you if/when she is embarrassed and adjust behaviour immediately.

Ask when she wants you to contact and in what way.

Say she can call any time.
(edited 8 months ago)
Don’t:

Walk around and introduce yourself in a threatening way to any men in the area explaining that you’re so and sos dad and will hurt anyone who treats her badly
Reply 5
Original post by marple
Don't stay too long when you drop her off. The most important thing about the day is for her to break the ice with her flatmates and that is much easier to do without parents hovering about. Your job is to help carry things in then let her get on with things. Having done this more than once, I found it helpful to make up the bed while my husband and child emptied the car - one less thing for them to do and it makes the room look more homely (perhaps more important to the parents than the student!)

If possible, drop in a local supermarket before you arrive to pick up a few basics (if in self catered) to keep her going. The flat might go as a group to discover local shops, but food already in the fridge is rarely a bad thing.

With phone calls, every new undergrad is different, but it can be easier to let them phone you/grandma at their convenience during the early days as they have a lot going on with freshers, course admin, getting to know new people and their new environment. Things settle down once they into a routine


I have to disagree on the first part, my dad and sisters dropped me off on my first day of uni. We threw my stuff in the flat and went out an had an last nice proper day together, went to beach, ate food etc It was lovely. There is loads of time to socialise with ur new flatmates after, you’re going to be living with them for the next year! (Ps i get every family is diff and she might not want to do this but it’s not so cut and dry)
Reply 6
Original post by ChiefBrody
Two years ago I started taking my eldest to Uni Open Days, we went to quite a few before she settled on the Unis and Subjects that worked for her.

Apparently, as a dad, I did nearly all the annoying things that dads do at Open Days (apparently there are lists)

Now it is time to take her to her chosen Uni for the first time and help her settle in. I am aware there are probably things that annoying dads do here as well . . . be good to get a heads up to try and avoid some of them

FWIW I have already:

Packed some tools and lubricants to fix the things in the student accomm that need fixing.

Booked a cottage nearby for a few days before drop off day, so we can explore the area and get a sense of the place. (But I will be working remotely during the day)

Called relatives in the local area to let them know what is happening when, in case we need their help with some issue we cant help with by phone

Shown granny how to video call whenever she wants


DO NOT take tools - any issues are not your responsibility and will cause issues. Take photos of the room and its condition if there are problems then let her report them.

Help unpack then go and do not go back whilst you are staying there.

If she needs help let her deal with it and get the help from the uni - it is not helpful to run in and take over.

Granny should not be video calling unless the time is pre-arranged ...
Reply 7
Some good thoughts, thanks for sharing folks :smile:

Should have been more obviously ironic in my starting post . . .

Have packed some GT85 for squeaky hinges (top tip on taking pics of any accomm issues, thank you) and we are booked to spend a few days together as a family before freshers drop off on Saturday morning - and then we will just get out of the way. Got 2 boxes of tissues in the car for the wife (and me)
Reply 8
Original post by ChiefBrody
Some good thoughts, thanks for sharing folks :smile:

Should have been more obviously ironic in my starting post . . .

Have packed some GT85 for squeaky hinges (top tip on taking pics of any accomm issues, thank you) and we are booked to spend a few days together as a family before freshers drop off on Saturday morning - and then we will just get out of the way. Got 2 boxes of tissues in the car for the wife (and me)

Don't even use GT85 - report issues to accommodation.

By all means help her unpack but then go.
Reply 9
Don't: headbutt your new student offspring before leaving them (yes, it has been done and no-one will ever ever forgive you for it and it will be mentioned in your memorial service).

Do:

Ask the new student what they would like to happen

Find out what other people did and whether they feel it was the right thing (ie what you are doing)

Remember that apart from the new student themselves, you know them best and you are the most likely to be dealing with any of the mercifully rate serious adverse consequences, and you know more of the particular situation eg how they react to situations, how far away they will be, whether this is a course, a university, accommodation type that has been much considered/visited or whether it's been a last minute swerve. University insiders can be just as burdened with their personal self-interest or baggage as well as having useful knowledge. (Much like health professionals giving 'advice' about babies and young children) Oh and remember it might be them choosing your nursing home...

What I found useful/would have been useful:
Making the bed, getting things in the freezer/fridge, getting laptop/WiFi set up (perhaps not by you but whilst you are there) and just enough unpacking for it to be obvious if anything is missing that it would be appropriate to pop out and buy right now (eg chargers, milk if they use it). Not setting the whole room up or there will be no 'busywork' for them to do if there is no-one else around in the accommodation or they want to retreat for a bit.

Being in mobile reception/contactable through the following admin laden days whilst leaving it to them to make contact (there can be odd details they need to ask) I found WhatsApp really useful personally (esp if they don't have a notification sound on messages so won't be disturbed) inc 'last seen'

Parking, whatever, I'd endorse the importance of, on this day, not indulging yourself with anger about anything. Whilst this is a rite of passage and to be honoured, it is not obligatory to cry so don't feel bad if you don't.

Enjoy!
Reply 10
Original post by ChiefBrody
Some good thoughts, thanks for sharing folks :smile:

Should have been more obviously ironic in my starting post . . .

Have packed some GT85 for squeaky hinges (top tip on taking pics of any accomm issues, thank you) and we are booked to spend a few days together as a family before freshers drop off on Saturday morning - and then we will just get out of the way. Got 2 boxes of tissues in the car for the wife (and me)

If you are being ironic, you have to be more obvious or we won't necessarily get this. This level of subtlety just won't do. 😁

Even if we sense irony, we might respond to it a little, as above, but we still can't help offering non-ironic advice.
(edited 8 months ago)
Reply 11
I can't so much remember tips from dropping off, but when I picked up at the end of first year I do remember rootling in the halls' skip for a large water bottle to make a cloche for my allotment...
Original post by ChiefBrody
Some good thoughts, thanks for sharing folks :smile:

Should have been more obviously ironic in my starting post . . .

Have packed some GT85 for squeaky hinges (top tip on taking pics of any accomm issues, thank you) and we are booked to spend a few days together as a family before freshers drop off on Saturday morning - and then we will just get out of the way. Got 2 boxes of tissues in the car for the wife (and me)

Hold those tears until you're back in the car and away from other students still unloading (one of them is bound to be a flatmate). We're taking my youngest tomorrow so it's the empty nest for us :cry2:
Reply 13
When our daughter started at Uni, we moved her gear in, helped her unpack some stuff and make her bed.
We the went and got a sandwich/coffee lunch and went to the supermarket and did some very basic shopping.

We took her back to campus and one of her lovely new flatmates helped her put her food away in the kitchen and then, we said goodbye. She got a bit tearful but her new flatmate took our daughter's hand and said 'Tea?' and led her back int the kitchen while we just left.

Please, ask you own children to be that flatmate.
Reply 14
Original post by McGinger
. . . . She got a bit tearful but her new flatmate took our daughter's hand and said 'Tea?' and led her back int the kitchen while we just left.

Please, ask you own children to be that flatmate. . . .

gee thanks McGinger ! Making me tearful just thinking about that
Original post by ChiefBrody
X

I don't have any advice to give on this end, but I've come across a few of your posts and I wanted to express my admiration for your dedication in your children's education and personal development. You're setting a wonderful example for parenting. :smile:

Wishing her all the best at university.
Reply 16
Original post by ChiefBrody


Apparently, as a dad, I did nearly all the annoying things that dads do at Open Days (apparently there are lists)


Did you find a conker tree and fill your pockets and then take your coat off in a Physics taster lecture and have some of the conkers roll under the seats?

Beat ya.

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