Will I Be Okay at College?

Since I got my A Level results and my college place secured, my mother has been more disparaging and critical of me than ever.  You’d think she’d be thrilled and really proud of my success.  But no.  Instead she’s telling me I won’t make friends or  manage to look after myself and will end up spending my time drinking alone.  I keep telling myself not to believe her and suspect she will miss not having me around to nag and bully.   


I feel lucky to have got into my first choice of university to do the subject I chose.   I was keen to get as far away from home as possible and I’m relieved I won’t be able to come back for a day trip.  It means I can start a new episode in my life where I don’t feel I am forever walking on eggshells. It’s something I’ve dreamed of and has made all my hard work worthwhile. 

I’m off soon but to be honest I do have concerns.   Money will be tight.  My mother has been blackmailing me that if I don’t do what I’m told, I can forget about any financial help coming from her.   I tell myself I have my grant and will try to get a part-time job.  

I'm also unsure how to deal with my mother while I am away.   I need to maintain some contact as I will be home during the holidays and want to avoid a endless criticism on how neglectful I was during term time.   Should I ring once a week, or once a month?  Also how should I react if she’s rude to me?  Should I try texting instead?   Or even invite her to come and see me, which, to be honest I would dread.

Although I have longed for my freedom for years and relish the chance to be responsible for myself and to hang out with new friends, I’d be grateful for any helpful hints.

Congratulations on doing so well and feeling positive about coping with your new life.  Here are a few suggestions. 

As your controlling mother has always bossed you around, it could  initially be difficult for you to make your own decisions.   You might unwittingly wonder what you mother wants you to do.  Push the thoughts away, be patient and perhaps talk things through with a new friend.   The more you make decisions the easier it will get.

It’s exciting to study a subject you choose, but if after a few weeks you realise that in fact you have signed up to something your mother pushed you into, you can of course switch courses.  Undergraduates make changes for a host of reasons.  Be prepared though for your mother’s criticism.  She sounds she could find fault  with anything.   

It’s good too that you want to stay in touch with her. You may even, to your surprise feel homesick and miss her a little, especially during your first few weeks away when everything is so new and different.   Keep yourself busy, join a few clubs and it shouldn’t last long.   Your mother is likely to miss you too, even if she doesn’t admit it.  This could make her even more difficult.  

We advise you to experiment with your phone calls.  Try taking the initiative and ring when it suits you so she doesn’t catch you off guard.  That way you can think about what to say in advance. Remember you don’t have to tell her everything you are doing. Instead try to confine yourself to neutral, unemotional subjects.  Don't talk for too long and if she is really unpleasant make excuses to end the call.

Do look on our website Coping page for some more practical help on this.