A Mother’s Take; What Happens When Your Eldest Goes to University?

Jack has been gone 4 ½ weeks, he has chosen to go to Coventry Uni. Since the day I dropped

Sharon Doyle

Jack has been gone 4 ½ weeks, he has chosen to go to Coventry Uni. Since the day I dropped him off, I have messaged each day, video called him approx. 3 times a week and been down to see him for the day. Am I missing him? What do you think? But I do think I am disguising it very well.


So, the back story goes, I have brought my two sons up on my own for 11 years. It has been me, Jack, Matthew, and Angel (our rescue dog).

There is something about living in our current times that brings an expectation for young people to go to Uni, whereas in my day as long as one sibling went (the clever one), the pressure was off the rest of us. We could focus on earning money and enjoying ourselves and we didn’t get our photo on the wall of fame at home. You don’t know what the wall of fame is? It’s the wall that has everyone who has graduated from uni on it. They are sat their holding their scroll, with the cap and gown on, smiling like their life depended on it and they made it to the wall (pretending not to have the hangover from hell). As you may have guessed, I didn’t make it to the wall, but it never bothered me.


Back to Jack…. he has always wanted to go to Uni and as a mum I couldn’t say don’t go, stay with your mum forever! I have always wanted him to spread his wings and gain experiences he wouldn’t get here with his mum over his shoulder.


However, I did recognise there are standards to uphold! He left with two lots of new bedding, two new bath sheets and mats all washed and dried, so they smelt like home. He had new cutlery and enough toiletries to last him the 5 years at uni. In his mind he has left home, in my mind he has gone ‘till Christmas.


He is having a whale of a time; he has drank each day! He’s made new friends, got himself a part-time job and is studying virtually because we are in a pandemic. So, in a nutshell he has paid £1,700 rent for the first full term (I insisted he got his own bathroom!), for him not to go into uni and to learn online! He has no plans to return home and has tried every kind of noodle on the affordable market. He is apparently sticking to his budget, not sure how this is happening with drinking each night, but he and his friends have found a Quid’s In bar!


On the other side, I have brought my two boys up close. In hindsight I would have focused on them having different hobbies to make this move better for his younger brother Matthew. There is 19 months between them, they were always on the same football/rugby team, same friends etc…. and this has affected him more than me. However, he has used his brother going to his advantage and he taken over his brothers’ bedroom, made it a study room and is planning on how to decorate it!


So how does it feel to have a son building his future and studying Ethical Hacking and Cyber Security? Honestly, it is the scariest feeling in the world, everything that could happen has gone through my mind. If I don’t hear from him, I give it half an hour before I go into a complete panic. However, the message of, ‘if I don’t hear from you in 20 mins, I will ring the police’ normally works. It is quiet at home without him and the arguments are less. I spend less money on food but counter act this in petrol going to see him and sending him food and money.


But I would be selfish to tell him how I feel, he is living his best life. I am hoping he has the skills and confidence to know right from wrong and that he is spreading his wings and gaining an independence he wouldn’t get safe at home with his mum!


So, to summarise – do I miss Jack? He has been gone 32 days, I dropped him off and made sure his bed was made and his bathroom looked nice. I have been down to see him since, I message every day and video call him 3 times a week. His dad and brother are going to see him this coming Sunday and taking his birthday presents down. But he isn’t allowed to open mine until we video call on his birthday… do you think I miss him?


Maybe I will just get used to this feeling when I have to do it all again next year with Matthew, at last the wall of fame will look good!