University: the Mother of all Challenges?


Relationships with mothers are very difficult things to analyse. When asked to write this article I thought to myself:  ‘Great, a chance to talk about how everyone loves their mothers and how hard it must have been for people to leave them when studying at University’.

But then, surely this can’t be right? I know a fair amount of people and not once have I heard anything about their mums. Granted, I doubt this is because they don’t love them, but perhaps more because it’s not exactly an exciting topic of conversation.

However, have relationships changed in recent times? And does university affect this? With Mother’s Day having just been and gone, these questions seemed all the more significant.

Personally, I have always had a great relationship with my mother. I don’t remember having ever argued with her and we’ve always been really close, so when it came to the day of judgement – i.e. moving-in day – I knew there were going to be tears. And of course, there were a lot. It didn’t help that I was the youngest child, so effectively it was like the last bird flying the nest.

However, since that day, we have both coped a lot better than we thought we would. Granted, the first couple of weeks were hard and I have my odd moments where I get all emotional, but doesn’t everyone? I think university has definitely changed our relationship, but not in a bad way. I feel I can cope quite well on my own now that I have experienced university life.

I also asked one of my flat mates whether her relationship with her mum had changed because of uni and I was pleased to hear that it had, and for the better. She told me how she didn’t get along that well before university, and that she was quite looking forward to gaining some independence. But now she says,

‘I look forward to the time I spend with her and appreciate it more.’

Interestingly, one of my male friends who is at university also said a similar thing,

‘There’s no longer that sense she is running around after me anymore…it feels like when I see my mum we have more fun together.’

So it seems that university, or gaining some sort of individuality, might actually be what every mother-child relationship needs. The sense of independence and freedom gives us a chance to experience a relationship without having to worry about closing the door quietly at 3 in the morning and staying upright whilst going up the stairs (something, incidentally, that I failed at once, whilst my mum and brother stood laughing at me). University students may not talk about their mothers much, but when they do it is usually with love and affection.

Although there will always be a special connection between my mum and I, we’ve both discovered that university isn’t the be all and end all of our relationship and that, in fact, it has made us stronger.


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