When someone in your family, or a friend, decides to study you can experience a whole range of emotions – pride, excitement, happiness … together with concerns about ‘will they cope?’, ‘can they afford it?’ ‘will they stick it out?’ ‘will they get a job at the end?’ ‘why are they starting uni at their age?’. These kinds of reactions are normal, especially when this is a first-time uni experience - it’s new to everyone. It’s a whole new world and you might feel a bit helpless or left out at times, simply because this is an ‘unknown’.
Most students who are first in their families to attend uni are pretty determined individuals. However there are times when the routine can come ‘unstuck’ and that’s when they really appreciate the support from family and friends. There are plenty of ways you can support – it could be in practical ways, like cooking a meal, doing extra chores around the house, giving them space and quiet, minding children, doing the taxi-run … generally just helping out with those things that HAVE to be done. Or it could be encouraging them to keep going, or even just ‘being there’ to listen.
Let’s look at some of the things that students and family members in our study said. Some of these snippets might give you insight into how you can help.
Interested to know how you might support the learner in your family? Take our short quiz here