DD in US at college, not having such a good time.

popi_gwSeptember 10, 2006

My daughter is doing a semester at college in the US. She has been there a few weeks now, and one of the main problems she is having is that her room mate is not very friendly.

She said that they just engage in small talk and she doesnt feel like this girl is very friendly.

Any suggestions on how my daughter can improve the situation, and feel more welcomed.


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She may NEVER be good friends with her roommate, tell her not to dwell on it, but to make friends OUTSIDE of her roommate. Her roommate can be just that A ROOMMATE. They only need to get along. I know IDEALLY they'll be BFFE (BEST FRIENDS FOREVER), but it doesn't always happen. Tell her to start joining different groups (I'm assuming the semester just started or started around the end of August as My DD's did), so the outside activities should start soon. She'll get new friends soon, and life will get better. BTDT, trust me, it will get better. She's suffering from homesickness too right now, so that's compounded.

Where is she going to school..do you feel comfortable mentioning it?


    Bookmark   September 11, 2006 at 8:13AM
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Vickey's absolutely right -- Some roommates want to be best friends, others don't. It's too bad your DD's roommate is one of the 'don't' type, but there's nothing your daughter can do to change her mind on it. So she'll need to move on.

Many colleges have international students' centers or organizations. This would be a great place for your DD to meet new people who are in a similar situation. And since they're from different countries all over the world, it's not like she'll be "staying home" culturally. Definitely something to look into anyway.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2006 at 1:43PM
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I have a heart for people who are far away from home, family, and friends. Your daughter's situation especially touches me as my own son told me two nights ago that he is not happy in his first semester at college away from home. All kinds of worries and concerns come to my mind. But he is only four hours away, not on the other side of the globe.

Popi, I imagine your daughter will soon enough find friends who more than make up for the roommate. It might be that her roommate is not unfriendly but simply shy. Shy people don't always know that others can't tell their relative silence is due to shyness instead of snobbery or unfriendliness.

Do you have cyberfriends in the USA through these forums? Perhaps someone you know lives near your daughter's school and could be her American family while she is here.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2006 at 5:09PM
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Just because two people are thrown together doesn't make them instant best friends. Both girls need to get out and about and find their own friends and fun.

Have her check out the various clubs and organizations on campus. Get involved with a service organization. Find a church. There usually is PLENTY to do on and off campus!

    Bookmark   September 11, 2006 at 6:38PM
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Many thanks for your comments.

My DD is making friends, there are 15 other international students in her college and she is friendly with all of them. There is one US boy who is helping these people out as the college concerned does not appear to offer much help, like checking up on them, taking them out on tours, even making sure they have sheets and blankets when they arrived. My DD had to find her way to the shops to buy sheets after flying for 27 hours from Aust. All good character building, but REALLY not much of a welcome.

I spoke to my daugher yesterday with skype, and she basiclly is beginning to think that the whole exercise is a waste of time, as she will have to add a year onto her course, here, when she gets back.

I guess, the fact that the roomie is unfriendly just makes it that bit more disappointing...gee, my DD is from the other side of the world, doesnt this make her interested !

I know I am just offloading, and yes I am concerned, cause she is so far away. But deep down I know she will surivive, and she will be a better person for getting out of her comfort zone. She does have events to look forward to, but I just think the colledge could be a bit more helpful.

She did go off to NY with other internationals on the w/e.

Thanks for letting me offload.

PS. so sorry about the 9/11 anniversary, even in my far away place, it had such a profound impact on us.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2006 at 6:43PM
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Things will get better. She is homesick right now. I bet she won't have to add a year onto her studying, this WILL count towards her degree (IF she planned it at all it will count!!) She's just depressed and looking at the negative right now. And YES it did suck about the sheets and blankets, that would have been nice to have someone have helped her with that I agree, and didn't even think of that...she may want to start something with the school for next semester to organize for future international students so they have basic needs when they get there!!!


    Bookmark   September 11, 2006 at 8:42PM
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Popi, you are so worried, I know. It's tough to be so far away from your daughter; you feel so helpless. The first year of college, especially in the dorms, is most often not easy even for the students whose homes are not so far from the school. But having an unfriendly roommate doesn't help, does it?! Could be that the roommate is having her own problems, maybe homesickness, wondering what she's doing there.

Dorms usually have a student designated as and RA (resident assistant or something) who sometimes can help with real problems.

Stay in close touch with your daughter. Remember that the dorm and roommate are just a small part of college. She can study elsewhere, doesn't need to study in the dorm. My son had a roommate who smoked in the room and viewed pornography, but he made it through the year somehow.

Best wishes,


    Bookmark   September 12, 2006 at 10:47AM
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On so many American shows the people always talk about their room mate at college with such joy, like it was a wonderful fulfilling relationship, I guess that is not always the case.

After today's email, I am now becoming more concerned. She seems really down, and not sleeping too well, which seems to compound the situation.

I have spouted words of wisdom, but I not sure it gets through. I have suggested she seek out the RA, the intern student advisor seems useless. Sometimes I feel like getting on the phone myself.

I have suggested the my DD ask the room mate out for a coffee somewhere, and try to get to know her, to replace her annoyance with the situation with some sort of positive emotion, like friendliness. We'll see what happens.

Unfortunately my DD has become focussed on her room situation, which could be clouding her thinking. She aslo has class issues, that she has to deal with. She enrolled in 4 classes, before she left, and when she arrived they said she wasnt enrolled and had to pick other classes. That is crap...as well.

Thanks for listening.

I am sure things will get better, maybe I need to hop on a plane and go there and sort it out ! (Not)


    Bookmark   September 12, 2006 at 6:34PM
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My college roommate and myself were not close. Not even remotely. She was almost two years younger than I was and had specifically requested a minority student for a roommate. Instead, she got me. We never did a single thing together, but it was okay. My friends were from other areas of college life, and I actually felt badly for those who were so close with their roommates as to risk being smothered. Sounds wierd now, but too many people I knew felt they had to be best friends with their roommate and resented it.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2006 at 2:06PM
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Just a follow-up to this...my DD is getting her own room, apparently the housing guy felt sorry for her and has given her the room of a German student who has gone home. So she is really pleased about that. I am sure there is an additional charge for this !


    Bookmark   September 22, 2006 at 3:31AM
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I would doubt there is an additional charge, she didn't ask for a different room, you said the housing guy felt sorry for her and the room was open...I'd argue it if you got an extra charge.

I'm sorry the roommate situation didn't work out! How else is school workign for her, is she making friends, and "learning" (I'm always afraid I'm wasting my money and my DD is slacking and not getting good grades...and if you knew my DD, you'd laugh, a "Bad" grade for her is a "C", she hates being average)


    Bookmark   September 22, 2006 at 8:37AM
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I was kinda miserable my first month at college. I didn't know anyone, I was lonely for my friends at home, but I stuck through it and it ended up being the best decision I ever made! It's always tough at first but in the end, she will be so happy she did it. I still live in the city I went to college in. She'll be okay. I had a few bad roommates over the years too, glad she's getting her own room!

    Bookmark   September 22, 2006 at 5:23PM
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Its interesting to hear about the cultural differences, the college life is different from University in Oz, according to my DD. She says it is like school, with the teachers asking why you missed class and giving little homework assignments instead of lengthy essays. In Australia, its more like a lecture, where the professor stands out the front, not really caring whether you are there or not. From day one you are working towards a degree in something, like teaching, doctor, engineer.

She has made friends but only with the 15 other international students. It would be good if she made some friends with the locals but they seem like people out of Beverly Hills 90210 and a bit intimidating ! But I guess she just feels a bit different.

She seems happy, so I am happy. Good on her for doing all this, I am sure its not easy.

Vicky...she does work hard, and wants high marks, so I know she will do so.

Thanks for your interest.


    Bookmark   September 22, 2006 at 7:23PM
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I think too it may be the school she chose. There are many different "cultures" too in the U.S. believe it or not. Out East (where she is located), poeple in general are (On average), very unsocial, giving the impression on uncaring. Down south, there is a thing called "southern hospitality", and it is because if you're in the south, you're family. Midwest (center of the U.S), there is a small amount of reserve, so it is a mixture. Out West...i.e. California, the people are more free spirited. Of course these are generalizations, but they do tend to hold true.

Small towns are more friendly than Big Cities no matter where you are. YET, really small towns are more reserved and don't always like to let outsiders in (and that I think may be true WHEREVER you are, not just the U.S.)

Our DD found that the small private college she first went to the amount of money you (meaning your parents had), seemed to make the choice of who your friends were...she HATED THAT, and but then she ended up with friends in her socio-economic class, now that's sad isn't it!!! (not that she was with people of her economic class, but that people can't see past "how much money Mommy and Daddy make".


    Bookmark   September 23, 2006 at 9:27AM
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HEEEYYYYYY! I am in the East!!! I just don't think we have time to talk here, we are far to busy moving. You know, to try to keep warm!

I went to school in NY. Our classes were similar to what you have in college. We have professors that lecture and don't care if you are there or not. AFter all it is your money you are wasting if you didn't show up!!

The first couple weeks of college are hard. You do feel alone because you don't know anyone. It is scary because you don't know how to get around. Things will change!! If your daughter is having trouble in a class tell her to ask a student if they would like to start a study group or work on things together. My closest friends in college were kids I met this way. First it was two of us and then more kids joined in. It made studying (which we had to do) a little more fun.

Also if she lives in a traditional style dorm tell her to keep her door open as much as she can. People who keep their doors closed are percieved as being jerks or stuck up (at least on the east coast they are percieved this way)
ya, I know, but that is how it is. People with open doors are perceived as being friendly and willing to talk and have fun.

As far as not getting along with her roommate..yeah that is how it always happens!!! I went through 2 room-mates from He!! before I decided on a whim to go in on a room with a friend of a friend that I didn't even know. After 2 months we were best friends and I was in her wedding after college ended. She now has her first child and I am an "auntie"

    Bookmark   September 28, 2006 at 5:22PM
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Good morning, I've been following the posts on this forum, I pray that things have improved for your daughter. I am an American parent from the north with 2 children in Miami attending University and I am so thankful that both my children get along great with their roomies. However, I found that in the states, Northerners are not as friendly as other people in other parts of the country. I am very friendly and find some extremely rude people here in Pennsylvania. I always raised my children to be kind and nice to everyone and its heartwrenching that you have to have such unnecessary worries on top of the letting go issues we parents face when our children leave for college. Just trust in your child to get out and make or find some good friends and it is a loss to her roommate cuz your daughter if anything like her mother is probably a very nice girl. My children's university is predominantly international and my children love experiencing the different cultures. Keep the faith and hang in there cuz this is all part of life and what doesn't kill our children only makes them stronger. Have a great day and give it more time, she'll be just fine.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2006 at 10:03AM
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I never really liked my original roomate either. Most of my friends were outside in other activities I had. Ditto about keeping your dorm door open. Yes, you may be charged extra for her having a private room. She should get involved in outside organizations, there are usually plent on college campuses esp. within individual departments.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2006 at 10:34AM
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How is your daughter doing now?

    Bookmark   December 4, 2006 at 8:26AM
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Hi Catlover

Thanks for asking...she is doing very well now.

She is focused on finishing the semester, which finishes on 19th Dec, I think. She has made a nice group of friends, although sadly the locals are not included in that group. I think it could possibly be that age group, maybe they just arn't too friendly with people from other countries. I could be completely wrong about that !

She is arriving home on 26th December, so will be having Christmas Day in a plane over the ocean.

Thanks for your enquiry, I appreciated it.


    Bookmark   December 4, 2006 at 6:27PM
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I am glad she is doing better. It is terrible that people have not been friendlier to her. I am so sorry to hear that. I can't imagine that happening at the college I went to--please don't take it to be representative of how things are everywhere in the US. Is she going back for the second semester? Regarding roommates, I too thought a roommate would be a "best friend" when I started college. I later found out that the best roommate is one who has the same feelings about the temperature of the room, time to go to bed and get up, windows open or closed, music loud or not, smoking or not, and things like that. Sometime the best way to ruin a friendship is to try to room together! Still, I wish that she were having a better experience overall. It also sounds like the college she is attending may not be like the one I attended. Everything there was lecture and the exams were all essay -- more like what she is used to. Anyway, I am glad that things are better in general for her.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2006 at 9:37PM
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No, she is only there for the one semester. The new university year, in Oz, starts at the end of February, so she will be starting a new year here.

I think you are right about room mates. It takes a special sort of relationship, to get on well as roomies. Although its rather curious to me, as the room mate situation doesn't seem to happen here, the students have separtate rooms, or they do at my DD uni.

She will be a better student next year, when she welcomes international students to her campus, I am sure she will be more mindful of what it's like to be so far from home.

In fact I live near a university, and I think maybe I could open my home up to some home sick student. Just a hot home cooked meal, movie on TV, and a comfy bed, might just cheer someone up...now what's the phone number...

Thanks again for your interest.


    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 1:29AM
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Just thought I would let you know that DD has arrived home safely.

College life worked out fine, in the end, she made some lovely friends, all from overseas, and they went for a few trips around the US, together and had a ball.

Now onto the next thing...

    Bookmark   December 26, 2006 at 1:15AM
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Popi, I'm so glad that it turned out well in the end. I believe that no experience as big as that is ever completely positive. There are just going to be some rough edges. And sometimes those are the parts that leave the most lasting impressions and cause the greatest growth.

For now, thank goodness she is home safe. (Give her a great big hug!) And thank goodness she has a Mama as loving as you are.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2006 at 11:29PM
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I'm glad she's home safely, and what an experience (I'm sure you'll hear positive now, before it was the "I need my Mommy..or Mum!"). Is she ready for more schooling?


    Bookmark   December 28, 2006 at 1:27AM
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I'm glad she's home safely, and what an experience (I'm sure you'll hear positive now, before it was the "I need my Mommy..or Mum!"). Is she ready for more schooling?


    Bookmark   December 28, 2006 at 1:28AM
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Thanks Vickey and Linda.

Yes, she has one more year of Uni here, she wants to go to Europe, now, to catch up with the people she met !

She is madley trying to find a job, now. What a good girl she is !


    Bookmark   December 28, 2006 at 1:50AM
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