The most common questions students asked were "which light bulb do I need" and "how do I use the washing machine?" The research shows that a massive 93% of students are not prepared for the challenges that lie ahead when they go to university and live alone for the first time. Also, 15% of students call home once a day or more with questions during their first term.
The nation's undergrads are feeling overwhelmed when it comes to honing those life skills essential for living on their own for the first time. The research revealed that some new students have impressive gaps in their knowledge and some of them even asked questions such as "how do you run the bath?" "What is a plug?" One student even asked her parents what her maiden name was. It's a daunting prospect for students living in university halls because they have always had their parents there to help them with these basic tasks.
The results show that 18% of students asked how to turn the central heating on, 23% asked how to use the washing machine, 10% didn't know how to iron a shirt and worryingly, 5% even asked how to empty the bin. Some of these questions may seem absurd, yet some parents seem all too ready to be on hand for their offspring as B&Q's research shows how far (literally!) parents go to prepare their children for life on their own.
Parents travel an average of 138 miles, spend over £600, and take nine days to set up student digs. Yet the scatty student stereotype may still be all too true as, in spite of this preparation, 93% of students say they were unprepared for living on their own at university.
A sheepish 9% even admitted to forgetting to take a knife and fork, while the bath mat proved to be the item most likely to be forgotten (19%).
Doing the washing on visits was a standard task for half of parents (53%) while 7% are so reluctant to untie the apron strings that they travel to their child's university to make their bed. A pandering 5% also admitted to visiting university residences to change the lightbulbs! 17% order their offspring's food shop for them, but one parent physically goes the extra mile by preparing and delivering home cooked meals. Apparently value baked beans on toast no longer cut the mustard.
With parents so willing to help their children tackle the tasks that come with living on your own, it's no wonder that students are so reliant on them. 15% of students admitted to calling home with questions related to living on their own once a day or more in the first term, with girls twice as likely as boys to call home every day (15% vs 7%). However, while students may see their mums and dads as founts of knowledge, 13% of parents admitted to secretly Googling the answers to their children's questions. 3% even seek advice from an expert such as a plumber, electrician or bank.
And finally, it seems mums were still the main point of call for questions, with 69% of mums revealing they were asked more questions than dads. To give parents a break from these, quite frankly, inane questions, B&Q has set up a Twitter helpline for students who are struggling on their own. Using the hashtag #BandQunihelp, students can tweet B&Q rather than constantly calling their parents.
William Ostrom from B&Q commented "It's become a funny stereotype that students are useless when they first go to university but our research shows that the old jokes might be true! For most students, starting university is the first time they live on their own without mum and dad, taking charge of all the responsibilities that come with it and the research shows how hard it is for parents to let their children stand on their own two feet. That's why we wanted to help by using our expertise to step in and provide the answers where students would normally turn to their parents. As they settle into life without mum and dad, we will be on hand to help students, from choosing the right light bulb to figuring out the fuse box. We draw the line at preparing and delivering meals, though."