Taking a gap year for the sake of mental health Watch

loyinator
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I'm currently in my second year of college and starting to apply for architecture courses at uni. I'm really debating whether or not to defer my entry and take a gap year as I suffer from depression that has only been made worse by college and the stress of A levels. I know that taking a gap year could be the break from all this stress that I need but I'm worried I'll feel like I'm being left behind/missing out on what I could have experienced if I'd just gone ahead and went to uni straight away

has anyone else been in a similar situation? how did you deal with it? etc
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Milostar
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(Original post by loyinator)
I'm currently in my second year of college and starting to apply for architecture courses at uni. I'm really debating whether or not to defer my entry and take a gap year as I suffer from depression that has only been made worse by college and the stress of A levels. I know that taking a gap year could be the break from all this stress that I need but I'm worried I'll feel like I'm being left behind/missing out on what I could have experienced if I'd just gone ahead and went to uni straight away

has anyone else been in a similar situation? how did you deal with it? etc
Hi loyinator

I just noticed that your post didn't get any replies. Maybe there's no one on this forum who's been in a similar situation. I recommend you try posting your question in the mental health forum, where you'll find lots of friendly and knowledgeable people
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LukeM90
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could go one of two ways, 1 you could take a gap year and go to uni later, potentially missing out on the fun (AS SOON) or not being able to go with your friends, but tbh some would argue you shouldnt go to a uni just because your friends are going there anyway.

at any case even if you do take a year out you will still get the same fun uni experience you would of if you had of just gone now, there will just be different people and who knows you might like them better

in the end of the day if you really feel that all the stress and depression is bad enough now (as a result of the work) maybe a break is what you need, its not uncommon to feel stressed or depressed after being in education right up to this point, especially when the workload keeps growing.

Personally I would consider it, but only if the positives vastly outweighed the negatives, if I could cope and still get as good grades Id tough it out, if not I probably would take a year out.

on a more personal note, I actually did take a year out after finishing a HND, as I wasnt really ready to just go right into full education for another 3+ years, it had 2 outcomes for me, on the negative side I got to hear all my friends having a grand old time lol (though I still had a great time with friends who remained) that being said though 2 friends dropped out after so yeh lol

secondly and on a more positive note, I met my current long term girlfriend (been 2 and a half years now, and got a pretty good paying job for my level, which I have now been in just over a year (valuable experience) but most of all it has informed me that this kind of work isnt for me, which tbh is good because I could have done my degree then found this out after which would of been worse for me lol.

at any case, do whats right for you, if your passionate enough about your field/job prospects you will get there eventually, year out or not, just make sure if you do take a year out to take care of yourself, have some fun and relaxation but also do somthing productive, maybe get a job and earn some side funds for uni? I will say though if you are stressed/depressed dont go for a job you know will make you worse, try and find somthing you enjoy or find relaxing to an extent, who knows doing a job might even encourage you to go all out at uni with your studies after you return

but again dont take my advice as gospel, in the end of the day its ultimately up to you, make sure which path is the right one for you before you decide on anything,

and good luck!

hope any of this helps.
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BammyO
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Hey,

I was in the exact same position as you (it wasn't depression) but my illness was going on all through my A levels and I really struggled with whether or not I should take a gap year to sort it out, or just go straight to uni.

I had the same fears about missing out, as I didn't want to stay at home while all my friends went off to start the next big adventure in their lives. I also felt that if I stayed I was somehow a failure because I wasn't strong enough to make it to uni.

In the end I decided to go to uni, and I was actually having a really great time for the first few weeks, but eventually my illness caught up with me. I don't want to scare you or put you off going (as like I said, those first few weeks were probably the best of my life) but being ill, especially depression, is so much harder when you are at uni.

Most students who don't suffer from any disability or mental illness find their first year especially difficult. They feel homesick, out of their depth, and usually just overwhelmed by the whole experience. So you can imagine that being ill only heightens this. I found it difficult enough dealing with my illness at home with my family and friends around, so being at uni isolated from all of that made me feel so much worse. I really felt like I couldn't cope.

Eventually I decided (only a few weeks ago now) that I should interrupt my studies to focus on getting better and start again next September (I actually move back home tomorrow). In my opinion I would rather be a year behind in my life, but feel confident and secure in my health and myself. At the end of the day I realised I am going to be like this for the rest of my life, so instead of running away and never focusing on it, Im going to spend some quality time sorting it out so I can enjoy the rest of my life as normally as possible.

I also don't want to put you off going (I know that it probably sounds like I do, but i really don't!). Uni is really great. You probably think, like i did, that these new people you meet won't understand you, but they really do. If you just open up and be honest with them they can help you through your problems. I opened up early on to someone on my course, who then also opened up to me. We realised then that we could help each other out, and I can honestly say I wouldn't have gotten this far without their friendship and understanding.

At the end of the day, its completely your decision. You are the only person that knows how you feel, what you want, and if your strong enough to handle it. But also don't be afraid to make the wrong choice. If you go and realise it wasn't for you, you can interrupt (like i did) and have a space saved for you with almost no cost. And if you take a gap year and realise you should have gone, use that time to improve yourself with skills and volunteer work (anything that will look good on a CV), because it will help you in later life, and also in your mentality.

The good news is you've still got time to think about your options. Just make sure to do what you want to do, not what you think you should do or what others want you to do. This is your life! Your decision!

When you decide let us all know. And if you ever need to talk, just remember theres someone here that understands what your going through.
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It's****ingWOODY
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Just do whatever you feel is best for your health, best thing you can do.
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charlotte(:
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Not sure if you are still trying to decide but hopefully this might help a little

I had to take a gap year because I got a really severe case of glandular fever in August I had started Uni but after five weeks found I couldn't cope. It's now December and re applying hopefully but I would say personally taking a gap year has been great for me!

Firstly if you do apply a year after you will have your grades and will be getting unconditional offers rather than having the stress of results day etc

Secondly honestly there's no rush to apply!! As I learnt when I did a few weeks at Uni most people are in there 20s anyway more people take a gap year then you think.

Finally if you are suffering from depression like I was with glandular fever it will give your body a break, you can find some hobbies save up some money and take the pressure off for a year!

Of course there are the downsides your friends who have applied will be going to Uni and you may feel a bit lost at first without someone demanding deadlines (I know I did !) but as long as you throw yourself into something you enjoy/ go travelling and work it will be fine

Hope that helps !
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Logan836
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(Original post by loyinator)
I'm currently in my second year of college and starting to apply for architecture courses at uni. I'm really debating whether or not to defer my entry and take a gap year as I suffer from depression that has only been made worse by college and the stress of A levels. I know that taking a gap year could be the break from all this stress that I need but I'm worried I'll feel like I'm being left behind/missing out on what I could have experienced if I'd just gone ahead and went to uni straight away

has anyone else been in a similar situation? how did you deal with it? etc
Hey I suffer from anxiety and depression and I have just recently finished my GCSE’s and I’m unable to go to collage since of my anxiety and depression... and my mum is forcing me but I really want an happy year tbh since I could get in the right mind of state and not have to worry because all of the summer holidays I have been NEVOUS for what is to come for when I start/ get forced to go collage
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biofrance
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Hey, I was in a similar position.
I'd say if you're considering taking a gap year, DO IT! People don't regret taking gap years, but I know many people who do regret not having taken a gap year.

If you have struggled with your MH during your A-levels (so did I, big time), then it's not going to magically be fine when you go to uni. (Sorry if it sounds harsh - not intended.)
All you've got to make sure is that you get the right balance on your gap year. No need to have a jam-packed schedule with no time for rest - in fact, this will make your MH worse - but what you need to avoid is spending your days at home on the internet, mostly alone and stuck in your thoughts.

So my advice is: take a gap year, but plan things for your gap year and stick to them! (Part-time work, volunteering, even travel if you fancy it.)

However, I hope you know that if you deep down really want to go to uni this year, for all the right reasons (no external factors influencing it), then ok! You can still improve your MH while at uni by joining clubs, getting a good circle of friends, going to a counsellor - I think most unis have one you can go and see once a week? - but it won't be the easiest of rides because you'll have to juggle a lot of things.

Good luck!
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