Deferring university due to depression?

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    • Thread Starter
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    As the title suggests I am really considering deferring at university due to my depression and other health issues.

    I've suffered with depression since I was about 14 ( I'm 18 now) and have been on medication for the past 2 years. I started on 10mg of citalopram and moved up to 20mg after about 2 months. About a month before starting uni it's increased to 30mg which it is as of now. I've had therapy in the past which i didn't find to be that useful.

    My depression has been pretty severe for at least the past 2 years, i've struggled with all your typical depressiom symptoms.

    I've had other health issues as well which i don't want to go to in depth about as theyre not the main problem here however due to these i am left feeling constantly sick and tired, requiring a lot of medication, joint pain and monthly blood tests. This also has a strong impact on my depression.

    Due to these health problems (mental and physical) I wasn't expected to do great at school, however I pushed through it and (whilst making myself worse) managed to secure a unconditional offer for uni. I really didn't want to turn this down after all my hard work and so accepted this whilst still having doubts about university in itself, however the course was something i thought id really enjoy so i decided to go for it.

    A month or so i was supposed to go to uni I had a big health setback and major problems with my friends which again, impacted on my mental health and left me spending most of my time in bed and pretty much just not moving as I didn't see the point. I decided i was still gonna go to uni so i went to the doctors and upped my meds thinking that would help and just pushed my depression out of my mind as much as possible and kept busy sorting uni things but now im here i can't just ignore it. For some reason i thought it would go away but it really hasn't.

    Its only been a week or so since i moved but im not enjoying lectures or anything. I made some (what i thought were) good friends, but turns out they were talking about me behind my back, and mocking my depression which again made me feel awful so I only have people who i kinda know from courses but im struggling so much to make friends with them now for fear im too negative like my other "friends" thought. The university knows and i have the disabled students allowance which grants me some help and support but honestly its really not helping and im just feeling so over my head.



    TL;DR My depression is very bad to the point where i am crying every night wishing to just be back home and really thinking I've made the wrong decision as I don't think im ready for uni. I'm planning on trying to stick it out till Christmas incase "things get better" and so my parents can see I've really given it a chance but after then I really want to defer for a year so i will have finished a semester and have about 60 credits worth of modules under my belt. People who i've spoken to have told me not to drop out so i was gonna defer instead.

    I'm really looking for some guidance or advice from anyone else who's gone through a similar thing or if anyone knows what will happen with student finance? they're paying for my tuition and i have a maintenance loan from them but i'm not entirely sure what happens with that? I read somewhere that if you've been at uni for 3 months before dropping out/deferring SFE will pay your tuition and you pay it back following the normal £21,000 threshold. Does anyone know what happens with accommodation? I'm with a university associates hall and I'm assuming that means I have to pay for the full year as i've signed a lease, however if someone else takes over my room i'm only liable to pay until they move in? I've looked through the tenancy agreement and can't see anything about leaving early. Is it even possible to defer part way through a year? if i finish my semester i'm hoping i can defer before the start of the next one ( i know this will count as a full year in student finance terms) Will I have to start over again if I come back or can i just start from semester 2? If I decide i don't want to come back is that ok or by deferring are you agreeing to come back in a year? With my DSA do i have to return the equipment? Most of what i have is computer software although I receive mentoring and I have a microphone and headset for recording lectures.

    I'm planning on spending my year sorting my health out and maybe doing some weekend courses so I do have plans and I already think I'd be much happier back at home, not being under this stress or in this environment as i'm constantly feeling on edge and alone.
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    I'm not sure about 'deferring' exactly but I know it is possible to take a leave of absence from university. I nearly did this one year due to an eating disorder but powered through in the end. Do you have a welfare officer you can speak to? This might be worth looking up. They should be able to advise you on a lot of your questions such as what happens regarding accommodation. They won't tell you the best thing to do, they'll just give you the options.

    The best thing to do is contact the welfare officer and/or your personal tutor and find out about the practicalities. In the meantime your university should have counselling services although I know you said you don't find therapy useful but just putting that out there in case you didn't know it existed and you want to try it.

    Good luck and don't worry you will sort something out which works for you
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    If you tell me the name of the uni then I cna give you a better answer.

    1. Should you leave? Imo yes becayse you sound as though you arent in a good place and it could get worse, thereby throwing your ability to study into complete chaos.
    2. If it were me then I would no have started till I was in a good mental place, so I would go away and get myself sorted out. That menat any return would mean I could study properly, but also enjoy the uni experience ratehr thna being depressed.
    3. What to do- Talk to your tutor and make him aware of your situation including the fact you have a pre-existing depression (department) , the metal health/ disbailities team at the uni, an advisor in the SU.
    How to leave.
    4. Notify department- Yes they will have a procedure on the website explaining how to defer your studies. It happens a lot so dont worry, the fact they have a procedure show you its common. It will involve notifying your department- thats what the talk with the titor is for and filling out a form. That suspends your studies.
    5. Notify admissions- who will make a record you have withdrawn or suspended your studies, so you dont get charged or flagged for non attendance.
    6. Notify Uni Fees- if its early enogh yo may avoid having to pay fees othwerwise they normally charge 25% in the first term and it uses your gift year in terms of student finance.
    7. Notify accommodation.- This depends on your agreement and whether Uni owned or private. they may require you to find a replacement or they will charge you until you find one or they may just charge you a months rent. plus admin fee. You have only just started? A week? If its uni owned and due to the reason then they might let you off with an admin fee or you will find it easier to get someone as they will still ahve people looking.
    8. Notify SFE- They will cancel any more loan plus they will ask for any overpayment back. You cna agree a schedule for this. Because of the circumstances you cna make a compelling persona reasins claim to ask them to disregard any monies paid and wipe the slate clean. This is a specific procedure done in conjunction with your uni.
    9. Do all of the above and that more or less gets you out.
    10. Depending what was agreed the deferrment/ suspension mayb be subject to review i.e its not just a year but you contact them when you are better. It just keeps the door open. You may decide you wnat to go elsewhere. At what stage you go back depends on what you agree with the department. Od think it would be better to start again as you then make new friends as by the 2nd term many will have bonded.
    11. Its imperaive you tackle your mental helath issues. Maybe the answer isnt more anti depressants or at least try different types as what works for one doesnt for others. Some therapy plus do exercise should help as will tackling the unerlying courses. people do get beter.
    12. When you get better and have space to think its optional whether you return or go elsewhere. Whatever you decide then you will need to speak to the right people again to let them know. Take your time and get well.

    Think that answers all your questions?
    • Thread Starter
    #1

    Thanks guys, I've just been to talk to my unis advice service and we agreed that's probably the best thing for me right now. If I decide i want to leave on friday then i wont have to pay any tuition fees are you are given a two week "trial" period and it'll just be my accommodation to sort out. However, if i defer for a year or two, ill only have to pay 25% of the tuition fees (£2250) and pay the rest when/if i decide to come back. I don't have to pay the tuition fees right away, i'd still pay it like normal student debt (ie once youre over £21,000) and its up to me if i choose to come back or not. The real question now is do i defer or withdraw? Withdrawing personally seems like the better option to me, mainly due to the fact I don't have to pay anything and if i do decide i want to come back to uni I still have another 3 years funding. However, deferring would probably keep my parents happier and I'd feel like less of a failure, but in all honesty i'm not sure i want to study at uni even when/if i am better.
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    (Original post by Anonymous)
    Thanks guys, I've just been to talk to my unis advice service and we agreed that's probably the best thing for me right now. If I decide i want to leave on friday then i wont have to pay any tuition fees are you are given a two week "trial" period and it'll just be my accommodation to sort out. However, if i defer for a year or two, ill only have to pay 25% of the tuition fees (£2250) and pay the rest when/if i decide to come back. I don't have to pay the tuition fees right away, i'd still pay it like normal student debt (ie once youre over £21,000) and its up to me if i choose to come back or not. The real question now is do i defer or withdraw? Withdrawing personally seems like the better option to me, mainly due to the fact I don't have to pay anything and if i do decide i want to come back to uni I still have another 3 years funding. However, deferring would probably keep my parents happier and I'd feel like less of a failure, but in all honesty i'm not sure i want to study at uni even when/if i am better.
    Really the big question you need to ask here is if you wish to go through the whole UCAS application process again bearing mind it starts now? If the answer to this is yes then you may wish to ask your uni admissions tutor if they would consider a reapplication from you in case you end up wishing to return to the same uni. Then at least the choice will be a fully informed one. Secondly (whilst a complete money sucker) if you did decide to defer rather than exit and then 9 months down the line wanted wanted withdrawal I d not see the uni objecting- obviously completly financially ridiculous but physically possible.
 
 
 
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