The Student Room Group

Taking a leave of absence

For some context I am studying history and I’m in my third and final year, I also commute to university from home. I am just about to go into my second semester where I will have to submit my dissertation.

At the start of the academic year I really started struggling with anxiety. Now I’ve always suffered from anxiety but this year it has become exponentially worse to the point where I am struggling to sleep, eat, and generally function on a day to day basis without mass amounts of stress. Despite this I am still achieving decent grades.

Over Christmas and new year my symptoms seemed to be improving somewhat but coming back now in January has made be feel terrible. I feel burnt out, like my brain just isn’t working like it usually does and I feel like I’m really going to mess up my degree in the final stretch. Earlier on this week I had a meeting with my department’s wellbeing service and they said that a leave of absence may be appropriate so that I can work my mental health (I have started therapy) and come back in September. This way I will be able to do the best I possibly can in my final year.

However, I am not sure whether or not to do this. First off I feel like a bit of a failure, most people are able to do a degree without this level of mental strife and I feel like taking a couple months away is just the easy way out. Secondly, in some ways I feel like it may be best to just power through and get the year done even if this takes a massive toll on my mental wellbeing. Furthermore, I would need evidence to show why I am taking a leave of absence. My therapist can provide this and I have an appointment with my GP but I’m not sure I will be approved.

Has who anyone has had a similar experience give me some advice here I really don’t know what to do
I don't think there is anyway they can deny you a leave of absence if you have supporting evidence. I went of a leave of absence at the end of 2nd year and i just showed them an unfit-to-work letter that my GP provided me and lasted over a year. I'll give you the truth when i went on a gap year it was terrible for me and i did feel like a failure and that i was behind but at the end of the day you have to prioritise your mental health otherwise it'll will get worse with time and it's harder to manage when you hit rock bottom. It also depends on how you use the time I didn't do much so i was with my thoughts a lot of the time thinking about many things so while i didn't have academic stress my mind was still stressed constantly. Keep yourself busy and just go to therapy and work on yourself find a job and just clear your mind without the academic stress and prepare yourself for 3rd year again when the time comes.

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