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  • It’s complicated

Temporary withdrawal from university

I applied for temporary withdrawal in March this year. Before applying, I spoke to my tutor and supervisor who were very happy with my decision, as they felt it was the right thing to do. It would have been my last year at university, so this decision wasn't easy at all for me.

There wasn't long left anyway, and so I still tried my best to finish and graduate this year.

Obviously that's not how it worked out and I'm not upset about that at all. I'm actually really happy that I took time off. It was very much needed. My doctors were also happy with my decision and since I've been on leave I've just been focusing on my health. Its no secret, to those who know me personally, that my health hasn't been great recently, both mentally and physically; especially my mental health. So this leave has been spent visiting/speaking to doctors, finding new specialists, getting my medical papers in order, and focusing on calming my anxiety and depression.

Unofficially, I have been on leave since the beginning of the academic year, October 2019. In the UK, undergraduates are eligible for 12 months of temporary withdrawal, provided that this has been discussed with and approved by the university. It’s important to have a meeting with your tutor to discuss your options and to better understand how the withdrawal would work.

I filled in the form which my tutor had sent me and contacted Student Finance England to explain my situation and to put my finance on hold. For me, personally, this was done by the university already, but I did contact SFE to ask about what I need to do when I’m ready to go back. Since I want to go back from the beginning of this academic year (October 2020) I just had to fill in the usual student finance forms. As my leave is on medical basis, when I want to return to my course, I need my specialists to write a letter, 8 weeks in advance, to the university stating that they are happy for me to go back and complete my degree.

There is no shame in taking time off to focus on your physical/mental health. If you feel like you need some time off, then sit down with your tutor and explain your situation and take the break. Your degree will still be there when you’re ready to go back. At first I really thought I should just push myself and finish my education. Now I realise if I pushed myself, I wouldn't have been able to do my absolute best in my exams and assignments, which would've just upset me. And it really isn't worth putting your health on the line like that; it would only make things worse.

If you have any questions about taking temporary withdrawal from university do not hesitate to contact me❤️

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