How to explain an unintended gap year after graduating?

(11 Posts)
GapYear2020 Mon 29-Jun-20 15:07:42

I finished my master's degree nearly a year ago. I really enjoyed it but found it quite intense, especially towards the end. I felt like I wanted a month or so off afterwards just to decompress and plan my next steps rather than rush into something. I have always planned to do a PhD so I felt like I just wanted a bit of breathing room from academia as I felt like I was close to burning out.

So I had a month or so off and begun to look for PhDs. However I really struggled with my mental health at this point. I started developing really bad anxiety and just lost all confidence in myself. I genuinely do not recognise the person I became. I was also dealing with some family issues that, now I am looking back, were relatively minor but at the time felt all-consuming due to my anxiety.

In the Spring I began looking for part-time jobs but the places I applied to started to close because of COVID-19. I then thought I was in the high-risk group so stopped applying for jobs and accepted I would have to stay home. It wasn't until later clarification that I found out my medical issue is not high risk.

That takes me up to now. I have started resuming working on my applications, I am in a much better place mentally and feel like my old self again. However I am feeling worried about how to explain this year on my applications and in interviews? Does anyone have any advice? I feel so guilty about it and I know it is a big reason why I have been putting off submitting some applications.

Thank you.

OP’s posts: |
CorianderLord Mon 29-Jun-20 15:59:31

I don't think you'll even be asked tbh? Quite normal to do a gap year. Just say that you took some time out after your MA and then Covid scuppered your options for a while.

CorianderLord Mon 29-Jun-20 16:00:05

If you don't mind a white lie say that you were caring for a family member going through some problems (I mean you are in your family).

GapYear2020 Mon 29-Jun-20 20:05:14

@CorianderLord Thank you for your reply. Maybe I am overthinking things. I could say, if they ask, that I had family obligations as that is true although it would not have prevented me from working. I guess they won't press for more details if they are personal?

OP’s posts: |
Bringonspring Mon 29-Jun-20 20:08:17

Definitely overthinking it, worked part time/considered future etc. That is fine

FartingNora Mon 29-Jun-20 20:11:03

I think with COVID you’ll be fine
Some time off, some illness and then COVID.

TeaAndHobnob Mon 29-Jun-20 20:11:47

I highly doubt it will count against you. Nothing wrong with taking time off. Family reasons are perfectly understandable.

GapYear2020 Tue 30-Jun-20 00:09:22

Oh thank you! I was really worrying that this year will have really ruined my chances of starting my career on good footing. I know it sounds dramatic but I was worried it would make me seem lazy or apathetic.

OP’s posts: |
ittooshallpass Tue 30-Jun-20 00:13:22

You're definitely over thinking. Taking time off between studies is completely normal. Almost expected really! I doubt you'll even be asked.

beautifulxdisasters Sat 04-Jul-20 22:28:45

I had 6 months off between graduating and applying for jobs, it wasn't mentioned most of the time and when it was I just said I'd taken some time out after studying - all totally fine

Isthisfinallyit Sat 04-Jul-20 23:32:19


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