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Should I mention depression in my petition for reinstatement?

Long story short, I transferred to the UW from an OOS 4-year school in the Southeast with a 4.0 and started in Summer 2016.  However, in the fall I experienced my first winter in the Northwest and developed a pretty severe case of seasonal depression.  I stopped attending classes, neglected myself, began sleeping all day, etc.  After getting a 1.6 in Fall quarter and straight Ws in Winter and Spring quarter, I was placed on probation and eventually kicked out the university. 

I never sought professional help, but I did eventually recover from depression by taking high-dose vitamin d capsules, receiving b12 injections, exercising regularly, etc. It's really like a dark cloud was lifted, and now that my thoughts aren't distorted I've been kicking myself over ruining the opportunity that I had.

I've been working about 60 hrs/wk with overtime over the last 1.5 years to establish financial independence and save up a large chunk of money for when I return to school. I also started taking classes at WWU this past Summer.  I have a 4.0 at WWU, so I've demonstrated that I can still succeed academically. I'd love to go to the UW again, as it's a great school with excellent  opportunities for research, etc that aren't really available at WWU.

I'll be writing my reinstatement letter soon, and I'm required to discuss the factors that contributed to my poor academic performance. I must also submit supporting documentation that provides evidence for any physical/mental health issues or extenuating circumstances that affected my ability to maintain an acceptable gpa.

Considering the fact that I was never officially diagnosed and have no way to provide evidence that I was depressed, should I even mention depression in my appeal? Besides the lack of documentation, I'm also worried about the stigma associated with depression and am concerned that the reinstatement committee would be reluctant to allow a student with a history of depression to return to the university. I'm wondering if my chances of being readmitted would be higher if I were to just admit that I was immature/undisciplined/lacked direction and have since matured and found motivation to return to school and succeed academically.

If anyone has any input I'd appreciate it!


5 replies
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Replies to: Should I mention depression in my petition for reinstatement?

  • DustyfeathersDustyfeathers 3705 replies85 threads Senior Member
    Is there a way to simply not mention it? Maybe you can say that you were not prepared for the massive change in climate and culture when arriving, but now that you've matured and have experienced xyz you are ready to embrace UW again. OTOH you don't need to misrepresent, and you could say something like, informally what was going on might be construed as depression but I never received a diagnosis and I think that I was experiencing something equivalent to culture shock. Having acclimated now, I feel fully prepared to complete the program etc.
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  • Ready5etGoReady5etGo 19 replies0 threads Junior Member
    I would go with what you've written above. It is honest; it tells them how you got treatment; and it shows them what you've done since then.

    "Re: Request for Reinstatement to UW

    Dear (insert name),

    I transferred to the UW from an OOS 4-year school in the Southeast with a 4.0 and started in Summer 2016. However, in the fall I experienced my first winter in the Northwest and developed a pretty severe case of seasonal depression. I stopped attending classes, neglected myself, began sleeping all day, etc. After getting a 1.6 in Fall quarter and straight Ws in Winter and Spring quarter, I was placed on probation and was released from the university.

    Eventually, I went to a doctor and recovered from depression by taking high-dose vitamin D capsules, receiving B12 injections, and exercising regularly. It's really like a dark cloud was lifted, and now that my thoughts aren't distorted I've been kicking myself for not getting help sooner, and for ruining the opportunity that I had.

    Over the last 1.5 years, I've been working about 60 hrs/wk with overtime to establish financial independence and save up money for school. I also started taking classes at WWU this past summer. With my previous 4.0 from (Southeast school) and my 4.0 at WWU, I know that I can succeed academically at UW. And with excellent opportunities for research, my goal is to work with UW's Professor X who is at the top of his/her field when it comes to researching about ___________.

    I truly hope I can get a second chance to attend UW. For supporting documentation, I have included my lab results and a letter from my physician documenting my extreme vitamin deficiencies and treatment. In addition, I have included a copy of my gym membership, a current paystub (or W2 / letter from my employer), a copy of my 4.0 transcript from (Southeast school), and a copy of my 4.0 transcript from WWU.


    Sincerely,


    ____________"




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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 35901 replies404 threads Senior Member
    Can't call it "massive change in climate and culture when arriving," as those two realities haven't changed.

    Nor do I think OTC remedies are going to be enough (or should even be mentioned.)

    Get a therapist now. Diagnosis matters less than the life and academic skills you've developed in the interim. You'll be able to point to the therapy and the counselor's and your confidence of your new strengths and skills.

    It's your 3rd paragraph that is central, imo. Build on that. It "shows" the positive.
    But be aware that many people are happier when overworking or overscheduled. Make sure that's not an issue here that could trip you, back in college. It's something you can check with a good therapist.

    Best wishes.
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  • PublisherPublisher 12115 replies164 threads Senior Member
    edited December 2018
    I disagree with the above post that suggests getting a therapist now after you have matured & recovered. Only do so if you think that you are currently in need of professional counseling.


    P.S. I love the suggested letter offered in post #2 above.@ready5setgo
    edited December 2018
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  • wittystudentwittystudent 14 replies1 threads Junior Member
    I agree above. It's fine if you don't have documentation, as long as you're honest, I see no issue in mentioning it.
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