1 year medical withdrawal for schizoaffective disorder: how to explain on resume?

<p>Doesn't it look awkward when I have completed college in five years? My school is ranked in the top 25 and is a "public Ivy" and I hope to continue school next year and hopefully have enough credits to finish two out of three areas I have worked in (biochemistry, biology, physics)-- my default plan is to finish with majors in Biochemistry and Physics and a minor in Biology. Nevertheless, I hope my interdisciplinary bent compensates for my medical withdrawal. </p>

<p>I will have completed about 140+ credits if all goes to plan, and my treatment goes well and I manage my condition properly. How do I even begin explain what happened? In some ways, the symptoms I experience (which have grown more acute this year forcing my withdrawal) reflect traits of my fundamental personality -- i.e. it allows me to think rapidly about related thoughts and think critically and creatively, but at the same time for the past few years my thoughts have grown disordered and also plunge me into severe suicide-inducing moodswings. </p>

<p>I'm now getting medication to manage it of course and it is more under control, and one of my professors (Chair of Chemistry) had a daughter who eventually "recovered" from bipolar, went on to MIT, and even could stop taking meds and got "cured" after some time, but I don't think she had to take a medical withdrawal. </p>

<p>And when applying to jobs, how do I explain this on my resume? Should I mention it at all? Should I mention what the disorder was, or that it was even psychological? I think employers and grad schools are prejudiced towards psychiatric disorders. Currently I'm treating my withdrawal year like a "gap" year-- I'm doing some research, applying to some jobs and volunteer programmes and "recharging" my morale.</p>

<p>I took five years to graduate, including a few months off, for no good reason whatsoever. While none of my interviews are Ivys I doubt my time to graduation is even remotely the reason why, and there are plenty of great schools I'm interviewing at, including top 10, 20.</p>

<p>Don't mention it. If people ask at an interview, explain that you had time off for medical reasons, or whatever you feel comfortable saying. If your condition is under control, that is your business. If it affects your lab work at some point, maybe it will be your PI's business as well. But do not let it negatively affect your admission chances.</p>

<p>but how do I mention an excusing factor on my resume to avoid a bad reaction from seeing my college listed as 2008-2013?</p>

<p>Some might be biased against you, but I would expect that many more would be impressed by what you have had to overcome. I would address it in your personal statement; if you're factual and honest, it's less likely to raise concerns than an unexplained gap in your studies.</p>

<p>I disagree, at least for the initial application stage. If they're sorting through many hundreds of applications, I don't think you want that bit of "risk" (even it it's biased and unfair) when they've got their eyes peeled for any reason to discard an application. I think it would be riskier than a gap. Assuming your grades are strong, they will at least see that it's not affecting your progress. You can always state that it was for documented medical reasons and not go into further detail.</p>

<p>It might come up at interviews, and you can of course go into detail if you want. Maybe others have some actual experience with this issue?</p>

<p>Wait, one doesn't get "cured" randomly after being diagnosed as bipolar.. Once you're bipolar, you're bipolar for life.. you take medication lifelong to manage your mood swings and mental health. It's equivalent to being schizo. You're never cured. Only treatable. So I doubt what that guy is claiming about his daughter.</p>

<p>Having said that. Say (if asked) you left for medical reasons. You don't need to divulge further info than that, and that's all the info that they should need.
Yes, people will unfortunately judge you or look at you differently because of mental health issues. I know first hand. I rarely tell anyone about my problems, unless I have a moment and then I have to explain myself.
Just continue to stay medicated and you'll be totally fine!</p>

<p>Brain chemistry does change throughout one's life. "Sometime" is probably on the order of a decade or more.</p>

<p>Thanks for the advice, guys.</p>

<p>
[quote]
but how do I mention an excusing factor on my resume to avoid a bad reaction from seeing my college listed as 2008-2013?

[/quote]
</p>

<p>First, don't list "2008-2013" just put the graduation year (with "expected" if you haven't graduated yet). No one will question a 5 year undergraduate (many people take that long), and if they ask, just tell them you were off a year for medical reasons. There's no reason to explain the medical reason, and no one will ask.</p>

<p>"First, don't list "2008-2013" just put the graduation year (with "expected" if you haven't graduated yet). "</p>

<p>For your CV, sure. For the application, some will want graduation year, most will want years attended.</p>

<p>"No one will question a 5 year undergraduate (many people take that long), and if they ask, just tell them you were off a year for medical reasons. There's no reason to explain the medical reason, and no one will ask."</p>

<p>Agreed.</p>

<p>My son had to withdraw from school last semester due to schizoeffective disorder. You need to give yourself credit - this is a TOUGH illness. Just focus on managing your illness and getting through school. You are to be congratulated for persevering! I will echo the advice that you just list the year you graduated - a LOT of people take five years.</p>

<p>Yes, some people, approximately 25%, do recover and don't require medication. Another 25% do well on meds. The other half has more difficulties.</p>

<p>My son has enrolled at our local university as a math major. He has had similar experiences to you, it sounds like. The rapid thoughts are a blessing as well as a curse. He picks up mathematical concepts really quickly, but sometimes the thoughts come so quickly that they overwhelm him.</p>

<p>Good luck!</p>