Hoping for reality check and some guidance

When I was 18 my mother died in quite a traumatic way, I ended up developing PTSD, dropped out of school developed some bad habits and essentially fucked myself for 4 years.

I'm 23 now and starting a Mechanical Engineering degree at UCL this coming Autumn. 

I have huge concerns that gaps in my past are going to lead to me being overlooked for internships and jobs in the future.

My friends within the sector have resoundingly  told me recruiters only care about experience relative to your graduating year / existing qualifications and may consult my A-Level results for internships (All A*).

Would be really interested to hear other peoples perspective on my situation. 
 

Comments (5)

Jun 3, 2021 - 1:44am
monkey_brah, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Not well-versed on Europe, but congrats on overcoming your adversity.  You should be proud of how far you've come.

I would agree with your friends, you can avoid annoying questions by listing graduation date, along with relevant internships and qualifications.  Use this type of thing to help hide your age as best as possible.  I would consult the career office at your school for other random ad-hoc advice, though they aren't always perfect.

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Jun 3, 2021 - 7:01am
intern_forever_x, what's your opinion? Comment below:

You'll have plenty of years to recruit so you have nothing to worry about. You are in a good university in a strong programme and you already know about WSO, which puts you ahead of peers.

If they ask in an interview, you can just tell them your story without giving too many specifics. I'm sorry for your loss but I wouldn't mention in an interview the things about PTSD and falling down on a dark path.

I would play it off by saying something like:
"I lost one of my parents and it was really difficult for me to deal with it. For a few years I chose to work and save up for living costs and now I can focus on my degree." 

The entire truth may be too much in an interview. But I am just a stranger on the internet so for these things I'd consult with the careers service and/or people you trust, like mentors. What's important is that you stick to this new path and quit any bad habits you picked up over the past 4 years. 

In the long run, it doesn't matter where you graduated at 22 or 26. You will have at least a 30 year career. Don't worry. 

Jun 3, 2021 - 7:27am
walking_downside_case, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Echoing above, congratulations on turning it around - it takes a lot to turn a life around.

Believe that you'll be fine for recruitment provided that you have a strong profile in the conventional sense (grades / extracurriculars / etc.) and have a polished story for how you turned things around and are therefore starting later than most.

I also took a bit of a slow path to my SA internship in London and was around the same age that you will be when you do yours (let's assume you get a 2023 Summer) so the older age shouldn't automatically screw you. 

Jun 4, 2021 - 9:12am
Releaseone, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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