School and Multiple Sclerosis

I thought this was an ideal time to write this post. I am so fortunate to have the opportunities that I have and sometimes I wonder if I am making the most of every resource that I have.

Any who, I just graduated from my Undergraduate program, and I won’t lie, it has been a journey- a challenging one but a content one. I experienced a lot of symptoms during my junior year of college and it was not until senior year that I was diagnosed so I only really had a year’s experience to document post diagnosis. Based on my experience the following are some recommendations I have for patients who are trying to manage their health and school:

Connect with Your School’s Disability Service
If you realize there are some accommodations that need to be made to your schedule or surroundings, don’t waste any time in connecting with a staff member from your school’s disability services to ensure the issues are taken care of before the first day of classes.

Talk to Your Professors

Your chronic illness or disability is your business, and you do not need to disclose any of your medical information to your professors. However, it is your professor’s job to educate you. If you need accommodations, it will help you both succeed if they know in advance that you might need extra time on tests, that you might need an extension on assignments, that you have to use a distraction-free room for tests or whatever else it might be to ensure your success in school.

Talk to Your Teammates

If your program includes an intensive load of group work then I recommend you communicate it with your teammates if you are comfortable. In each class team work was heavily graded in my program so I decided to let my team know ahead of time so they didn’t think I was making an excuse when I couldn’t show up, and when I wasn’t putting in the work I was supposed to, then I expected to be called out because that’s where accountability lies. 

Get Familiar with Your Surroundings

Being in an unfamiliar place can make many students with chronic illnesses feel uneasy. When you don’t know where to find the nearest bathroom or your math class requires you to climb a few flights of stairs, anxiety can kick in. You can set yourself up for success by taking some time to become familiar with your surroundings before classes start.

Visit all the places you’ll need to access during the semester, including classroom buildings, labs, libraries, and the cafeteria. Similarly, navigate each space until you become familiar with the best route or option for you. Taking the time to do this will mean you’ll feel more ready (and less anxious) for your first day. Thanks to Ms. Rona I have taken virtual classes since March 2020 so I was never on campus. 

Don’t Worry About the Stigma

When you have a chronic illness, you feel fatigue, pain and other debilitating symptoms that can make getting around a campus difficult. College campuses are usually huge. Even when they’re small, they’re big for people who don’t have a lot of energy to spare. Whether it’s a community college or a university campus, you have a lot of ground to cover, which is hard if you are chronically ill.

Don’t Procrastinate

Stay ahead of your assignments. As students there’s a tendency of leaving things till the end but it is best to get assignments done as soon as they’re available because you don’t know when you might experience a flare up or symptoms. This is something that I had to personally implement after a couple of close calls. 

Know Your Limits

It’s easy to forget what the priority is when pursuing your degree. You might feel pressured to graduate at the same time as your peers, to be involved in clubs or organizations and to maintain an exciting social life.

At first, it might seem manageable to take on a heavy course load and to become a part of a lot of clubs. But the demands of all of those credit hours and responsibilities will take a toll on your chronically ill body.

So fellas do not stress, do your best and I hope you the best! Do not forget to subscribe and let me know if there’s anything else you’d like me to share..

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