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How hard is it to manage chronic illness in college?

Asked Graniteville, South Carolina

Hi! I have Autism, ADHD, Depression/Anxiety, chronic pain, artificial #college #education #career #school lenses in my eyes and several other health issues. I'm wondering how hard it is to manage a college workload with these disorders?

1 answer

Kim’s Answer

Updated San Antonio, Texas


I recently attended school, having some health issues. I contacted the school's disability office. They gave me permission to use an electric blanket in class (the cold temperatures are painful), and a special access card to a restricted access doorway so I could enter the library at the ground level rather than climbing the stairs. I have seen students with desks in special locations (presumably to minimize distractions), and the testing office will administer tests in their office for students with disabilities, who may have special needs during a testing period, including extended times.

At this particular school, they made it clear that they expected students to be their own advocates. That is, if you need something, you need to figure out what you need and get all the paperwork completed and turned in (doctors forms filled out, etc.)

As far as physically/mentally handling the workload, I recommend starting with the minimum fulltime load if you are going full time. Also mix up easy and difficult classes. Figure out what works best for you as far as carrying your gear. Don't be ashamed to use something with wheels instead of a backpack. Realize you will likely be far from your car, so all your creature comfort stuff should be with you. See if they have lockers and look into getting one. Consider spacing out your classes, rather than taking them back to back. But don't make it a long day. Perhaps two classes on M/W and two on T/Th, with a one-class break in-between. Remember you will need time to study and go to the library.

You may also want to get some career counseling. Just because a person has the aptitude for a particular field does not mean it is a good fit. For example, if you are good at law, but don't handle stress well, you may not want to be a paralegal (but there may be other law-related jobs that you can do!) You don't want to get all the way through school and find out you pursued the wrong field!

Healthwise? Eat and sleep right. Take your medications and supplements. Get some exercise. Get some fresh air!

As a person with multiple disabilities, I believe I can do most things that I want to do. It's just up to me to find a way to make it work. It is a philosophy that has served me well! I recommend you try it!

Best of luck!


Thank you so much!
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