I’ve had three experiences of student life; Undergraduate, Postgraduate and Masters. I wanted to share my experience and give some advice on how to manage your condition while studying.
During my Undergraduate, I was 18 years old and was undergoing tests for Inflammatory Bowel Disease. My body took a right beating, I struggled to manage due to flare ups and I was very dismissive of my health issues. I was naïve and I didn’t fully understand the full impact of being chronically ill. I constantly felt tired, low and I slept most of my Uni days away. Of course, I went out drinking and that’s where I neglected my health and didn’t address the issues I was facing. I got through University, I passed my course and I moved on to do my Postgraduate.
For my Postgraduate, I learned my lessons from my Undergraduate and I disclosed my health conditions. I realised that it was important to inform my Lecturers and I started to come to terms with my chronic illnesses.
I recently finished my Masters in July this year and I done this while I worked. I had to be disciplined, organised and set aside time to complete my dissertation. At times, it was tough and I went a few months of not doing any work on it due to flare ups. The important thing is I pushed myself to the end and completed it and felt a great sense of satisfaction on doing so.
I wish I had known about the support available while at Uni the first time around and I wish I made use of it. It’s also important to tell your Course Tutors if your health is impacting on your course work. The support I received doing my masters was fantastic, very understanding and supportive and provided excellent academic support and guidance.
Four tips for Student Life with a chronic illness:
1. Disclose your condition
2. Seek support & advice from student services
3. During flare-ups take time to recover
4. Ask for extensions on coursework if required
At times it’ll be challenging but it’s worth it and it’s a great achievement.