6 Tips for Attending College When You Have a Chronic Illness


Having a chronic illness and attending college had to be one the biggest challenges I faced, as well as one of the most rewarding. Here are some tips I’d love to share in hopes of making your experience entering college with a chronic illness a little bit easier for you.

1. I find being upfront with your professors about your condition is absolutely essential. This allows an open line of communication, but it also allows your professor to have a better understanding when you may not be in class or you’re late with an assignment.

2. Work ahead on days you feel good. This will be invaluable for those days when you’re not feeling your best. I found keeping myself ahead by at least one assignment allowed plenty of rest time when needed.  

3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Unfortunately, we all know one aspect of dealing with some chronic illnesses can be dealing with brain fog. When you’re experiencing these moments, don’t be afraid to ask your professor or classmates to help with clarifying information or assignments. There is no shame in needing some clarification or help when you’re in need.

4. When possible, take advantage of any class offered online through your college. This is a tremendous help if you have a flare; you can attend class while resting in the comfort of your own bed. I personally took as many online classes as possible and only attended mandatory campus classes. This allows so much freedom when you’re not feeling well, but it still allows you to obtain the information needed.

5. If you’re late on an assignment or class due to your illness, don’t beat yourself up over it. You must remember your illness is not your fault; therefore, you can’t break yourself down over things that are out of your control. This is when having an open line of communication with your professors truly does come in handy, though.

6. Lastly, be proud that you’re working towards your goal. You’re not letting your illness define you. You’re learning how to live with your illness and continue to move forward achieving your goals.

Lead photo source: Thinkstock Images


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