Learning How to Be Sick in College


For every stage of my life I have learned something. Life is about learning and moving through stages.

When I was a baby I learned how to crawl, walk and talk.

When I was a child I learned how to color inside the lines, how to ride a bike and how to be a big sister.

In middle school I learned how to be a friend, how to explore, how to tell the truth from a lie and how to succeed in school.

In high school I learned to drive a car, I began to learn what it meant to be sick, I learned love and loss, and how to procrastinate.

In college I’m still learning. I’m learning new things every day, new things like how to pull all nighters and how to make a working budget. How to stand up for myself, and when to back down. But mostly I am learning how to be both be a college student and to be sick.

Because I am learning to be sick, or what it means to be sick, every day is a new experience. I am learning when to take my medication and stay in bed, and when to push through class. I am learning when to take my meds and when to take a nap. I am learning when to call my best friend and when to call my doctor. I am learning when to work ahead on my projects and when to binge-watch Netflix. I am learning the balance between being sick and being me.

While learning to be both sick and a college student, I have learned the world isn’t black and white. That I am not just one thing:

I am a college student,
I take honors classes.

I am chronically ill,
I take medication daily.

I am a college student,
I spend many late nights doing assignments.

I am chronically ill,
I spend many days laying in bed sick.

I am a college student,
I am taking a full course load.

I am chronically ill,
Some days getting out of bed is my biggest success.

I am a college student,
I struggle to balance my academics with my personal life.

I am chronically ill,
I struggle to balance my personal health with my daily requirements.

I am a chronically ill college student,
I deal with symptoms in and out of class.

I am a chronically ill college student,
I fight stigma and deal with whispers about me daily.

I am a chronically ill college student,
I miss classes more than I want to.

I am a chronically ill college student,
I don’t do as well as I wish I could.

I am a chronically ill college student,
But you might not even know unless I tell you.

I am a chronically ill college student,
And often times I am prejudiced against.

I am a chronically ill college student,
But I don’t let that define me.

Beyond all that, I am also re-learning things I’ve learned in the past. I’m learning how to be a good friend and sister and daughter. I am learning how to succeed in school, and yes new ways to procrastinate. I am learning I am the sum of my past but also my current actions and my goals for the future.

In every stage in my life, every door that has opened or closed has taught me something that has made me the woman I am today, and whether you know what happened to me behind that door or not, it shaped my life forever. For as Kaci Diane one said, “I love the person I’ve become, because I fought to become her.”

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Thinkstock photo by anyaberkut


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