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If You Live With an Illness, Here's Some Advice for Freshmen Week

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Freshmen. The talk of the season. Whether it’s your first week at university or you third – it’s always good fun. A time to meet new people. Go out. Drink. Decorate your new room. However exciting, it’s exhausting for anyone. But with a chronic illness, it’s even more exhausting and there are lots of barriers, however fun it may be.

One of the biggest themes of freshmen week is lots of nights out. Drinking copious amounts of alcohol, going clubbing and having a good dance and sing on the dance floor. For someone with chronic illness I find it very difficult to keep up. I am not allowed to drink on my medication and if I do have a drink it exacerbates my symptoms often leaving me in a worse state. I also do not enjoy clubbing due to some of my mental health conditions. The crowed, loud environment makes me nervous. Often this makes me feel like I’m missing out but there are lots of opportunities for freshmen to get to know each other outside of club nights!

It is also very difficult unpacking your car and sorting out your new room. With bedroom and kitchen supplies your car is often packed to the brim with heavy boxes. I am not able to lift heavy weights and therefore was unable to unpack. Luckily my family were there to help me sort out my room so if you are this position please try and get people to help you. There is no point in worsening your condition. People are very accommodating.

Having a chronic illness can often be very debilitating. It can also be very unpredictable. Putting your trust in people you have only known for a few days can be very difficult, but it is worth it. Having people, you can rely on and they can look out for will not only put your mind at ease, but also your families. It means that they can help you with stuff you can’t do by yourself.

I think the most important advice I can give you is connect with support early. Don’t wait until there is a problem. Register with a doctor straight away. Connect with student support. This way they can ensure that all the support is in place before you start with your studies.

Photo by Caleb Minear on Unsplash

Originally published: October 4, 2018
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