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3 Ways to Navigate College When You Have Epilepsy

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Fresh off my graduation from college last year, I wonder if other kids with epilepsy worry about their transition to college. Whether you’re planning on going away or staying home, college is an experience like no other. Chances are lessons will be learned and lifelong friends will be made. I hope you benefit from my experiences and transition tips.

When I arrived at college for the first time the emotions running through me were many: anxious, excited, nervous and so much more. The thing about college is most people are starting in the same boat. We may have one or two friends from back home, but other than that we’re starting from scratch. The transition from high school to college may seem intimidating, but if you take it a few steps at a time you might be on your way to the best four years of your life.

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1. Get Involved.

Your parents might tell you this over and over before you leave. As much as you may hate to hear it, they are right. Colleges have so much to offer these days. I got involved in our entrepreneurship club, the American Marketing Association and the Collegiate Leadership Competition. I encourage you to find something you’re passionate about and see if your college offers a club related to it. Don’t go overboard on this because the work load is quite different from high school (you’ll find that out quick). Sports, clubs, fraternities and sororities are great ways to meet new people and find the right group of friends to hang out with.

2. Tell Your Friends About Your Epilepsy.

You may not want to hear this, but you might need to do it sooner or later. In my experience the sooner you do it the more comfortable you might feel at college. This allows your friends to understand your situation better and they could be more protective of you if something happens. Remember, these people are your friends and they care about you. Telling them about your seizures probably won’t affect your friendship. All my friends and professors knew about my seizures. If anything happened, I had people who would help me because they cared about me. When I had seizure activity at night, I had friends who let me stay with them in their room. I know it may seem scary, but it can be a relief when you tell your friends about your situation.

3. Go Out.

Once you have found the right friend group, make sure you find time to go out and enjoy yourself. You’ll be working for the rest of your life, so why not have fun now? This doesn’t mean getting drunk every weekend. Throughout my four years, I never had a drink while out at bars with my friends. Quite frankly, it’s better not having to pay for drinks. Exploring the city with my friends gave us memories that we sure will never forget. Be a good student, but also live it up!

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Originally published: April 12, 2017
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