How I manage my health condition at uni
Beginning university is an extremely exciting time, however, it can also be a little daunting, especially if you have a physical or mental health condition. Personally, I suffer with both endometriosis and bipolar, as well as being dyslexic – so I’m very aware of the heightened anxiety that comes at this time and throughout your studies. As a final year student, I want you to know that it is possible to thrive in your studies despite dealing with health conditions. In this blog I want to share some advice and tips, from myself, and other students for managing both your studies and health.
Take care of yourself
First and foremost, your health must come before anything else. It is so important to look after your wellbeing and in the long run, will make studying a lot easier. Make time for yourself and take time when you need it – the worst thing you can do is overload your body and mind. Know that it is okay to take a break.
‘Feeling overwhelmed is okay and normal. You’re not the only person struggling, and there are plenty of people who are going through something similar.’ International Business, 4th Year.
Inform the university
It’s so important while studying that you talk to someone if you feel you are struggling or falling behind in your studies. The university has an abundance of support systems; from Learning Support to Student Support and Guidance Tutors and personal tutors – they all want to help and see you succeed, so never be afraid to speak up.
When I started university I was offered a learning support plan (or LSP) which contains information about your disability and the appropriate help or amendments you need. For example, requiring a reader/scribe in exams or extra time due to mental health difficulties – it’s completely tailored to your needs. It’s been a lifesaver! It means you can apply for extensions easier and quicker plus tutors are aware of something going on, but without needing to know details. I find that it is important to speak to them and keep them updated when necessary. Of course, not everyone is comfortable with this, but I would really encourage you to talk to someone. All my lecturers have been incredibly supportive and have taken extra time to give me 1-to-1 support when I’ve needed it.
You can also speak to your school office and apply for extensions or mitigating circumstances if you feel you are unable to meet your deadlines. Remember that although there is a lot of support available, getting the right support depends on you to ask.
‘Your tutors want the best for you – never be afraid to talk to them. They’re very willing to help, especially if you have already informed them of the problem.’ Media Studies, 3rd Year.
‘Speak to your SSGT as soon as possible. It will be so much easier to find solutions if something does go wrong.’ Chemistry, 4th Year.
Create a support system
Whether this is old friends, new friends or family, having a support system outside of university is also important. Sometimes university can get a little overwhelming, and this is okay. Just as you may need to take a break from studying, you may also need a break from the university environment. Never be afraid to reach out and speak to someone outside of university about your worries and struggles! Don’t isolate yourself – a problem shared is a problem halved!
‘Don’t suffer in silence.’ Law, 3rd Year.