We all know having IBD is extremely EXTREMELY hard and stressful to deal with, and adding other stressors to our lives make it worse. Well college is a BIG stressor for myself and I know for a lot of other college students with IBD. Even a person without IBD going to college is a very stressful thing. For a lot of students it’s leaving home for the first time and being out on your own, and then trying to make new friends and going out and trying to make new friends, and then classes and tests. It’s a very big thing to deal with for any person, and for those of us with IBD it just makes us more anxious and stressed. So, for those of you about to start college or even in college and still looking for some guidance I am going to try and give you some tips to hopefully help attending college a little less stressful on you. I was diagnosed a month into my very first semester of college and hospitalized 8 days in 2009 and then hospitalized 8 times during my college years so far and i had no idea what steps to take or do to try and protect my attending school and grades.
The first thing you should do is contact your colleges Disability Services and set up a meeting with them so that they can accommodate you in any way that you will need. All you usually need is a letter from your doctor stating you have IBD and need accommodations. You have to meet with them at the beginning of each semester so they can make sure you are doing well, and that they can get new letters our to your new teachers for the semester. All colleges have a disability services all you have to do is either find it on the college website or contact your colleges main office and ask them about it. They helped me get a dorm room with my own personal bathroom and they also provided private letters to all of my professors that let them know that I have IBD and that I may have to leave the classroom multiple times during lecture, or be absent and in the hospital. They will have someone copy notes for you if you need them as well. It really helps take some stress off of you as the student because you know that they are there taking care of certain things for you. You can even ask them about special parking permits if you need that. It is just good to have that set up just in case you have an emergency, which we know those can come up suddenly with IBD.
You can also see if the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation has a support group on your campus or in the area that you can attend. This could also be very helpful in adjusting to your new college life. If they don’t have one maybe you could be that person to start one up in the area and it could be a good way for you to meet others with IBD and who are in college as well.
If you are new to the school campus I would suggest doing a walkthrough of all the buildings and places on campus to find out where the bathrooms are located, so that in those moments of urgency you automatically know where the closest restroom is. Being aware of little things like this will help you not feel so anxious walking from place to place waiting for your stomach to mess up. Even in classrooms if you can sit close to the door so that if you need to urgently go to the restroom you are already by the door and you can ease out and go straight to the restroom.
College is a stressful time in everyone’s life but it can be one of the greatest experiences you have. Having IBD in college is tough and there may be times you have to be in the hospital, or even take time off of school to get better, but it’s worth it. College has been a hard time for me and I’ve been hospitalized several times and even had to take time off of school for surgery, but I’m still attending school now getting ready to graduate. If there’s any advice I can give anyone attending college and IBD is to take it slow and do your best not to stress out. This is easier said than done of course but there are ways to destress. I like to listen to music and to take quiet walks, or exercise to some extent. Also do something fun once in a while! Go out with friends and enjoy the college life, be involved as much as possible on campus and just enjoy yourself. I posted some pics I’ve taken during my college years for you guys to see as well! I hope this bit of information helps and I have posted some links at the end of this to help give you more information! Thanks for reading! Share with friends 🙂