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Tips And Tricks For College Students


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I'll admit, I'm getting really, really nervous for the start of the new semester. Last year was probably the worst year of my life (my life hasn't been that long though). I'm only taking 13 credits... but I'm still nervous that between the stress and lack of sleep and homework that I'll be in the ER every few weeks like like year.

Have any of you applied for services for students with disabilities? If so, what did you request? I already have a case on file for learning disabilities, but I'm not sure if I want to add my medical information or just try to deal with it on my own.

I know many of you have made it through college... what's the secret?

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Hi! I first started University ten years ago next month, and am about to attend my third. It's going to be a real eye opener for me to attend a US university as I'm from the UK. However, in the last ten years, I'd say the things which are most important are:

Space between classes- no all day / all morning/ all afternoon blocks

Someone to fetch library books or return them if you can't - the university will have funding for this if your doctor confirms your disability with them

Extensions to deadlines in case of bad days or flare ups

OK to lie down in class if you need to recline

Assistive technology- eg computer that lets you talk instead of typing for words to appear on screen.

Ok to record lectures if you can't keep up writing notes, or get someone else to record them if you can't be there.

Use the internet to research from home on bad days

Recognise there may be things you can't do on a certain day- you may not have enough spoons to do an all night frat party, ball, or cocktail party. You may not have enough spoons to go shopping or on a super long walk / job with college friends

Make sure anyone who may meet you in dorms or classes knows what to do if you have an episode

Make sure you set up an advance directive with your college doctor so tht they know precisely what to do if you collapse/have an episode.

Not sure if you have EDS/fibro- if you do, what about things like wrist splints to help you type.

Also not sure what your subjects will be? Mine were humanities and languages- lots of reading and essay based stuff. Easier than lab based would have been. There are some folks on here who have done sciences who will be able to advise you better than I can.


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I know that feeling. Mack (my 17 y/o) starts his last year of high school on Thursday and I dread it- on his behalf. School demands takes soooo much out of him.

As far as requesting/receiving accomodations through your campus's disability office, I thought you might glean a few hints from previous posts I've responded to. Check out posts #131413 and #135792.

Best of luck for a wonderful, healthy, productive school year. Keep us posted on your progress.



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My health was better 10 years ago when I was in college. I wouldn't be able to do it at all now. I did struggle with POTS back then, but I was able to make it through 4 years college. One of the main things that helped me back then was going to a small college, and I mean small. There were only three buildings on campus, and they were all close together. One building had the dorms, the offices, the chapel, the student lounge, and two classrooms. It was perfect for me. I could literally sleep in until 10 minutes before class, get dressed, walk downstairs, and still be on time for class.

Going to such a small school is not an option most would choose, but it worked really well for me. There is no way I could have walked around a large school campus every day. Other than the small school, adequate sleep and rest and healthy food were also essential.


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Are online classes an option for you? If not for online classes I would not have been able to finish my master's degree last year...I am still taking online classes for a post-graduate certification. I don't think I would have been able to do traditional classes. Best wishes to you and I hope you have a great up-coming semester :)

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I've taken both online classes (finished an MBA) and campus classes with POTS. Here's the merry list of stuff I was in love with:

1. Adderall (lol, but seriously)

2. Laptop

3. Recliner

4. Small printer/copier

5. Frozen gatorades for the backpack

6. Handicap Parking Pass and Handicap Campus Parking Pass

7. Money for when paid parking is closer for sicker days

8. Markers, colored pencils (cognitive clouding seems less of a problem if you color code your notes)

9. Ipod with playlists: relaxation, energizing, fighter, etc.

10. Caffeine, Caffeine, Caffeine!

I hope this helps. School is tough with POTS but definately do-able. Anything worth achieving is difficult and hard work.


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Thanks everybody! I was wondering if they would even give me a handicap parking sticker...? I don't use a wheelchair.

I can't do online classes for my major really, but I don't like them anyways. I've found that it's easier for professors to have mercy on me when I can't turn things in on time if they can see me and my pots everyday. With online stuff, they usually hesitate to grant extensions for anything.

I've also found that it makes me less anxious to carry a card in my backpack that lists my conditions and medicine and all that, so I know if I pass out they'll know what to do.

I'm a little nervous because the house my friends and I ended leasing has stairs... aye yiyi

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If you are severly limited in how far you can walk, then you do qualify for a handicap parking tag. Even if you don't need it every single day, you can get a placard to hang in your car on the days that you do need to use it. If you think you might qualify for one, you can talk to your doctor about getting the proper forms filled out.

Yikes on the stairs at the house! I hope they don't get too difficult for you. If you find that they do become too hard to navigate, according to ADA guidelines you do have the right to request a ramp or other reasonable accomodations.

I hope that the semester goes well for you.

All the best,


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First, congrats!

Second, register with disability services. Even if you find you don't need the services, it is better to have them, then get really sick, and then try and get them later. Disability services can help get you: notetakers (really helpful if you have to miss class), priority registration (classes fill quickly! with priority registration, you will get more choices about class times), dorm accommodations (do you need a single? i know you said you don't use a wheelchair, but maybe you need a handicap accessible dorm because you have trouble with stairs?), etc etc.

Third, talk to you professors in the beginning of each class if you are worried you may have issues and need to miss. They are more understanding if you approach them in the beginning, and ask what you should do should 1) you be really sick the day of a midterm and are in the hospital 2) you miss class because of a doctors appointment....you get the idea.

Fourth, how far can you walk? Do you need a centrally located dorm? What do you need to make walking or driving (not sure what kind of campus you have) easier on you.

Fifth, do you have trouble with nausea? Do you need to be on a reduced meal plan or off the meal plan? Do you need to work with the cooks/dietitian to come up with food that you can eat?

And much more, but that is the starting point. I hope college is everything you dreamed i would be.

As for ending up in the emergency room...have a good plan of how to get there. I hope you can avoid it, but it's better to be prepared. (Check with health services and see if they offer IVs...that might save you a trip to the ER...I am not sure what you go to the ER for).

I ended up in the ER many times my freshman year, but I made it through okay. I'm sure you'll be alright too.

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Oh I forgot, if you pass out, invest in a medical bracelet. Medic Alert has a service that will contact a family member/friend for you which is helpful, but if you can't afford it, a regular bracelet is fine. I would say this is a must if you are living on your own.

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everybody's giving you great advice. i'll add my two cents...

I went to college healthy and fell severely ill with POTS during my Junior year. It totally changed the way I studied, and for me that meant switching from a traditional delivery format to distance learning courses. As I recovered, I took more classes per semester. My top four college with POTS tips are:

#1-- NEVER give up...just keep going, even if your pace is slow, the tunnel does end eventually.

#2-- Be careful when switching activities. So for example, getting up after sitting at a desk reading for a long time takes a longer, slower transition to avoid fainting than standing up after laying down.

#3-- Mature quickly....don't stress out over small details, and keep your calm because anxiety will kill your energy and concentration ability.

#4-- Take care of your health as much as possible. Most college kids push their bodies and don't take care of basics like sleep and nutrition. As a POTS patient, we can't afford to do that because we lack reserve. Stay hydrated and sleep as much as your body needs. Exercise your legs, and cope with stress in healthy ways.

Good luck with your new semester!! :rolleyes:

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