Being a student who lives with chronic health challenges requires acquiring and mastering a sophisticated skill set that is not part your educational curriculum.
Any successful student learns to adapt to norms and rules set by others – – starting in preschool. Isn’t that the name of the game? And those who develop this skill early are more likely to succeed in this environment. Adaptation becomes even more important when you are in post highschool education — college, graduate school or technical school.
Being able to adapt is critical when you live with any kind of chronic health challenge because you live with unpredictable issues that are often beyond your control.
In “When It Comes to Chronic Illness, College Campuses have a Lot to Learn”, Cogniscenti, WBUR.org Laurie Edwards explores what happens when students with chronic illness face rigid college norms and rules. Laurie points to opportunities for colleges to change their response to more directly meet these students needs. At least 7% of American youth live with at least one ongoing health condition that disrupts daily activities,not an insignificant number. But few educational institutions are committed to recognizing this distinct population (as opposed to visible ‘disabilities). Nor are they interested in putting their resources toward meeting their needs.
That puts the burden on the individual, you, to figure out how to manage the situation so it doesn’t manage you. Edwards writes, “Illness isn’t a free pass for incomplete work; it’s an extenuating circumstance that requires negotiation and mutual accountability.”
I offer a program for students and post grads to acquire these skills and others — to identify what is most possible while living with debilitating symptoms. If you’re a student with chronic health challenges, you have the opportunity to learn and master skills that will help you be more successful in living with debilitating symptoms.
As Laurie notes, you will need these skills to be successful throughout your work life.