Back to School: College and Grad School Edition

Paul, an adult with PI, draws from his experience attending college and starting law school to share six great tips for navigating higher education while managing a condition. Best of luck in your law school adventure, Paul!

#1 Befriend your university's pharmacist.

When life gets crazy, you'll need her/him to help you stay on top of your medicine deliveries, and it never hurts to have someone watching out for you.

#2 Don't let your mom schedule your appointments.

Take time now - before the school year runs out of control - and schedule all of your medical appointments for breaks so that you don't have to worry about it later.

#3 Find a doctor/PA at your local health clinic who can handle your case.

Make sure they know that you need a single PCP tracking your health and ask them for their regular hours so that you can schedule your appointments accordingly. Important as it is to have a local PCP for when crisis strikes, you don't have to abandon the experts at home who know you better than anyone else. Be up front with the local PCP and tell them that your case is complicated and that your regular medical care team has to be involved in any medical decisions. Every local provider I've ever met has been 100% ok with that - they are busy folks and don't mind shifting the burden - but you need to ask.

#4 Hold to your healthy habits!

Eat, sleep, exercise, repeat. Build it into your schedule and hold those blocks of time sacred. Five years from now (heck, five DAYS from now) you won't remember the 150 pages that kept you up all night, but the anxiety, depression, and fatigue will catch up on you and disrupt everything if you're not careful. Make the routine more fun (and hold yourself accountable) by bringing friends along. Potlucks are a great way to spread the burden of cooking meals, while exercise buddies will keep each other motivated.

#5 Rely on your friends for support.

Tell your friends about what makes you special - health concerns and all - so they can be the support network you'll need when midterms roll around.

If you're not comfortable providing the full details, at least tell them about the impact on your life - fatigue, missing a day of class, no alcohol, whatever. They'll respect your choices and will probably open up with their own special needs. Friends like to be depended upon - so depend on them.

#6 Try the Pomodoro Technique to manage your time (and stress).

Everyone works differently, but everyone needs to take regular breaks to learn and feel their best. If you can fit a little exercise or a much-needed snack into the intervals, so much the better.