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University stress

I was wondering if anyone had experiences to share about how they coped with their asthma at uni particularly in their final year with the unavoidable increased work load?

I'm in my final year of a 4 year course. I was doing primary teaching but for health reasons dropped the QTS component and my degree title is now a Bsc in Educational Studies and IT. But with it has come two 6000 word independent learning units to make up for the credits I have lost from dropping the teaching element. I'm able to complete the other modules I would have done on my teaching degree and have stayed with my friends. It was hoped both lots of 6000 words would have been done by the beginning of feb to coincide with the start of semester 2 and my new modules but due to illness over Christmas I'm still writing one of the essays.

I'm finding it so hard to juggle all the work and my asthma as well as trying to have some me time. A social life is out of the question at the moment and although my tutor said I can take as long as I like to complete the ILU I feel I need it out of the way because I cannot focus on my new modules properly.

My asthma has worsened in the last 4-5 weeks and I know it is because of the uni stress but I wish I could just make it go away, just for a few days so I can get some solid studying in. I don't know if I want to throw the laptop or the inhaler out of the window at the moment.(Don't worry I wont do either!) I just wondered if there were others out there who have been / or are going through this now and if so how did you cope?

I feel guilty to moan as I usually just get on with things and I know there are people in worse situations.

Sparkly Fairy

14 Replies

It would also be a lot more useful if I wrote that much in one go for my essay!


I feel like I know where you are coming from even though I am only in first year, well I'm doing HNC Social Sciences.

At least your uni sound supportive. Mine are downright unhelpful. I was signed off in late November for my mental health and while I was off I got a lung infection over Christmas which meant more time off. My student adviser is being a right (word removed by passing mod) and when I was first signed off tried to convince me to leave the course. Yet he tells me I have the academic ability. Odd.

Now I am frantically trying to catch up, but need a plan that suits me as his plan is stressing me out.

The only supportive thing they have done for me is to allow me to park in a blue badge space without a badge and without getting a ticket (or if I get one they'll cancel it). The college is at the top of a steep hill and the car park is at the bottom.

They refuse point blank to provide emotional support. Saying they provide academic support forgetting that people with mental health probs need the emotional bit not the academic bit. Yet all the literature says they welcome people with mental health probs, long term illness, other disabilities etc.

I hope you get things sorted.

Good luck.



My Uni have been quite good about giving me extensions for essays etc although they have always insisted on extensive medical notes which can be a pain to get a hold of. Some people with long term illnesses are allowed to self-certify for time/essays that they miss. There has never been any particular help to catch up though and often when I have been ill twice in quick succession I have not been granted a second extension so I have had to turn in work that was written while I was poorly.

Although supposedly my Uni like yours welcomes everybody and will strive to accomodate them. I have found that only to be of limited truth. For example I have had to wait to get my car to Uni and although campus is on the side of a hill and my building is at the top there are no provisions in place for when I am having a bad day....I often have to just walk to lectures and then suffer afterwards.

Its not much help but maybe shows you that other Unis can be unhelpful as well.



hello Sparkle Fairy!

I just wanted to say that you are not on your own struggling with the final year work load and the naff lungs! I is a third yr atm at uni and struggling to complete a dissertation and the naff lungs bit really not helping. I to am atm having the laptop or the inhaler out the window thoughts!!!!

I isn't sure I have much advice that might help really (any gratefully recieved here though if anyone has any?!) I think finding the balence is the key between work and asthma and you time without something giving (which always seems to be the me time....) I don't know about you but everytime I see the asthma team at the local hosp I get the 'stress isn't good for your lungs' line and to get told 'its only a degree' which stangely isn't helpful! I know stress dosen't help but everytime i is ill I get more and more behind witht the work and then get more stressed. Explaining to supervisors that you haven't done things as u where ill never seems to go down well. Like you what I wouldn't give for a few days where lungs would behave so I could actually do some of the huge amounts of work there are.

Sorry not to have been more help *hugs* but still struggling for those answers to. Just feel like I is falling further and further behind as the lungs get wore, some kind of viscious circle!

hope things are going a little better today and feel free to pm if you want a chat with another stressed out finalist!

keep going and *hugs*

mouse x x x


Oh wise words for a Little Mouse! ;) x


I'm also struggling with my studies at Uni. First there are the bad buildings - even though now I've managed to organize my studies so that I don't need to do but only three hours per week in a 'bad building' - I survive with couple of doses of reliever ;) Then there are the studies and the stress load.. I'm not quite sure yet if stress really makes my lungs go worse (since I'm rather new with this) but right now it seems very possible: I've been growing worse after the summer hollidays..

Generally speaking, I've been coping for these two years by asking for permissions to study independently (book exams and papers ;)) and then jus skipping my classes when I must - which will delay my graduation. But I hear that we over here have better chances to delay our graduation, if necessary, so I guess we're lucky. But as it's so, I don't know what I'd do in your situation..

Still, take courage! After some months its summer and you have a nice summer time to stop the vicious circle and improve your lungs :)

With an encouraging valetine day hug,

Niccia :)


I just wanted to say a quick thank you to those of you who have posted with support both here and by pm-ing me. I'm so bogged down with work tonight that I'm literally surrounded by books and paper with no hope of getting in to my bed just yet! I'll try to reply properly to people over the weekend when I'm hoping I'll have a bit more time!

Lots of hugs xx


hugs to all of you who are struggling - I remember it well!

Try going to your Uni disability service - usually through student support - who can organise adjustments to help you - asthma does count as a disability for this kind of thing, even though none of us like to think of it like that. They can lay down the law on extensions etc and the department have to comply!

re the stress- yes, that is hard, especially when you aren't sleeping cos of the lungs or are struggling with deadlines it does make your asthma worse. No real answers to that one that I have come up with, although I did accept that for a few months when I knew things would be particularly stressful I would need more drugs - just to ge tme through the stressful bit - so that is worth thinking about - and discussing with your consultant. If there is an obvious time limit on it (ie after finals) then increasing the meds might be the best way - obviously it is a balance but worth a chat.

Hope that is of some help.



I can really sympathize with anybody who is at University and suffering from bad asthma. I ended up being put on a terbutaline infusion just to get me through my finals because I couldnt manage to stay out of hospital for more than a few days at a time.

My asthma was at its worst when I was a student and I think it was really difficult because, the more you try to stay up late, catching up with essays etc because you are behind, the more your asthma gets worse. Then you get more behind coz your asthma is worse and it just keeps going on and on. I also felt like a failure as I was not able to be as ""social"" as many of my friends. I expected to be out partying all the time and still stay well and still keep up with my work. Well, it wasn't gonna happen! Lost many friends (not really friends!) who got bored with me being ill and not being able to come out drinking all the time. I know now that my proper friends were the ones who supported me, and I am still in touch with them now. However, at the time it is difficult to accept. I am now a teacher and, despite failing my ""fit to teach"" medical the first two times, am working and loving my career. Still in hospital a couple of times a year but loads better than I was.

I think my problems as a student came from trying to achive the correct balance between things and also by not speaking to my uni about things till I was in to my finals and completely floundering healthwise. I should have gone to them much earlier. There is light at the end of the tunnel but I know that it is really difficult, especially for students who are away from their home and family.

Keep your chin up and ask for help sooner rather than later. Remember that you have already accomplished a huge achievement by getting to where you are already.


i wonder where the little mouse learnt the wise words from cathbear?!?! :o)

just wish i could follow them more - still trying i promise- though just wish i could finish the dissertation now!!


4275 words out of 6000... I'm edging ever closer. There is the exciting possibility that this may all be over by the end of the weekend. In fact I am determined it will be over by the end of the weekend, possibly even tomorrow!

Thanks for the support everyone, in the words of Dory from Finding Nemo... I 'just keep swimming, just keep swimming.' hehe

Sparkly hugs, xxx


Well it is finally finished and handed in... the sense of relief was amazing, I feel like I have my life back. I managed to keep the asthma at bay for a few days at least with the help of increased meds and I'm hoping to reduce them when the cold weather has passed!

Thank you for all of your encouraging messages though, it really helped to know I'm not alone in this final year mayhem. I'm sat staring at the next pile of assignments wondering where to start!

Sparkly Fairy


well done sparkly fairy *hugs*....glad you got one thing in, it must be a slight weight lifted


mouse x x x


Bumped up for Katielou.


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