First day back at uni!

Well today was the dreaded return for my final year at uni! I was very paranoid about sitting in the lecture theatre with people behind me incase my hair wasnt covering the patch of hairloss at the back of my head!! Also felt very anxious! Writing notes was not easy and quite painful and the seats are not comfortable! I managed to get through the two hours but can't remember much of what was said! I am glad my timetable is very empty this year but means I am going to have to find the energy and motivation to self-study, not a strong point of mine at the best of times! I still haven't told any of my lecturers about what has been going on medically but not sure how to approach this with my lack of a diagnosis!! :-/ but at least my lovely group of friends at uni are supportive and good listeners so they really cheered me up today! But worn out now so time for bed!

Hope you are all as well as can be xxx

18 Replies

  • Megs-tom - there must be someone in your school or department who has responsibility for health and disability issues (do you have an Access Unit?) and my suggestion to you is that it is absolutely VITAL that you talk to someone this year.

    I was made redundant this year, but before that for many years was a lecturer at a University. Many students would come and talk to me (I guess I am approachable that way) about health issues, some of them even undiagnosed, as yours is. I would always tell them the same thing:

    Talk to whoever is allocated responsibility for this stuff in your department, or to the University Access Unit with responsibility for disability. Get a letter from your GP/Consultant, if possible. It won't help enough - because even academic institutions are remarkably ignorant about autoimmune diseases, and fatigue (which, like so many other people, they just don't get!) - but IT WILL HELP A BIT. It is important to get your health issues on record because this could affect your final degree result. If, after your final exams, you are borderline (say, on the cusp of the 2.1/2.2 divide) and you have a record of 'special circumstances' which might include ongoing health issues, it may help to push you up over the boundary when the exam board meets. Likewise, if people KNOW that you are having difficulties - it will be easier to apply for an extension for an essay or other piece of coursework, so that you can do your best work. PLEASE talk to someone - it really matters. Your degree really matters, and you really matter.

  • Thanks for your reply! I am going to email my studies advisor to see if we can arrange to speak when I am next there and see if she can help me, she has also just been made programme leader so would be the best person to talk to I think. I didn't think about the degree classification, that is a very good point and I will mention that to studies advisor!

    I was going to ask my rhuemie to write me a letter as I have recently had my bloods repeated so should have been getting results soon but now my appointment is not until January!! I saw the gp today but he seemed clueless so thought it would be pretty pointless asking him.

    I am not sure about an Acces point but will look into that.

    Thanks again for your reply. Take care xxx

  • Well done for being brave enough to go back. Sometimes we feel more self conscious about how we look and others will be completely oblivious to it or simply won't be bothered by it. If you did feel it was an issue you could always expand your range of hats over the next few cold months and develop your own style craze! With regards self study chose the part of the day you are most alert and break it up into bite size chunks so it's more manageable. Good luck!

  • Thanks for your reply! I never thought about hats. I don't really suit them but think I'l have a good look about for some that suit me then hopefully I will feel less paranoid!! Yes I think breaking things up is a good idea. I work better on an afternoon so think I will try and do stuff then for one or two hours at a time. That way I won't tire myself out too much and will stop me getting stressed by not leaving things until the last minute! Thanks again. Take care xxx

  • Megs_tom, you are an absolute star for coping with this condition and getting to this point with your uni course. I agree with MaggieS you really should make sure the people at uni understand you have health issues. Writing notes can be uncomfortable but this may be helped if you use an ergonmic pen, there are quite a few designs available so you might have to try them out to see what suits you best. My daughter's uni posts lecture notes on their online blackboard system I don't know if your uni has a similar system. Good luck with your final year.

  • Thanks for your reply! Thanks I will have a look for an ergonmic pen, see if that helps :-) yeh my uni puts the lectures notes/powerpoints on the blackboard system, I had totally forgot about that! Think I might start printing them out prior to lectures then I can add little notes to them if I am up to it. Thanks again. Take care xxx

  • Well done for all you are achieving. I am sure things will get better and to have such a good cohort to work with must mean a lot. Good luck!

  • Thanks for your reply and support :-) xxx

  • Totally agree, well done for seeing this through. The fact that you can manage to study for a degree in these circumstances is an anhievement in itself. Great advice above re speaking to someone at uni. Hope the year goes well for you.

  • Thank you for your reply and support :-) xxx

  • Hey You, firstly give yourself a pat on the back for sticking to it! i was at uni when i had my lupus and OMG was it hard as mentioned above you must speak to your health department or your form tutor they have a responsibility to you to make your life easier whilst you are a student at thier uni i had very supprtive lectures when i was unable to go in i was skyped or had lessons on dvd and my frineds helped me alot to. They were able to change my lessons to afternoon/evening ones as i could not get up first thing in the morning due to having stiff joints and swelling first thing. You must tap in to the services that are available to you. I ended up geting bacterial meningitis in my last year so was unable to finish my degree but when i was well enough (about a year later) i hooked up with the OU and carried my study over and cmpleted my degree with them. So dont give up remember you own the diease it does not own you though it certainly feels like that sometimes. take care hun and good luck!

  • Thank you for your reply! My rhuemie did suggest taking a year out but it just wasnt an option, and who's to say I won't be worse next year and never finish it! I am determined to get through this year and I am not going to keep quiet about what is going on this year like I did last year as it was horrendous last year! Thanks again. Take care xxx

  • I got disabled students allowance when I was at Uni and used it for things like a dictaphone recorder to record lectures and even a notetaker occasionally. Go see your university's disability unit and ask for an assessment. They will be very busy at this time of year but don't let that put you off! They may also have equipment like dictaphones and seat rests you can borrow until your assessment, money and equipment is through - Newcastle did.

    It's not about having a diagnosis, it's more social model where it's about your symptoms and what you can and can't do and what causes you pain. The idea is to give you equality with your fellow students by helping balance it out.

    And as Lg1968 says, be the girl who wears hats! It's better than being the girl with lupus...


  • Thanks for your reply. I am at Sunderland uni so they may also do that? Dictophone sounds like a good idea. I know two of my friends on the course are dyslexic and they get support with glasses etc. Might speak to them about how they accessed those services. Thanks again. Take care xxx

  • Thanks so much :-) I've arranged to speak to my studies advisor next week and then I will certainly contact these too :-) thanks again. Take care xxxx

  • Hi megs_tom,

    Hope you can manage all stuff. taking good rest is important. (sometimes it is a bit hard in the Uni) enjoy the last year :)

  • Thank you :-) xxxx

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