By K W Warburton, The Reluctant Spoonie

Starting University can be a daunting task for anyone; add a chronic illness to the mix and you may think that it’s impossible. Whether you’re starting University for the first time or you’re returning after a long break (like me), here are a few things that you can do to make the start of the year a bit easier.

1. Register with your university’s disability support (even if you think that you’re not going to need it.)

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You can usually apply for disability support as soon as you get your offer. You will need to supply medical evidence, usually, a letter from your doctor explaining your illness which you usually have to pay for (boo!).  Once accepted, you will have a meeting with your advisor to set up your learning support plan which will be sent to your tutors/ academic staff at the start of the year. Your disability advisor can also arrange for things like extra time in exams and alternative assessment options. I would recommend meeting with your advisor over the summer so that you’re all set for the start of the school year.

2. Set up your planner ahead of time

Make a year overview spread in your planner so that you can write down all your deadlines and medical appointments. You could even add separate pages for each module that you’re studying. Check out YouTube videos on Caitlin’s Corner or Studyquill for inspiration.

3. Get your finances in order

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Apply for any loans/ bursaries/ scholarships that you’re entitled to well ahead of time. Plan your budget at the start of the year so you know ahead of time if your student loan doesn’t cover all your expenses. Money can be a great source of stress when you can’t work due to your illness. Ask your family for support if you need it.

How do you plan for the new school year as a Spoonie?

Study like me with my adapted pomodoro timer for chronic illness
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