Being a Student with Fibromyalgia
I write this post as a new school semester draws near for many people. Getting a diploma is challenging for anyone, but for some with fibromyalgia it can seem nearly impossible. I’m here to tell you it certainly possible! I’m living proof that someone with fibromyalgia can go to a university and get a degree.
One of the first things I suggest a student to do is to create a plan for pain. Get to know your overall school policies on short and extended sick periods, attendance, missed finals, etc… Know who you need to call for excuse letters or if you need to be seen be a doctor. Also get to know your school disability resources and figure out how they can help you. Many times your school will provide you with a letter to give your teachers proving you have disability accommodations.
At the beginning of the semester go talk to each of your teachers one on one. This will allow you to create a plan for if you miss a class, quiz or test or need to turn in an assignment late. I learned the hard way that it is important to have this plan in place before one of those events happens. If you are comfortable disclosing the medical conditions you have, I would suggest explaining what your difficulties are and how they effect you as a student. Personally, I feel as this helps the teacher understand what is going on better, which may lead to a better-fitting plan for you. Many teachers have different policies, thus you may end up with a different plan for each class you are enrolled in. Remember to write your plan down, as you don’t want to be in pain trying to remember which plan you are to follow for the class in question that day. Make sure your plan is in your complete best interest and covers any extra credit points for attendance and assures you won’t be given a penalty for missing a pop-quiz. Also be sure to cover the extra amount of days in which you are allowed to take a test after it has been originally given and where and how that test will be administered.
Fatigue and pain can make it very difficult to be involved in extra curricular activities while being a full-time student. If you don’t mind staying in school an extra semester, consider applying for approval to be a part-time student your last year of college. This can allow you to have more energy and time to be involved in school clubs and fundraisers. To me, this is an important part of college life that everyone should get a chance to be a part of.
What are your tips for students?