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Chronic migraines and college

Chronic migraines and school are two of the things that are a struggle to combine. I am about a month into college and I am already having a hard time keeping up and attending every class. Going into college I knew it would be a challenge but I never knew how much of one. I have already had to drop a class to lessen my work load. I have missed multiple classes a week because I am not able to leave my dark room.

Living at school had to have been the best decision because of the closeness. If I had to drive to class every day I wouldn’t have made it, driving with a migraine is not something that is possible. The dorms are luckily apartment style so I have my own room that I can hide out in when I get bad. Telling people is one of the hardest things here. You don’t know anyone and you can’t always trust someone with this type of information. Some people will judge or think it is not a big deal. I have been lucky to have found friends and roommates that have been able to support me.

Going on day to day isn’t easy, trying to make it to every class each week, along with keeping up with homework, is the biggest challenge for me right now.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Migraine.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • RachelM
    3 years ago

    I have chronic daily migraine and more recently two significant nerve entrapments. I did undergrad, honours and I’m doing a PhD part time whilst I work full time.
    My advice is, something has to give. I figure we all have the capacity to manage two big things in life. It might be work and a family, study and a job. I think migraine accounts for at least half of one big thing or one whole big thing. Create balance. Cut down on travel (which you’ve done), reduce you social circle (yeah that sucks heaps), buy feeezer meals instead of cooking … basically trim the stuff of the edges. And buckle down cause it’s gunna be one of the hardest things you’ll ever do, but it’s ok that it’s hard, you can do it and you will achieve in your life the things you want for yourself you’ll just have to do it a little different to a lot of other people. But you’ll get way more satisfaction from it.
    My final word would be, don’t live like a sick person. It’s mostly psychological and does very little for your quality of life and health (if anything it can make it worse). Use your body and use your mind, push yourself through that physical pain. You’ll get better and better at it the more you do it. If you don’t know how, copy other people or fake it till you make it. Chances are you’ll find that you can do more than you think you can.

  • Brooke H moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi RachelM,

    Thank you for taking the time to share what you’ve learned to help you achieve while living with chronic migraine. I appreciate what you write about focusing on what’s most important and trying to minimize additional stressors. We thank you for your words of support. Please come here anytime!

    Best,
    Brooke (Migraine.com team)

  • katbriboe
    3 years ago

    I totally understand the stress and challenges you’re facing, because even with the differences I’m sure exist in our symptoms, I’m in my fourth of five years of undergrad and this resonates with me.

    I cannot stress enough how much registering with my school’s disability office has helped me. I was able to receive accommodations that covered straight up absences, mini self-care sessions in the middle of classes, the ability to avoid triggers (chem lab is the WORST), and most importantly for me – the ability to reschedule an exam if I had to miss that day unexpectedly. It’s a stupidly long process (it was for me), but it was so worth it in the end.

  • Joanna Bodner moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi katbriboe,
    You have shared very important advice and thank you for taking the time to do about going to the school’s disability office. I am sure it must have been a difficult and tiresome process, but great job taking the steps to do so. I hope it continues to relive some of the stress.

    Thanks again for the comment & wishing you all the best with the remainder of your schooling.
    Take care, Joanna (Migraine.com Team)

  • Holly G.
    3 years ago

    Pursuing a degree with chronic migraine is indeed insanely difficult but you CAN get through it! I’m in the final semester of my masters despite daily migraines for the past year (& chronic migraines since I was in undergrad). There have been many tears, a lot of missed classes, late submissions, make up exams and my social life is slim to none but know that it is possible to get through it all 🙂 If you haven’t already, I highly recommend registering your migraines through the office of disability – having that letter plus a convo with profs at the beginning of the semester has been a huge help. You’ve got this!

  • Brooke H moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi Holly G.

    Thank you so much for offering the words of encouragement and sharing some of your own experience. You offer a lot of great tips! I hope you’re taking the time to be proud of yourself for all the hard work you’ve put in. That’s incredible and not easy when dealing with chronic migraine. Please come here anytime for support as you may need it!

    Best,
    Brooke (Migraine.com team)

  • DonnaFA moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi haleynicole1205! Thanks for sharing your story! Adjusting to college is a huge challenge in the best of circumstances. I’m sorry you’re having a hard time, but it sounds like you’re finding a way to make it work for you.

    Please know that you’re not alone and that we’re always here to share information and support. Sending good wishes that it feel more like home soon. -All Best, Donna (Migraine.com team)

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