Finding Balance: How One Student Manages CF at College

Learn how Rachel Kinney manages her CF while away at college.

Sept. 2, 2015 | 2 min read
Dora Nagy

For many students, going to college can be challenging. The change in environment, a new schedule, classes, homework, extracurricular activities and social life can be difficult to balance. Add in care and treatment time for a chronic disease like cystic fibrosis, and that juggling act becomes even more complex. 

Just ask Rachel Kinney, a rising junior majoring in computer science at Johns Hopkins University. 


One of the most difficult challenges Rachel faces as a college student is navigating her new-found independence. For the first time in her life, she is fully responsible for her own treatments and therapies. 

“Like every other college student, I wake up bright and early, attend classes, study and prepare for tests. Within all that, I need to fit in all of my treatments for cystic fibrosis,” said Rachel, who spends between two and three hours daily completing CF therapies.  “It's so easy to say I'll do it later, or I'll do it in the morning, or I'll double up down the line.”

Rachel knows skipping treatments can lead to serious health problems and hospitalizations, so to help her stay on top of her game, she surrounds herself with friends, professors and dorm mates who all have her best interests in mind.


“All my friends know I have CF. There's no hiding anything from them, and they are so supportive,” Rachel said. “Having that support is absolutely crucial, especially in college.”

In addition to a strong support system made up of her peers and professors, Rachel also plans on registering with her school's Office of Student Disability Services. The program helps ensure a fair learning environment where students with health challenges like CF get the accommodations they need to have a positive educational experience.

Hear more about Rachel and how she manages CF in college by watching the video below. 

This site contains general information about cystic fibrosis, as well as personal insight from the CF community. Opinions and experiences shared by members of our community, including but not limited to people with CF and their families, belong solely to the blog post author and do not represent those of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, unless explicitly stated. In addition, the site is not intended as a substitute for treatment advice from a medical professional. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your treatment.

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Dora previously worked at the Foundation as a writer and editor. During her tenure, she loved to listen to others share their memories and experiences, and consumed storytelling in all of its different forms. She constantly looks for the uniqueness in everyone's story. Dora has a B.A. in communications from the University of Maryland, College Park, and an M.S. in public policy and administration from the London School of Economics. Born in Budapest, Hungary, Dora was raised mainly in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area where she currently resides today.

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