5 Things Every College Freshman With CF Must Do

Growing up, I never had any doubts that I would one day go off to college and pursue a career, despite having cystic fibrosis. But when the time came to prepare to attend Marquette University and live on my own in Milwaukee, I knew I would need a plan in order to make my transition to college life as smooth as possible.

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Colleen Black
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The summer before my freshman year began at Marquette University, I established that the cystic fibrosis center at Froedtert would handle my care and worked with Marquette to find a dorm room that would best fit my needs (I decided on a single room with a private bathroom, so that I could manage my equipment and meds).    

With the right preparations, successfully balancing CF and college life is entirely possible; and if you ask me, it's an experience of a lifetime that shouldn't be missed! 

If you're headed off to college this fall, here are some of the most important things you can do to prepare:

  1. Establish your care. Get acquainted with the CF care team closest to your campus so that you have local doctors to call for help with CF-related questions, appointments or emergencies.
  2. Contact your university residence office. Work with your university to make sure you get assigned to a dorm room that best fits your needs.
  3. Create a routine that works for you. Schedule your classes and work shifts accordingly so that you have plenty of time in the morning and evening to fit in your full treatment regimen. There's no reason to skip a treatment if you create a well thought out daily schedule!
  4. Don't push yourself. Prioritize your health over all other college commitments. With so many clubs and social outings to get involved with, sometimes it's hard not to overcommit. The most important thing to remember is to allow plenty of time for resting.
  5. But also … don't limit yourself. If I had to pick the most important lessons I've learned while living away at college, it would be that I'm stronger than I thought I was and CF doesn't have to define my life.  
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Enjoy these incredible four years and live your life to the fullest. You'll become an expert at balancing health and college life in no time!

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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Teen Care | School
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Colleen was diagnosed with CF at birth in 1994. Currently a Milwaukee resident, Colleen recently received her BA degree from Marquette University and is ready to start a career in video production. In her free time, Colleen enjoys filmmaking, writing, exercising, indulging her sweet tooth and volunteering with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

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