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:
- 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.
- Contact your university residence office. Work with your university to make sure you get assigned to a dorm room that best fits your needs.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
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!