Becoming a student can be overwhelming, even more so when you have a condition such as epilepsy. But don’t worry, there are lots of resources out there to support you and there are some actions you can take to ease your transition into further education.
Here are some simple steps you can take when first starting further education to help relieve some of that stress.
Register with a local GP
If you are moving to study, when first arriving at your new home, it is a good idea to register with a local GP as soon as possible.
Normally, there is an opportunity to do this on campus during freshers week. However, if there isn’t, you can contact your student services who will let you know of the practices in your area.
Registering with a GP is quick and simple. They can help you in the future if you need to provide a letter or evidence to access further academic support.
Contact disability services
Every student should receive information about how to contact their disability services at the start of the semester to organise academic support. If not, this information is easy to find on your institution’s website or around campus.
Disability services are a great support system. It is useful to set up a meeting at the start of your studies as they will be able to give you valuable information on academic support and communicating your needs to lecturers and they may also help you with funding and access to counselling.
This service is available to use throughout your studies so even if you do not want to reach out to them initially, they are still there to support you.
Tell others about your epilepsy
Telling other people about your epilepsy can be intimidating, especially when they are strangers.
However, it may not only benefit your physical safety but also provide a great emotional and mental support system while you are a student.
It is up to you how much you disclose to the people in your life. For example, you may only want to share your academic struggles with lecturers but want to tell your flatmates about possible seizure triggers.
Using our student guide and other resources available on the Epilepsy Scotland website are great ways to identify the information you want to share and you can even use these resources as a way to introduce epilepsy to others without having to do much explaining yourself.
If you choose to live away from home during your studies, it is important that your new space is safe for you. As soon as you accept your offer you can contact student residences early to voice your accommodation needs (normally you can put any relevant information on your accommodation application form).
When you arrive, make sure that everything you have requested is there and if not inform them as soon as possible.
Find out what funding is available to you
There are many different sources that could be available to you while you are studying, including Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Disabled Students Allowance (DSA). Disability services should be able to help you understand and obtain these.
Alternatively, Epilepsy Scotland has a number of resources on their website including the student guide, which explains what funding may be available to you.
University is meant to be a good experience, however, everyone finds it stressful at times and this can take a toll both mentally and physically which can impact your epilepsy.
This is why it is good to prepare to alleviate some of that stress. If you ever feel overwhelmed, Epilepsy Scotland has a number of services including a helpline and a wellbeing team who can assist you in several ways.
“You will always find that you’re not the only one struggling with something” – A recent graduate from West Coast College with epilepsy
You should never feel alone during your studies and if you are struggling, please always reach out, be it to friends, family, your epilepsy specialist, or Epilepsy Scotland’s free and confidential helpline.
Call our helpline on 0808 800 2200 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org