Being a Student With Epilepsy
Last updated: July 2022
It's not easy to be a student while living with a chronic illness. I am going to write about being a successful student while facing 2 different illnesses: dystonia and epilepsy. I live with both.
Just being sick is already a full-time job, simply to look after myself. Can you imagine being a good student on top of that? As a student, you get expectations from teachers and family to be the best you can be, especially if you are a young adult like me. But I am stuck between two worlds: being healthy and being ill.
When I am at home, I often do not feel well and have to take care of myself, getting help from my parents and my medication. Then there is school, where teachers expect me to work hard, get good grades, and make the most out of my school years.
Memory and learning problems with epilepsy
I know that it has been hard for me to learn things because I have memory problems from epilepsy. It's difficult to remember my lessons sometimes and I might be slower to learn them. I even forget things as simple as taking my medication. (Thanks to my mum for always reminding me!)
I get it, you're epileptic and find yourself slipping in some classes. But don't worry, I have been there, too. You need to stay motivated and reach all your goals! Here are some tips I've used to help me manage school while having epilepsy.
My tips for being a student with epilepsy
- Write down a timetable or a study plan of when you want to study certain topics, depending on your daily schedule. Pick your favorite and hardest subject and dedicate more time to it. Set a deadline to master it.
- Take breaks every now and then. Choose to relax sometimes. Take a walk, play with your cat, or do something that makes you feel calm. I promise it's not unhealthy! Instead, it will actually help you focus better for longer periods of time.
- Try to stick Post-Its with words that you need to remember in places where you will see them every day (for example, your bathroom mirror). And start using flashcards! Flashcards are a helpful way to remember everything you need to know. Use one side for the question (a word or fact) and the other for the answer (definition or an explanation). With flashcards, they can organize by subject and help you remember more of what they learned.
- Go ahead and ask questions! Asking questions allows you to gather important information. There is no such thing as a stupid question! There’s nothing wrong with asking questions. It’s better to ask a million questions, learn about the world, and truly grasp an idea than it is to be silent and clueless. The best way to learn is to ask questions in class. You may need to prepare questions ahead of time when you receive your homework assignments as well.
It's hard to not feel foggy after seizures
The most important element to have while being a student is motivation. Motivation to read, to do the homework, and to keep correcting any errors that were done in past exams or assignments. Without motivation, it's hard to even open a book.
After my seizures, I usually feel very confused and have low confidence. To help, I'll take a walk in nature to feel like myself again and have the motivation to do schoolwork. If you feel unmotivated about studying for your exam, consider going for a walk to clear your mind and gain some inspiration. This is something that always helps me get things done.
To me, being a student with epilepsy is not easy. But it's also not impossible. Being a good student and learning how to manage the difficulties of epilepsy can be easier by organizing yourself and trying to stay motivated. How have you managed school with epilepsy? Share in the comments below!
Have you had neurosurgery for your epilepsy?
Join the conversation