The Bare Necessities: Managing Stress In College
Throughout my life, I have always loved school. For some reason, I have loved everything about it, from learning new things to being challenged to growing myself and meeting inspiring people. I have loved learning about who I can be, what topics interest me and the ones that don’t, the ones I’m great at, and the ones I have to work at.
In college, I soon found my interest in the sciences, where I grew from a novice learner to a full-blown scientist. I learned to read about, write about, and conduct scientific research and found myself a published scientist by my senior year in college. It was a crazy transformation. One that I definitely didn’t foresee when I first discovered my love for biology during my freshman year.
Stress induced eczema
However, with this incredible transformation came a ton of trial and error, learning how to be successful in college, how to study, manage my time, and most importantly how to manage my atopic dermatitis amidst all the stress that came with college. Here are some of the bare necessities that I found that helped me stay healthy amidst the stressors of college life.
Recognizing eczema triggers
Before I reached my first day of college, I knew that stress was a factor that would cause a flare-up of my condition. I remember before exams or the AP tests in high school, I would always have a mini flare-up, causing lots of rashes and itching.
Managing eczema flare-ups
In college, I learned to be aware of my triggers. When a flare started, I would start using lotions and taking baths with things that soothed my skin. I would cut out gluten and dairy products to get myself healthier, a method that would often restore my condition and stop the flare. I realized that not only feeling healthier but without the worry of a flare-up, I was able to focus more on my studies. I was able to get my work done and not have to worry that a flare-up would distract me from being successful.
Checking in with health care providers
I was also very diligent about going to see my care provider for check-ins, as well as reaching out when I was having a particularly rough patch with my eczema.
Bad eczema flare-up
I used a health portal to communicate with the nurse to determine if I needed to come in or what could be done with my current problems, so I could devote more time to studying and less time to going to unneeded doctor visits or dealing with a bad flare-up. I would check in with them once a month, sometimes more depending on how I was feeling, which I think not only kept me accountable, but allowed me to stay on top of how I was feeling and recognizing when something wasn’t right from the start, so I could manage a smaller flare rather than a bigger one.
Opening up To professors
In terms of school, I learned that office hours were a gift. You could go to talk with a professor about the issues you are having in class, as well as the ones you might be experiencing outside of class. I never had to tell the professor about my condition or what I was going through, but for me, it was helpful to let the professor know that I have a condition that is triggered by my stress, so they could work with me to determine how they could help me be successful in the class. Being open and honest with professors was huge for me because they were incredibly understanding when I had to miss class for an appointment or if I was feeling bad. It released a lot of the stress that comes with college, which in turn, helped my eczema stay under control.
Seeking support from the university
After my freshman year, I learned that universities have specific resources for students that have medical conditions. They will accommodate you depending on your needs. I was able to get accommodations for absences, allowing me to have 1-2 disability-related absences per quarter on top of the amount allowed for any particular class. This was so helpful in relieving my stress because I no longer had to explain what was going on or justify why I was missing class. I didn’t have to feel stressed, because professors were required to honor this policy.
Overall, seeking support and recognizing my triggers helped me out a lot in college, not only allowing me to be successful but learn despite flare-ups in my condition. These few suggestions are just the basic necessities that I always use to manage my stress.
Does schoolwork cause you stress or trigger a flare-up of your atopic dermatitis? How do you manage it?
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