Professors, please understand and be patient …
Please understand that if I walk into class a minute late its not because I’m lazy or overslept. My pain today is worse then most days and my usual amount of time was not sufficient enough. It took me longer to button my shirt and brush my teeth today because my hands are so swollen. It took me ten extra minutes to walk to class because my knees, ankles, and hips hurt so badly. I promise I tried to make it on time. I didn’t make my bed or put on makeup today because I knew it would make me late. So please understand the effort I put in just to get here as quickly as I did. Please understand and be patient.
Please understand that when I ask for an extension, access to a keyboard for homework, or a different room to take an exam, I’m not trying to be difficult. It’s just as hard for me to ask for accommodations as it is for you to provide them. I used to be a 4.0 student who could get things done quickly and efficiently. I’m often embarrassed to have disability accommodations in order to do the things I once could do so easily. So please understand that the disability letter helps my body prove what my brain can do. Please don’t make me ask for something that is stated in the letter because you chose to ignore it, it’s embarrassing for me, especially when I have to do it in front of the class. Please understand and be patient.
Friends, please understand and be patient…
Please understand that I want to hang out as often as you do, my body just won’t allow it. I want to go to that party and I want to go to dinner with you guys, but I’m flaring today. Walking to and from class today was all my body could handle. If I push myself to go out, I will suffer for the days to come. Please understand and be patient.
Please understand that texting me at midnight, asking me to go to a party, just doesn’t work. If you want to be with me, please ask me to hang out earlier. This way I can plan for a night out. If no plans are made, I’m going to take advantage of a free night and sleep. My body needs as much rest as it can get. Please understand and be patient.
Please understand that all plans I make are tentative; I don’t know how my body will feel that day and at that time. Believe me, when you asked me on Thursday if I wanted to go to that social on Saturday, I really wanted to. In fact, I still do. My body has just been drained from this past week, and this party just isn’t healthy for me. Please understand and be patient.
Please understand that I still want to be included. I know that after saying “no” so many times, you’ll want to stop inviting me to things. But please continue to do so. You never know when I may be able to say “yes”. Even if I have to say “no” to going out, it makes me feel good knowing that you thought of me and wanted me there. It hurts sometimes to see pictures and snapchats of you guys all hanging out without inviting me. Please understand and be patient.
Me…please understand and be patient
Mom always tells me that it’s okay to be different, but I don’t like being different. I want to be a normal college student. I want to be able to go out any night of the week to a party or to the bar without repercussions for days to come. I want to be able to pull all-night study sessions with friends without being bed bound for the next few days. I want to be able to eat anything in the dining hall without having to think about what is going to make me sick. I want to be able to have a vodka and sprite a party without having to think about how it affects my illness and the medications I take daily.
Mom tells me that I need to accept myself for who I am. It’s hard to do this when who I am, isn’t who I want to be. I don’t want to be the sick college student. I don’t want to be the one sorority sister who won’t be at that party. I don’t’ want it to be so difficult to make friends. I don’t want to feel so alone anymore.
But I’m learning…
I’m slowing learning that there’s really a silver lining to every situation. I’m learning to balance school work, sleep, and my social life all while managing my health. I’ve been complimented on how amazing my time-management and organization has become. I’m beginning to accept that a quiet night in watching T.V. while my friends are out partying is okay. I’m slowly learning that, in the big picture, most of these silly things don’t matter, rather it’s my happiness that matters. I’m slowly learning what really matters in life.
But I think the most important thing I’ve learned is that being sick brings out your true friends. I’ve learned that being sick means you won’t have as many friends, but those few you do have, no matter how close or far, are pure gold, and they accept you for every silly, broken, and beautiful piece of you. They know, expect, and accept the things I have to ask others to understand and forgive me for. So thank you for being you, for loving me for me, and for helping me through the hard, painful, and exhausting college days with your kind and supportive words. I love each of you more then words can express and I’ll always have an extra spoon saved just for you.