College is hard. Not just the school work, the tests, the essays or research papers. Not just balancing a social life, sleep, and maintaining a good GPA. But all of it, from organizations, GPA, social issues, peer pressure, somewhat learning how to be an independent adult, finding yourself, and making important life decisions.
It's a crucial part of our lives for those of us that choose this particular path, and it's not easy. But when you happen to get a chronic health condition thrown your way on top of the usual college, or just life, stress, things gets harder.
Professors don't always want to work with you when you miss an exam for a doctor's appointment since it's the third time it has happened that semester, even if you can't help it because your specialist is only available on certain days.
It's not always easy to understand material when you miss a lecture (I don't understand how some people skip).
Club leaders aren't always sympathetic when you can't make an event because you're having an episode and can't make it out of the bed.
Not everyone is going to understand, or even try to.
Your new friends might not understand why you're just really down some days. They might not get why you can't drink with them because you're not supposed to drink with the new medicine your doctor prescribed you. They might not get why you don't always act like the rest of them.
It is okay though if they don't understand or if they aren't sympathetic. What they don't see is that because we are dealing with everything they deal with, plus a health problem that sometimes tries to take over our lives. We are some of the strongest people they will ever meet. We can handle just about anything, because we pretty much already do. We might not act like the normal college kid, but that's because we aren't.
And the most impressive thing is that regardless of everything, we don't let it stop us. We join that sorority or fraternity, become a member of that club, go to that formal or football game, and we try our very best to have an absolutely normal college experience. We schedule our surgeries around tests, we take our medicine in our bag so we can take it on the go, we try to manage the pain on our bad days, and we push through.
In the end, we know we won't ever truly get sympathy or a break from the people in this world, and we don't need it. We know there is a reason for it all, and we will come out stronger in the end.
So for those of you fighting through college, a job, or even life with a chronic disorder, disease, condition: push through. Prove that you are strong and that your health won't hold you back.
Prove that you can do it because you can.