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Hello, I am a college student in a challenging STEM school. I love this school and the classes I take, but I have a hard time with energy levels. I recently found out I had very low ferritin levels, and am finally on pills for that and will probably get an infusion. I’m hoping energy gets better then, however, I got sick just yesterday, I was already behind in processing content in class and suddenly I am even more behind because having a cold knocks me out. I get such bad brain fog and sensory issues when I am sick and I absolutely cannot do much. I feel like I’m failing as a college student, I don’t seem to be able to do enough to do well in my classes and made it through 1 semester just scraping by. It is my passion, and I know I belong at the school, but by 8:00 pm I cannot do schoolwork or I burn out, but I watch my friends and roommate able to go til 9:30 pm!! I know I’m nuerodivergent and just work differently, but clearly the school environment isn’t built super for me. I have accomodations and submitted a new letter from my doctor on my official EDS diagnosis, and haven’t heard back yet, which is odd but I sent the documentation a month ago so I may need to follow up. I’ve thought about part time, but then opportunities just aren’t there for you when you’re a part time student, internships and scholarships have such high expectations of a student. So I just want advice on how everyone handles this kind of workload and is disabled? I feel quite isolated at the moment, not sure of what I can do, I don’t really have friends who can relate to this kind of exhaustion and burn out.

    • deer_by_the_water


      hey there! I TOTALLY get this!! I’m a STEM college student too, and low energy levels are definitely something I face very often and can get in the way of schoolwork or studying. I cannot get myself to work after 8 pm either, and usually stop working as soon as the sun goes down. if I can get myself up early that’s personally helpful for me. To make things a bit more manageable, I put every single one of my assignments in my calendar so I don’t get caught off guard. I also just break down what I have to do into small pieces so I’m not overwhelmed. One day at a time, one task at a time. don’t worry about the paper due tomorrow if you have a worksheet due tonight type of thing. When I constantly worry about everything else I have to do soon, I can’t work on what’s right in front of me. Really just take it one day at a time and don’t be so hard on yourself. Understand that everyone is different and just cuz your friends are working late doesn’t mean you have to or should be. If you’re too tired, your work won’t be satisfactory anyway! rest up and do more tomorrow, cuz that’s ultimately better in most cases. sorry if this was a lot to work through but know you are NOT ALONE, I know very well what you’re going through! just do your best, cuz that’s all you really can do :)

☝ This content is generated by our users and it is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision

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Some strategies that have helped others include using an academic journal to write down all assignments and their due dates, setting reminders in your phone to check the journal, making colorful to-do lists, having a whiteboard calendar in the room for visual aid, and using the pomodoro technique for studying or completing school work. This technique sets a specific time for work and a time for a break in between so you aren't burning yourself out with assignments or study sessions. Some students also find it helpful to pace themselves and not push too hard. Others have found success with part-time hours to spread out the workload and get more rest, or getting academic accommodations from their school for extra time on assignments. It's also recommended to listen to your body, take breaks, and do things that make you feel good. Breaking your work up into chunks can make it feel more manageable and less overwhelming.

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