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On Campus With a Rare Disease

For students who manage a chronic condition, COVID-19 isn’t the only back-to-school concern. Get three tips for staying healthy at college.

fall campus scene with students walking under trees

College student – and hemophilia patient – Michael Joshua knows what it’s like to adjust to university life while also managing a serious condition. Here’s how Joshua – and his mom – approached this milestone moment.

  1. Bring up your health condition early in the process. It’s never too soon to discuss your condition with the college you’re considering – even if you’re in the application stage. Let the school know what you’ll need to manage your condition, which could include accommodations in housing. Ask questions about how you’ll get medical care if you need it.
  2. Look to your doctor. Your at-home doctor is an important resource as you learn how to manage your condition while at college. Also at this time, you might be transitioning from the pediatrician to a physician who cares for adults.
  3. Get ready for the hand-off. When patients are college-age, they’re also aging out of the pediatrician’s office and – hopefully – taking increasing responsibility for managing their health condition. Shonda Joshua, Michael’s mother, recommends gathering all the necessary information to prepare your young adult to take over. Parents can remain a source of support, but let your child take the lead, establish their own dialogue with the doctor and make medical decisions independently.