Jump to content


Photo

Seeking Higher Education


  • Please log in to reply
6 replies to this topic

#1 drago

drago

    Member

  • Members
  • 226 posts

Posted 01 January 2009 - 03:05 PM

Hi There:
So I graduated college May 2008. I took a year off and did an internship to ensure I wanted to pursue Theatre as a career. (I had also majored in computer science.)

Around November, I found out I had Narcolepsy. I had had sleep paralysis episodes since I was 3, and when I found out what they were changed my habits so I could sleep better - and now, I'm stuck with this whole new thing.

The trouble is, I'm interested in Directing, which is easier to break into with an MFA program. I've heard the first year of narcolepsy can be rough - but also that there can be a decline in productivity over the first ten years or so. I'm not sure if this is true.

However, I am concerned about MFA programs. I don't mind working long hours in the theatre - that doesn't seem to be a problem (10-11+ hours). BUT, if I need to work long hours in the theatre, the classroom, THEN read and do homework? I'm not sure. I am also concerned that if I wait too long, my abilities will decline with the rise of resistance to my meds.

Does anyone have any advice on this?

Thanks,
drago

#2 dogdreams

dogdreams

    Member

  • Members
  • 494 posts
  • Location:Portland, OR
  • Interests:Gaming, science, Halloween, music (am I being too generic??)

Posted 01 January 2009 - 10:08 PM

Well, everyone will have a different take on this, but here's mine: Do what you love and don't let N get in the way of achieving your goals. Yeah yeah, I know, easier said than done. But in my life, I've found that if I'm pursuing a goal I'm really driven toward, I'm able to overcome a lot of my N in the process.

My N got really bad in my 4th year of college. I didn't get a diagnosis until after I'd dropped out. Once I got medication, I took the opportunity to switch from Commercial Music at the university to a new Recording Arts program at the community college. But after 1 semester I was offered a job working in science totally out of the blue, and I decided that's what I'd do for awhile. It was amazing. I was really interested and working 80 hour weeks. Yeah I was exhausted but I didn't really mind it at all because life was really exciting. I never thought I was very good at science, but suddenly I was learning neuroanatomy within a few days. I realized I could do pretty much anything if I really wanted to. It was very inspiring.

So after a couple of years there I decided to finish that Bachelor's degree, this time in Biology/Neuroscience. Boy was it tough. I was suddenly poor, without health insurance, and to top it all off, right in the middle of "college 2.0" I had a baby. Took him to class with me because I couldn't afford daycare. But during that time I found a way to manage my symptoms without medication, so on I went. I did graduate after 3 years at the new school. (12 years after I started!) That was in 2006 and man was it the happiest day of my life. I started applying to graduate programs right away, but didn't get in. I got in the 75th percentile on the Biology GRE but it wasn't enough. I tried for 2 years to get into grad school, but I only had a B average because of having N and a baby in college (all while working part-time!), and finally had to give up and try to just find a job in my field. I did, after a LOT of applications and interviews, but it involved moving.

So, here I am, still trying to improve my life with N, slowly working on my career, and hoping that if I do enough work now that maybe I'll finally be accepted one day to grad school to get my PhD and do my own research. It's been a real struggle but I love what I do and I believe the sacrifice has been worth it. (I've already picked out my Mad Scientist name for when I do get that PhD....bwahahaha!)

Only you know what your limitations are, so you'll have to be your own judge. But if you're going to have to work your pants off at something anyway, shouldn't it be something you love? There are a lot of helpful, understanding people in this world, despite the jerks, and I've gotten a lot of support along the way from people when I really needed it. And it if doesn't work out, at least you know you tried. Better than living a life of regret wondering "what if?" isn't it?

Whatever you decide, I wish you the best, and keep us updated. smile.gif

#3 loki

loki

    Member

  • Members
  • 99 posts

Posted 03 January 2009 - 03:50 PM

QUOTE (drago @ Jan 1 2009, 03:05 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Does anyone have any advice on this?


Just from my own perspective, take what you think you can do and then cut it in half. I've realized at this point in my life that no matter how motivated I am I just cannot handle life like most people can. It never hurts to try and see what your limits are, though.

#4 drago

drago

    Member

  • Members
  • 226 posts

Posted 04 January 2009 - 01:24 PM

QUOTE (max @ Jan 3 2009, 08:50 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Just from my own perspective, take what you think you can do and then cut it in half. I've realized at this point in my life that no matter how motivated I am I just cannot handle life like most people can. It never hurts to try and see what your limits are, though.


Thanks, both, for the feedback!

I'm presently considering a program, but I have been advised to check in with their disabilities coordinator and facilities to see if they are narcolepsy-friendly (or at least liveable). Any advice on this?

Thanks,
drago

#5 dogdreams

dogdreams

    Member

  • Members
  • 494 posts
  • Location:Portland, OR
  • Interests:Gaming, science, Halloween, music (am I being too generic??)

Posted 04 January 2009 - 04:04 PM

No advice other than to be prepared to tell them specifically what you need to accommodate your N, like a place to nap, etc. They're not going to know exactly what you need since N isn't as common and well understood.

I haven't dealt with the disabilities coordinator at any school because at the time I didn't know what to ask for, but I did have to ask for special accommodations when I brought my infant to school with me. They had special nursing rooms for moms (with couches for napping...haha) and all of my teachers were really understanding about me needing a separate space to take finals so my son didn't disturb anyone. (of course, he was really quiet and always slept through the tests, but I didn't want to take the chance of screwing up someone else's grade.) I know that's a much more concrete thing to be understanding of. N can be trickier but if you're clear and polite, you might be successful. That's why I think making a list of needs ahead of time will help. And find out if they need any info from your doctor to back up your claims. Another good idea is to find out what recourse is available through the disabilities office in the event you get some egotistical jerk of a professor that won't work with your needs (like rescheduling tests, extending deadlines, and any note-taking problems, etc.) I've had some N friends that have encountered this in the past.

Good luck!

#6 loki

loki

    Member

  • Members
  • 99 posts

Posted 06 January 2009 - 01:35 PM

QUOTE (drago @ Jan 4 2009, 01:24 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Thanks, both, for the feedback!

I'm presently considering a program, but I have been advised to check in with their disabilities coordinator and facilities to see if they are narcolepsy-friendly (or at least liveable). Any advice on this?

Thanks,
drago


I have only asked for assistance at school once. I asked for a separate/quiet space to take exams and untimed exams. Everyone was pretty good about it, but I ended up feeling really weird so I gave it up.

#7 angellus

angellus

    Member

  • Members
  • 174 posts
  • Location:Atlanta, GA
  • Interests:Feeling well.

Posted 06 January 2009 - 06:49 PM

Just try it.. if it doesn't work.. then try something else.. if you dont..will you regret not trying to pursue what you want?