Navigating College with Bipolar Disorder

By: Jake

Being enrolled in college while having bipolar disorder can be a tough task. College is an exciting time for many, as it marks the beginning of a new chapter of life. However, when dealing with a mental illness this time period can be very stressful. The good news is a healthy, thriving, college life is achievable!

I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in the middle of my college education, forcing me to take an extended period of time away from school. Returning brought its challenges but, with the right mindset and practices, I began to settle in and see great results.

One key thing that helped me was being transparent with my family and friends about my illness. Although this is not directly related to school, it’s important that those close to you know about your condition so they can be understanding and provide support when needed. Another thing is to remind yourself that your mental health is a priority, if you need to take a break that is perfectly okay.

As for tips directly related to school, one of the first things that I did was contact my universities Student Ability Success Center. Other schools may have different names for their similar programs so it is best to consult with your counselor if you are unsure about where to reach out to. I informed the Student Ability Success Center about my condition and they made sure I had the proper accommodations in all my classes. In my scenario these accommodations were extended due dates if I was having a manic or depressive episode, or even just not in the right headspace. To make sure there are no issues with your accommodations make sure to communicate with your professor.

Staying organized is also important to success. With several classes, assignments coming in, and tests coming up, it can be easy to become overwhelmed. What works best for me is having a calendar with all the information I need for my classes and having set times to do my school work.

Also, keep up with general mental health routines such as staying hydrated, getting enough sleep, eating healthy, and exercising! If that is too much for you currently, thats all right as well. Don’t overextend yourself, this is just what works for me.



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