Aug. 13, 2018

Sharing the Journey: Back to School

The Sharing the Journey series is by people like you and for you. In their own words, we highlight the perspectives and personal experiences of people who struggle with lupus each day.

This month, we asked Sharing the Journey participants the following question:

How do you prepare or how do you help your children prepare for going back to school while dealing with lupus?

I prepare to return to school by taking the week before to do nothing but relax, rejuvenate, and get back into a set schedule. I tend to pack my summers with summer classes, internships, volunteer work, visiting friends and family, and taking trips. So taking that week before returning to school allows my body to recharge. I also make sure that everything I need for classes is organized and ready to go. I’m the world’s worst “rester,” so getting ready to go back to school means, for me, it’s time to get serious about a week of rest. – Kayla

I haven't had kids at home for decades now so it hasn't been an issue for me in years. If it were, I would make sure to get plenty of rest for myself and likely have lunches made the night before and hopefully homework done as well. – Betsy

When I was in school, up until a few years ago, I used to try and have everything together well in advance so that I wasn't getting too stressed. I tried to get my books and materials as soon as they were available. Thankfully, I wasn’t moving in and out of a dorm when I got sick, so I didn't have to worry about that. Now that I work full time, I don't have that same anticipation of the school year starting. In some ways, that's a relief, but in other ways, I really miss it. – Leslie

I have two elementary age children and I have to say that I am always excited for back to school. For me, this means more time to rest. If I am off of work and they are in school, then I get a nap, which we all know can make us feel so much better and able to finish out the day! I keep two calendars, a big monthly one with all our activities and a weekly whiteboard one. This way everyone knows where we are going and what we are doing. Organization is the key to a busy school year.Roxi

I'm currently preparing myself to enroll in classes starting in September with an online extension school. Preparing to continue my classes is a challenge and difficult. With lupus, it is mentally draining. I was taking a couple of classes this summer, and the days I would have flares it was impossible to get up and out of the bed to do my class assignments. Many days, I had to regroup because the pain was horrific for me. My suggestion for anyone living with lupus and preparing to go back to school is that first and foremost know your body. It is also an asset to know your limits. For many with lupus it means medications and lots of rest. Also, it is important to know that every day may be different because our bodies are unpredictable with this disease. Don't push yourself or overdo it. On the other side, I also feel that when parents are there for a child emotionally, going back to school becomes less burdensome for the parent and child. – Sylvia

I currently go to college full time at Grand Canyon University, as well as working full time at a hospital. Since I am graduating two years early from GCU, I have summer classes, so basically I had classes all year long. I would say at times it is stressful, but in the end, I try to not overwork myself, considering that I could flare up due to putting too much on myself. I try to do meditation techniques if it gets to be too much. I have always set my mind to achieve good grades and graduate early with over a 3.9 GPA. School is very important to me. I always aim high for anything I want. – Kyra

Preparing for a new school year

If you’re a student with lupus – or a parent of one – getting ready for a new school year can be extra challenging. Parents, you probably know it’s important to be organized so that when the first school day comes, no one panics! Keeping a calendar with activities and assignment deadlines can help a lot.

If you’re a student with lupus, part of your preparation may involve resting – taking a breather before life gets hectic. It’s also important to know how to manage your health at school. This means being mindful of your symptoms, making smart decisions, and knowing your limits. You may also have questions about how to talk to classmates and teachers about your lupus.

We have guides specifically for parents, kids, and teens that are loaded with tips. And if you’re in high school and want to know what to tell your friends about lupus, we’ve got you covered.