Balancing My IBD & School - A Teen's Perspective

Hey y’all! I am Carley Keller and I am the Vice President of the Crohn’s and Colitis Carolinas Chapter Junior Board, and  I am a senior in high-school. Today I am going to be talking about how I manage my IBD and school! I have ulcerative colitis and was diagnosed in May of 2017.

I think we can all agree that the process of getting diagnosed is extremely scary. This is just a reminder that everyone's experience is different and we don’t all endure the same things. When I was first diagnosed I was missing a lot of school because I didn’t have the energy to sit through an eight hour school day. This ended in me slowly falling behind but I never let it get too far. I made sure to stay on top of my work and communicate with my teachers.

The best way to make your IBD journey and school smooth is to COMMUNICATE! Teachers are there to help you and want you to succeed. If you simply tell them your situation, nine times out of ten, they will accommodate what you need. Whether that is unlimited bathroom breaks or an extension on homework. I was really lucky to have amazing teachers that allowed me to do whatever I needed. Having a good support system will help alleviate some of the stress. If you struggle to talk to your teachers about your needs I would suggest talking to your doctor and counselor about 504 plan options. A 504 plan can help ensure you’re receiving the accommodations right for you!

I personally am in the process of applying to colleges and it made me nervous and scared to see if my accommodations would transfer. To apply for accommodations in college is a little different, you have to go through a disability office (usually). Researching your college and consulting with your doctor is the best way possible to do this successfully. You can do it and don’t be afraid to ask questions or for help!!!

Being open and honest about my disease is something that helped me tremendously. I know that can be scary and hard but opening up about my ulcerative colitis allowed me to find friends and family that I didn’t know I suffered from IBD. You never know how your story can help someone else! You’re always making a difference in the world! Never forget that.

Carley Keller