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Dear Addy: First Year of College

Dear Addy,

I’m preparing for my first year of college, which also means managing my hemophilia without my parents and local HTC.  How do I make this a smooth transition? Is there anything I need to do before I arrive on campus?

Sincerely,

First Year Jitters

Dear Jitters,

Congratulations on this exciting transition. Similar to the college admissions process, a proactive approach is key.  Do your research on treatment options and resources offered on campus, talk to your hemophilia treatment center (HTC) providers or hematologist and those who have recently been through the experience, ask questions, and organize any paperwork you will need before going to school.

Here’s a to-do list to get you started:

  • As you are shopping for school supplies, get a notebook to document all of your research, including contacts, locations, and action items.
  • Register with your schools Center for Disabilities or Office of Accessibility Services. This office provides students with disabilities support in the classroom and with social activities. People living with bleeding disorders are encouraged to register regardless of whether or not you think you’ll need it.
  • Consider the things you regularly use to manage your disorder. For example, do you need your own refrigerator in your dorm room to store factor? What supplies do you need to infuse and how far in advance do they need to be ordered?
  • Talk to others in the bleeding disorders community about disclosing your bleeding disorder. This is a personal decision and important to think about before going to school. College offers many opportunities for independence, but you do not have to give up the support of others during this transition.
  • Ask your current medical provider about care at school. Make a treatment plan with the help of your HTC staff or hematologist. Contact the nurse on campus or medical center in advance and discuss your plan.

Going to college teaches you valuable lessons beyond academics.  Learning to live independently and self-advocate in college will set you up for a lifetime of success. Good luck and congratulations!

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