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Summer鈥檚 wrapping up, and many young adults, like you, are preparing to return to their college campus, or to step foot on campus for the first time. If the thought of going back to school fills you with dread, you鈥檙e not alone. It鈥檚 normal to feel stressed or lonely sometimes, especially as you transition away from home for the first time – adding a bleeding disorder on top of that can make college seem even more daunting.

HFA has put together a back-to-school checklist for you to assist with the transition into a high-learning facility.

Back to College Checklist

Tip number one, have a game plan.

Create an emergency care plan before you step foot on campus and find yourself in need of it. Simple things like keeping your emergency contact numbers up-to-date can make a big difference if you get injured or have a bleed at school. Your emergency care plan should include the following:

  • Name and location of the nearest hospital and HTC and directions on how to get there
  • Contact information for your doctor, including their name, address and phone number
  • Emergency contact names and phone numbers
  • A copy of your insurance card, as well as information on what your insurance plan covers
  • Information about all current medications you take

Emergency care plans can be physical documents, or they can be saved digitally on your cell phone or personal computer. Whichever type of emergency plan you choose to create, be sure that you always have a copy of it with you as you travel about campus. In case of an emergency, having this information saved in a readily accessible location will assist those that come to your aid.

Tip number 2, maintain a support system

It is so important to remember that you are not alone when you start this new chapter in your life. Loneliness is a legitimate feeling, even if you are surrounded by hundreds (or thousands) of people. When you factor in your bleeding disorder it can be downright overwhelming. First, remember that your hometown HTC will continue to be a resource for you if you have questions or concerns. Your HTC will also be able to provide you with information about the HTC closest to your college campus, in the event they are not it. Secondly, make it a priority to visit the clinic on campus and meet with the clinical director. The on-campus facility will be your closest resource if there is an emergency. You should also seek out your campus Disability Office. The staff at this office will be helpful if you need to reschedule tests or assignments due to a bleed.

Tip number three, be open

There is a good possibility that you will be living in close quarters with roommates when start your college journey. It is also possible that these roommates may have never encountered anyone with a bleeding disorder. It can be difficult to have a conversation about your bleeding disorder with people that you have just met, especially if you are a private person, but sharing can be helpful. Telling your roommates what the disorder is, what you have to do to treat it and how it affects you daily will immediately ease your worries about living with new people unfamiliar with bleeding disorders, and it will stop any misunderstanding that can happen if you keep your disorder a secret. The discussion may also empower you and help others to become more aware about what you go through. In addition to your immediate roommates, consider sharing your bleeding disorder with your dorm Resident Assistant (RA) as well. RAs are a support system and a resource for the students living on their floor 鈥 bringing your RA in on the discussion will allow them to better assist you throughout the semester. At the end of the day though, the decision to share that part of you is a preference 鈥 only you know what is best for you!

Tip number four, eat right

The average college student is often pressed for time, under a lot of stress and eating on the go. It may seem difficult to avoid bad habits like skipping meals or grabbing a cold slice of pizza for breakfast on the way out the door to class but committing to a nutritious diet will not only keep your body healthy, but also help you cope with stress. A nutritious diet will also lead to better performance in the classroom. Whether you are living in a college dorm room or in an off-campus apartment, here are some items to add to your grocery list:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Lean proteins such as chicken, turkey and eggs
  • Whole grains like oats, brown rice and whole wheat pasta
  • Low-fat dairy products
  • Dried beans, nuts and seeds
  • Lots of water

In the resources section below you鈥檒l find a link to a brand new Learning Central Nutrition course. This online course features everything you need to know about eating right with a bleeding disorder. And, it is not just eating right! Be sure to make time for yourself to be active. The on-campus fitness facility can be a great asset for college students. Stop into the fitness center and schedule a tour with their facility staff. If you feel comfortable, share your bleeding disorder with staff so that they are aware should you experience a bleed or other medical issue while working out. Is the fitness facility not your thing? College campuses were made for walking! Simply making the choice to walk to class can keep you on an active lifestyle.

Tip number five, enjoy yourself

Feel like your brain is melting under the crush of books, classes and papers? It is very important to take time for yourself in order to fully enjoy your college experience. Try some of the following stress relievers:

  • Eat well
  • Find a sport that you can safely participate in. Your HTC can be a great resource to help you find activities that are the best for you 鈥 especially if you are interested in trying something you鈥檝e never done before!
  • Join an on-campus club
  • Don鈥檛 be afraid to ask for help. From a friend to a family member, a trusted practitioner or a professional counselor, talking to someone can go a long way in fighting stress and the demands of living with a bleeding disorder.
  • Close the books and take a few minutes to unwind. Do not underestimate the power of a nap or a short walk in the sunshine.

Additional resources to assist with the college transition:

 


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