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Worrying About Graduate School and Accommodations for Idiopathic Hypersomnia

In December 2023 I graduated with my Bachelor's degree in English. It wasn't easy being a college student with idiopathic hypersomnia.

Managing school and idiopathic hypersomnia

I struggled at maintaining a busy schedule since I had a work study job on top of classes, but I figured it out at some point. While on campus, I was lucky to have a work study position in the library as a freshman until I graduated. I was originally placed in the cafeteria, but I knew that my social anxiety coupled with my idiopathic hypersomnia would make it hard to work there. The work study administrators were kind enough to switch me into the library, and I ended up loving my job there.

After graduating, I went into doing library work part-time as a public service assistant. Working as a public service assistant for so long made me realize that I should make it my profession to become a librarian. Sadly, to become a full-time librarian a master's degree or MLIS is required. Now, as of my writing this, I am going back to school for my master's degree.

Learning I needed a master's degree made me worry. I went back and forth with myself on if going back for my master's would be worth it, considering how much work I had to put in to finish my undergraduate degree. I also worried about if going to a different school will lead to the same struggles I had with getting accommodations  surrounding my IH. Will teachers understand? Will my advisor take the time to learn my condition? Is it going to take more work and more time that I don't have due to my IH? As of writing this, I don't have any answers to any of those questions. I'm hoping for the best outcome, though.

Trying to find accommodations

This time, though, I am grateful to have a diagnosis. I was undiagnosed when I started my undergraduate degree, which made it harder for me to explain what was happening to me to my professors. At first, I didn't have any accommodations (besides my social anxiety accommodations), and I got in trouble a lot for dozing off and being late to class.

I think it also hindered me that when I searched for colleges in high school, I didn't do any research on colleges at all. I ended up choosing the cheapest college that gave me the best golf scholarship at the time. Looking back I wish I did more work researching my college and talking to students on campus (without the presence of admins to force positive comments). Due to that, I ended up struggling getting accommodations and ended up not having the best college experience.

At the moment, I feel have learned from my past and put in more effort researching what graduate school to attend. I also have been researching graduate schools' disability centers, how easy it is to get accommodations, and how people like the staff there. I'm hoping that researching into how the colleges operate will lead me to a college that is more understanding and helps me succeed.

My hopes

In the end, I'm hoping that going to a bigger college means the possibility of more people with my condition being on campus! I think having teachers or disability advisors who have worked with other people with similar conditions makes it easier to explain how idiopathic hypersomnia affects me. And it saves me the trouble of having to explain my way through certain accommodations.

As for now, though, I am thankful to have been accepted into 4 MLIS programs to do my studies at. I am hopeful for my graduate experience to go better than my undergraduate.

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