Heading Off to College?

Congratulations on this amazing accomplishment! College comes with a sense of independence and some extra responsibilities. This guide features tips and tricks to help you prepare for this exciting step and get started on the right foot.

Requesting accommodations on campus

While you’re settling into college, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Get to know your school’s health center. The staff may help with requests for:

Room assignments

You may be able to ask for:

  • A single room

  • A room on a lower floor (to avoid stairs)

  • A room with a private bathroom

  • A room with air conditioning

Class requirements

Find out if there is flexibility around:

  • The required number of classes or credits per semester

  • In-person attendance

  • Test schedules

Can’t physically make it to class?

Ask if your classes are livestreamed. Or you may want to look into getting a tutor to help you catch up on necessary coursework if you do need to miss class.

Preparing yourself for the road ahead

Getting medical support

  • Get to know the student health center. Their staff can be a link between you and your doctors if you can’t get to your cystic fibrosis (CF) Care Center

  • Talk with your CF Center. Let your care team know that you will be going to college so you can form a plan for appointments during the semester

Keeping track of treatments

  • Make note of important info. Be sure to make a list of your medicines, insurance information, and emergency contact numbers

  • Work treatment time into your schedule. When choosing classes, try to pick times that don’t interfere with your routine

Living on campus

  • Map out your route from home to class. Consider minimizing your travel time by choosing to live in a location close to your classes or by scheduling classes in the same area of campus each day

  • Get to know your roommate. Have a conversation before you move in to find out if you have things in common. If he or she is not a good match, talk to your residential advisor to explore more options

  • Choose the best meal plan for you. When comparing campus meal plans, pick the one that is right for you. It’s important to get the nutrition you need while at school

Packing for school

Remember to bring:

  • Cart or drawers for storing medical equipment to help you stay organized 

  • Disposable materials for when you don’t have time to clean on busier days

  • Cleaning supplies such as hand sanitizer, paper towels, tissues, and wipes

  • A mini fridge to store food (if one isn’t already available in your dorm) 

  • High-calorie and high-fat snacks such as trail mix, peanut butter packets, and cheese crackers

Having the CF conversation

Starting college means meeting new people—friends, roommates, and faculty.
It may also mean explaining CF to people who aren’t familiar with it. Try to talk with your professors about CF at the beginning of each semester to help set expectations.
To get the conversation started, download the CF Letter for School Accommodations.

I told her right away. As soon as we decided that we wanted to be roommates. I wanted to be open and honest with her and let her know that I had CF, and she was really okay with it.”

–Grace, Student with CF

Maintaining momentum through daily college life

Sticking to a routine

  • Schedule daily treatments. Try to block off time on your calendar for treatments to help you stay on top of your routine every day

  • Stay up-to-date. You can use a planner or the calendar on your phone to note all of your appointments, refills, and schedules

  • Bring the necessary stuff. If you know you’ll be in classes all day, be sure to take whatever you need with you, including snacks, hand sanitizer, and water

Navigating the campus

  • Get rides to class. If it’s cold out, or if you don’t have a car, many universities offer rides to and from classes for students

  • Look for the blue lights. Most campuses have blue lights that indicate call stations for emergencies. Scope out where these lights are located on your campus

Keeping things tidy

  • Try to keep your surroundings clean. Make sure you have cleaning products in your dorm or apartment

  • Remember to do the dishes. If you rely on disposable dishes, be sure to ditch them right after each use to avoid attracting germs

Focusing on you

  • Plan your meals. At the beginning of each week, try to plan your meals and snacks for each day

  • Stay active. If exercise is recommended by your doctor, look into the exercise facilities that are available to you. For a list of CF-friendly exercise options, check out our article on the benefits of staying active

  • Take time for rest. Be sure to set aside a few moments each day to unwind and decompress. Also, try to be proactive when writing papers and preparing for exams so you don’t lose sleep

Start the Semester Off Right

Check It Out

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Listen to the Uncommon Lungs podcast episode about hobbies & staying on track