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Further Education with MS or not.

Hi,

I have been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis since I was 14, in August 2011. It’s very Rare for my age and I am a male. I was a Smart student acheiving A’s and A* in GCSE. However when I enrolled into Sixth form and have chosen (three difficult subjects in the country) Maths, Physics and Further Maths. I was stressing, and developed alot of attacks. One moment, I had an attack that had me absent from School for a week. After hearing I haven’t gotten A’s in my AS levels. I have dropped out and chosen an easier course.

I am now in my second year of college and now have to take a decision of either going to University (Computer science Degree) or Apprenticeship.

Also, I don’t want to stress out like I did in A levels which got me several severe attacks.

I have a friend of mine, she’s currently doing Foundation degree for Law; She told me that they help alot for people with MS. So i want to consider which route to take.

Help please.

Hello Salim, what a very difficult question you have asked. Your absolutely correct, stress is a major trigger for MS, and should probably be avoided.

i am way older than you, so probably completely out of touch with such things, but my recollection of when I was 18 and thinking about all things education/career, was that getting a job even a good job was the main driver for me. However, I had not been diagnosed with MS and didn’t need to consider this balancing act (I know now that I probably did have ms then, and doctors had suspicions not much later, but it was not on my radar). I really didn’t have a clue where I was going in reality, life is just what happens…

Now in my 40s and with a diagnosis, my outlook for life is very different, as most people I’m sure. So why are you studying these subjects? Do you want to? Or are other influences there, parents expectations, career choice etc. if you want to do them then I suggest you do, but maybe speak to someone running your course, can you take them over a longer period or any other support available?

if your doing them to please others, maybe consider what you want to do with your life. Education is a means to an end, either because you want to know stuff or because you need the right qualifications to do something in particular. Maybe take a little time and just think about things. You have a lot to consider just try and take it easy and do what feels right.

sorry not real advice x

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Hi,

contrary to what Slug has said I think they have given you good advice. It is a matter of what you want to achieve without the added stress. I wish you luck in your decision.

Janet

x

Hi Salim

​Exciting times for you - to help make your decision you could go on a open day to the university of your choice and speak to the disability services as to how they could support you in your studies. Also you may be eligible to apply for a disabled students allowance - have a look on the gov.uk site.

It is also important to look at how the course is taught - some are more hands on and some are lecture based - depends on what your own learning style is.

I wish you all the best in your decision - remember tho it is only part of the journey and not the destination - you can’t make a wrong decision - you make the right decision based upon your knowledge and circumstances at the time.

all the best

Helen

Hi,

Thanks for the comments. I am hoping to computer science course. However it does require alot of memory which Its very difficult for me. After flopping Alevels, I lost hope in education because I was going through alot of pain and suffering. Mostly Eye problems because of stress ect ect. I wanted to become a doctor but now that dream is nearly impossible to achieve.

A friend was suggesting Apprenticeship was a better choice because it doesn’t require to memorise notes ect. It’s all work base.

However still i do not have any clue.

I’ll check with my career’s tutor at College and hope they’ll help me with something.

Hi Salim

Cannot speak to Computer Science as a subject, but I was involved in Software Engineering, and Design of Information Systems courses at one time. I would always suggest Software Engineering as a subject with a good work future, more than any other.

One option you should consider is a course with a “Continuous Assessment” option, rather than just examinations. OK, so you may have to turn in work of a higher standard in order to get a good degree,but at least you can work in the evenings - not just in one 2-hour sprint. Could be a lot less stressful.

Whatever course you pick will involve some note-taking, but if you get permission first you can usually arrange to record the lectures, replay them at your leisure, and make your main notes from them. This is another question you can always ask at an open day.

Most apprenticeships will have an academic component, anyway, and the only real advantage could be that the taught component will be at a local college. The other point is that an apprenticeship may have physical demands that would not do your MS any good.

Geoff

Hello Salim. Good advice above as usual. I chose a uni as it was four chicks to every one guy. In hindsight, thank goodness I didn’t get in there. Don’t think I’d have good a first if I had !!! :wink: I’d probably got (caught) something else… Anyways, sorry you got ill dude. Uni life is quite laid back, and you get treated more as an adult, so let them know etc and the student union will help you out. … A* is everything. They weren’t even invented when I was in education, and everything worked out ok ish. Be true to yourself. Dew yew keep a troshin bor. Andy

I have nothing to offer on the course choice question. The thing I do want to comment on is a bit more general - stress and the management of stress.

I agree with you that excessive mental and emotional stress is not a good thing for a person with MS. There are two aspects to this: (1) external stressors and (2) our own response to stress.

Salim, life is tough. Academic life, working life, family life, it is all tough (and having MS makes it tougher still) and external stressors are impossible to avoid completely. Many of them will be outside your control, whatever you do. And there is a risk that, in trying to avoid stress, a person will decline to engage in interesting things that would in fact be nourishing and rewarding. So I would caution against letting stress-avoidance weigh too heavily in your decisions.

Instead, I suggest you turn your attention to is how you manage unpleasant feelings of stress, and how you define stress. You already have bad experiences of what happens when it all gets too much - no wonder you want to avoid that happening again. It might be worth exploring a little more closely what winds you up and why. Sometimes we hamper ourselves with unexamined assumptions about what we ‘should’ achieve, or the exam results that are ‘good enough’ and ‘not good enough’. For instance, did you really flop your AS levels, as you say in your later post, or did you just not get A grades in them, as an earlier post suggests? Most people would think that ‘flopping’ and ‘not getting A grades’ were two very different things! Do you think that? (With apologies if you really did flop them, of course!) It is worth thinking about whether you are aiming for perfection when ‘good enough’ would do. All I am suggesting is, when you feel the unpleasant pressure of stress, just have a think about where that is coming from and, in particular, whether any of that pressure is self-generated. We can be awfully hard on ourselves without knowing it.

If you have not yet done so, you might find it helpful to talk some of your hopes and fears through with a trusted friend or relative who can listen attentively and in confidence. People can be surprisingly good at listening - if we give them a chance.

Good luck.

Alison

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