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Studying advice

Hi,

I have just embarked upon a part-time university course in Psychology, it’s only a short module (4 months). It seems my memory,concentration and my ability to write and spell are getting worse, so i think it’s going to be a bit of a struggle, but i am determined to do it. I just wondered if anyone else had experience in studying with MS and if they had any difficulties with study, how they overcame them?

Laura x

Hello Laura, Can’t say I have but just wanted to wish you the very best of luck, and suggest you do a bit and rest and so on. Good luck. Janet x

Yes I have Laura, I was half way through a BSc degree with the OU when I was diagnosed and, encouraged by Mr Val (‘well, what are you going to do if you don’t continue, sit around feeling sorry for yourself?’ He was very direct!!), I carried on but it was hard at times. Exam stress caused symtoms to flare up and I did one exam while on steroids which was a blur. Don’t try and do too much in one go, pace yourself and try not to put too much pressure on yourself. If you’re enjoying what you’re studying, the skills will come back. And there’s a great sense of satisfaction when you succeed which makes it all worthwhile. Good luck!

Yes, did a part time degree shortly after my diagnosis. I found it tough going at times but I just kept plodding on and handing the work in on time. Exams were a nightmare - formulating thoughts under pressure and within a time limit was hard. (I have the same problems with interviews) No reson at all why you can’t complete the course if you put your mind to it.

Thanks for all the replies. I enrolled on the course just after diagnosis, thinking it would stop me from brooding. Since then though my cognitive abilities have taken a sharp decline, I guess all I can do is my best, will try and pace myself…don’t want to fail though!

Hi Laura,and isn’t it lovely.The weather isn’t bad either.Best thing I can suggest is make the course tutors et al aware of your problems.I started an Access Course nine years ago,but after three months I realised my memory was nowhere near as good as it had once been and would cause me huge frustration as I needed >75% to study Psychology and Neuro Science at Liverpool Uni.

The scary thing was that two years before, I got a distinction in a Health+Safety exam that involved a mega amount of learning, and by putting the hours in I did it.

I told the relevant people and they were as helpful as they could be,but I still had to remember stuff.I dropped off before I wound myself up to twanging point.Writing and slepping comes under the pervue of Dyslexia,and there are lots of techniques to help, so panic yee not! Here’s the naughty bit, could you get Modafinil,or oral’roids to give your sen a boost if required? A bit studenty,but you’re doing a tough,demanding and very noble thing.

Best wishes and good luck,

Wb x <(L)>

Thanks WB, think I have more chance of going to the moon than getting prescribed modafinil! Roids do nothing for me unfortunately…I shall plod on…I’m not sure study is noble, but its keeping me out of trouble for a while!

Hi Laura :slight_smile:

The best thing I can advise is to speak to the Student Support Office (or similarly named) and whoever in your department liases with them. MS is a disability which means you can get a load of support from them, e.g. longer deadlines, stickers on your coursework so that the markers excuse spelling mistakes and less than perfect grammar, extra tuition if needed, notes in advance, etc.

I know it sucks that you even need to consider using this, but it’s just like any other aid or help - using the support that’s available allows us to keep doing the things that we love.

Karen x

Your right Karen, it does suck, but it could be a lot worse too i suppose. Will speak to the uni and try and formulate a plan. Thanks x

Hi Laura

Karen is dead right about Student Support.

You could also ask about permission to tape the lectures - this gets round slow writing when you take notes.
You could just do it anyway - a fellow student of mine did just that. Tape recorder in handbag, handbag on desktop, tiny mic poking out beside the strap. Nobody caught on in three years.

But, doing it without permission could get a bit of agro down on your head if you get caught.
I was only ever asked once when I lectured, and it did not bother me, but some folk could be different.

Geoff

hi I managed to get my 2nd MA with MS I found taping lectures…with the lecturers agreement helped as I could scribble quick enough. I dictated my essays and my sister typed them for me, Good luck hopefully friend/family will help you out.

Are you sure you wouldn’t be able to get Modafinil? My neuro suggested it, when I told him I was sleeping several hours a day and then 8 and a half hours a night.

If you want to read about an academic’s experience of Modafinil (which seems relevant to this), it’s described here

In this article, the academic concerned makes a case that everyone with MS and brain fog, sleepiness or tiredness should try Modafinil. I have had very good experiences on it so far, although I think for me 200 mg a day is too high - that started shortening my sleep at night and I went over to feeling really tired but unable to sleep in the day. On 100mg, I just feel good and able to get on with my life like a normal person. It doesn’t make me smarter but it does make me a bit calmer and more tolerant (not something I was expecting).

I did an MSc about 2/3 years after diagnosis… my biggest problem was doing the necessary lab work because of my mobility issues. Taking the exams when I had major bowel and bladder continence issues (now under control - I think there was some stress issues here too) - I must admit I do not (yet) suffer with any brain fog but fatigue goes straight to my leg muscles - I can only stand for a short time nowadays - and working in a lab in a wheelchair can be difficult. These days I limit myself to teaching theory and thought experiments!