31 Days of CF: Maddie’s Story

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by Luisa Palazola |

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Day 16 of 31 Days of CF ⁣⁣ Topic: Balancing work, grad school, and health⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ Here are @saltymaddie93 experiences: ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ In fall of 2017 I started my Master’s of Public Health program at @uofminnesota. I went to the first week of class before getting sick and spending 3 weeks in the hospital. That was not the way I wanted to start grad school, so I decided to withdraw from classes and restart the program in the spring. I ended up being re-hospitalized and evaluated for a double lung transplant that semester, so it turned out to be a smart decision. ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ Thankfully, I got better and was no longer considering transplant, so I signed up for two classes during the Spring semester. I took another online class in the summer. By the next Fall I was feeling confident that I could get back on track with my regular courses and even work part-time. I found a part-time position working on a team of 10 students with flexible scheduling and hours – all things I knew would be beneficial WHEN I got sick again. Still, when I got sick three weeks into the semester, I felt downtrodden – I thought I was going to have to either quit my job, drop out of the program, or both, to focus on my health. I was pleasantly surprised by how understanding my boss and professors were, telling me to take as much time as I needed before returning.I returned to class two weeks later and to work about a month later and finished the semester successfully. ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ This past February, I found myself in the hospital for three weeks battling the flu. I had never felt worse, both physically and mentally, so I decided to withdraw from classes yet again. I missed over two months of work; again, my boss was more than understanding and academic advisors were more than helpful in planning out future semesters and getting my tuition refunded. Despite my setbacks, I am determined to get my MPH. It will take me longer than most with more challenges, but it’s worth it to me.⁣⁣ If you’re passionate about something and want to pursue a graduate degree, don’t let CF stop you. Be sure to utilize resources (scholarships, disability services, workplace accommodations, academic advisers) and know when you need to pause.

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