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University and Chronic Illness: A Survival Guide by Pippa Stacey

Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,653 Disability Gamechanger
edited August 2020 in Coffee lounge
Going to university can feel like such a huge step, with this often magnified if you have a disability or chronic illness. However, if you'll be be attending university this year then this is the book for you!

@LifeOfPippa released her debut non-fiction book, University and Chronic Illness: A Survival Guide, in January 2020 to help disabled students navigate the world of higher education. 

Back in the day, I completed my undergraduate degree (BSc Psychology in Education) between 2013-2016, and also studied for my postgraduate diploma (MSc Health Psychology) from 2016-2017. During my first year of university, I was your typical student: studying hard, partying harder, travelling the country with various sports teams and for dance competitions, volunteering, working towards an honours degree and generally living my best life. By the same time the following year, I was struggling to stand up on my own.

I’d been battling for answers to my mystery symptoms since the age of 15, but it was only when my health significantly relapsed and I was struck down by an onslaught of debilitating pain and fatigue, that I was finally diagnosed with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME/CFS). Naturally, all this took place during my very first year of university, just as my young adult life was beginning.

Pippa holding a copy of her book with a white book shelf full of books behind her

What is the book about?

University and Chronic Illness: A Survival Guide is for every chronically ill person considering or preparing for higher education.

A chatty and informative resource, the book goes far beyond your typical standardised advice on academics, and encompasses all aspects of student life: socialising, independent living, managing your money, and what to do when things go wrong. 
This book is absolutely bursting with advice and tips which all university students could benefit from. It also has excerpts that have been written by other disabled students so you get loads of insight! 

Further information:

Are you starting university this year? How did you find university? What would you love to study? Let us know in the comments below!


  • LifeOfPippaLifeOfPippa Member Posts: 15 Courageous
    Thank you so much for sharing this, @Chloe_Scope!

    Chloe is also one of the fab contributors who shared some of her experiences in the book. Really hope it comes in helpful for any students considering or starting university with a long-term health condition! 
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,653 Disability Gamechanger
    Not a problem @LifeOfPippa! Great to be able to share such a great resource. :)

  • Oih2Oih2 Member Posts: 6 Listener
    @LifeOfPippa @Chloe_Scope

    Q) Are you starting university this year?
    Started in 2018.

    Q) How did you find university?
    Hard at first, i was studying full time, caring for my mum full time and trying to manage my own mental health. I mostly felt alone and felt that i shouldnt be studying because i was experiencing financial hardship and felt like the statistics of carers studying spoke for itself.

    I was reffered to student wellbeing services and they helped me so much. If it wasnt for them, i wouldnt even be aware that i have a SpLD Neuro-developmental motor delay disorder / Dyspraxia.

    They also advised to undergo short term counselling, however, discussing my childhood traumas and caring responbilities triggered my C-PTSD (Complex-Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), which caused me to be emotionally unstable.

    My depression became worser and my GAD & SAD was always @ 100%. I failed three modules because my mental health was so overpowering. I had to retake the modules, which i passed 2 at distinction >70% level and 1 at pass >40% I am now progressing onto stage 2 this year :).

    Im starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

    Q) What do you study?
    Integrated BSc Hons + MSc in: Computer science for health and biological sciences (2018 - 2023).

    Q) What would you love to study?
    MSc in Bio-informatics with molecular medicine and computational anaylysis.

    & a PhD too hopefully.

    (Im just taking it One day at a time).

  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Posts: 5,002

    Scope community team

    I'm sorry to hear that you've had such a challenging start to university @Oih2, but it does sound like you've started to turn a corner.

    What an interesting course! That sounds great. What's been your favourite module? 

    Definitely take it one day at a time, but I'm pleased that you've got some really good goals to aim for. 
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  • WestHam06WestHam06 Member, Scope Volunteer Posts: 1,354 Pioneering
    Hi @LifeOfPippa, @Chloe_Scope,
                                                             Thank you for sharing this with us. I chose not to go to university as I felt that it wasn't for me, instead I got a part time job and studied whilst working to gain a qualification. I am now interested to explore the possibility of disability, mental health and how adversity can be overcome being discussed in educational setting's as I still feel lots of students with a variety of disabilities feel different to their peers and that they will not be able to achieve. I have started to share this on the online community and it is interesting that many people feel universities are educational institutions that need better education and understanding about disability.  Now I obviously am unable to comment on this and always imagined aiming what I was thinking of at primary and secondary school, but please may I ask what are your thoughts on this? I think you're very inspiring to write a book about your experiences and writing it in a way to help other people, thank you :) 
  • LifeOfPippaLifeOfPippa Member Posts: 15 Courageous
    Thanks so much for the kind words, @WestHam06! It might be worth reaching out to Bright Futures UK, they're a really lovely small charity doing some great work in this area!
  • WestHam06WestHam06 Member, Scope Volunteer Posts: 1,354 Pioneering
    Hi @LifeOfPippa
                                 Thank you so much for getting back to me, I really do appreciate it. Thank you so much for recommending Bright Futures UK, I will be sure to take a look :) Thank you.   
  • newbornnewborn Member Posts: 713 Pioneering
    Here  is an irony:  Shami Chakrabarti, (hats off to her for being so effective), , revolutionised  equality to the point of distorting it, as in "there is one equality, and it's  name is racism".  But the thing that inspired  her to consider  equality was the fact she noticed one of her fellow law students couldn't access their university  campus, using a wheelchair.

    How different  our world would be, if  only she had put that brilliance into the injustice she  started with, taking  up campaigning for disability equality,  or even equal equalities, instead of concentrating on race.
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