Back to School
By Sandy B.
Originally published in Youth Allied By
CFIDS, Fall 1997
When I was little, the arrival of autumn
was an exciting time. Autumn meant a new school year, an explosion of color from
the bright autumn leaves, and visits to the apple orchard and cider mill.
Autumn has meant something entirely
different since Iíve been sick. School years started without me. I noticed the
colored leaves on my way to and from medical appointments, but never truly
enjoyed them. Apples and cider were not part of my diet. The arrival of another
autumn was just a reminder that one more year had come and gone.
Then 1997 arrived. My health has improved
and stabilized enough this year so that I started thinking about resuming some
of my old activities. School was at the top of my list, so I contacted a local
university about enrolling and I was accepted in early August. I visited campus
three times to register for a class, buy books and talk with the medical
disability guy. Each time, I also walked around campus a little, locating
important buildings and trying to let the "This is my school now" feeling sink
I started school on September 3rd.
nervous as I ate breakfast, showered, got dressed and put all of my school
supplies in my backpack. I had not been in a real classroom or spent much time
around other young adults for more than five years. Would I remember how to be a
student? Would I have anything to say to my classmates? Would I be the oldest
person there? Would my energy hold up? Would I get through even one month of
That last question has an answer now.
I have made it through my first month back in school! Iíve certainly had rough
spots and Iím not going to say any of it has been easy. I have trouble
remembering that I even have homework! My social skills need a lot of
work, as I completely forget to introduce myself back when other students
introduce themselves to me ó one of the hazards of spending years socializing
with people Iíve known forever. And I am tired, though thankfully not
But, itís good to be back in school.
good to have a focus that is not medically related, and to feel like Iím making
progress towards a degree. Itís good to find out that, for the most part, young
adults are kind and not all that different from me. And, itís good to know that
there are even people older than me who are in college!
Most days, I take an earlier bus than
need to, so I arrive at school 20 minutes before my class starts. I use that
time to sit in a well-populated area on campus, soaking up the energy. I also
overhear some interesting conversations and see some unusual hairstyles! I smile
at people who look my way, and I occasionally whistle just to add to the buzzing
My journey back to school has just
and while it has not all been smooth, it is worth the effort. When I wake up on
Monday, Wednesday and Friday now, I think, "Today is a school day" and then I