Connect with others who understand.

sign up log in
About mySMAteam
SMA
NEWS

How I Lived at College With SMA

Posted on November 09, 2021
Article written by
Bryce Parks

Transitioning into college after high school can be a complicated process that might be overwhelming for people with SMA. This was what I decided to do to prepare for a successful college journey.

Build Your Strategy Early

During my senior year of high school, I knew it was important to start preparing for college as early as possible. As soon as my school announced it was time to get ready for college and submit applications, I had to make a decision. I knew that once I was accepted to a university, I would go all the way to get my degree, so I put a lot of thought into it.

After I was accepted to my college choices, I immediately looked at the distance between each of them and my family home. Being near home is important for emergency situations. I wanted to find a happy medium between being close enough to home and having enough space to have independence. Once I settled on a college, it was time for the logistics.

Leave No Loose Ends

Of course, everyone is different, but I decided it was important to always have someone present with me. With that in mind, I took time to go through the people I know who would be willing to be around if I ever needed a hand. My family and medical assistants were always willing to do it. Once I settled on a college, it was time to establish a system.

I accomplished all of this ahead of starting college. Getting a head start on my exact dorm assignment also helped with planning my setup of equipment and choosing things to bring. I oftentimes would visualize a typical day for myself to make sure that I had left no loose ends.

Find Your Roommate as Soon as Possible

I’m not sure how most universities handle matching first-year roommates, but I was fortunate enough to have an online matchmaker. Finding a roommate and becoming friends with them was a massive benefit for the future.

I was social and fun with my roommate, but also transparent about what it would be like to live with me. With that understanding, everything was pretty smooth moving in.

Explore Different Resources

Coordinating medical assistants is pretty easy, since there are agencies in most areas with people available to help. At the end of the day, most of my bases were covered for a while. Of course, there was an unacceptable lack of independence with this plan.

Making friends and gradually asking them to assist me at times was the best way to tackle that. Being social and extroverted was the quickest way to make it happen. The sooner that I found my friends, the sooner I would be able to truly experience college.

Money was also a great incentive for friends to help. There are programs such as Public Partnerships that help facilitate hiring and funding caretakers — even friends and family, to an extent.

It Is Absolutely Possible

This was my path for an unforgettable experience that resulted in a bachelor’s degree in film and TV. A little planning made the difference in a great overall journey.

Columnists on mySMAteam discuss SMA from a specific point of view. Columnists' articles don’t reflect the opinions of mySMAteam staff, medical experts, partners, advertisers, or sponsors. Content on mySMAteam isn't intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Bryce Parks has SMA type 2. He hopes to make a difference to people through a variety of creative forms. Learn more about him here.

Recent news

Disability advocate Vincent Pinti worked to create a scholarship for University of Michigan...
Posted 12/02/2021

University Student With SMA Awarded for Disability Rights and Inclusion Work

Disability advocate Vincent Pinti worked to create a scholarship for University of Michigan...
Posted 12/02/2021
My parents were always pretty supportive throughout high school and college. Still, adolescence...
Posted 12/01/2021

Tips for Parenting Teenagers With SMA

My parents were always pretty supportive throughout high school and college. Still, adolescence...
Posted 12/01/2021
Zolgensma (onasemnogene abeparvovec-xioi), a treatment for children with spinal muscular atrophy...
Posted 11/30/2021

SMA Medication Zolgensma May Cause Liver Failure, Warns New Label Update

Zolgensma (onasemnogene abeparvovec-xioi), a treatment for children with spinal muscular atrophy...
Posted 11/30/2021
The title character in “Ordinary Joe” and his on-screen spouse are raising a son diagnosed with...
Posted 11/25/2021

‘Ordinary Joe’ Wins in My Eyes as a Viewer With SMA

The title character in “Ordinary Joe” and his on-screen spouse are raising a son diagnosed with...
Posted 11/25/2021
I was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) type 3 when I was 20 years old. Although...
Posted 11/24/2021

The Decision To Get a Scooter

I was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) type 3 when I was 20 years old. Although...
Posted 11/24/2021
People with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) often have spine deformities that make it difficult to...
Posted 11/23/2021

Implanted Catheter May Ease Delivery of Spinraza for SMA, but Approach Comes With Risks

People with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) often have spine deformities that make it difficult to...
Posted 11/23/2021
Nobel Peace Prize winner, Dmitry A. Muratov, plans to donate some of his prize money to support...
Posted 11/18/2021

Nobel Peace Prize Winner Will Donate Money to SMA Treatment for Children

Nobel Peace Prize winner, Dmitry A. Muratov, plans to donate some of his prize money to support...
Posted 11/18/2021
Growing up required me to take more initiative when it comes to my own life. Having spinal...
Posted 11/17/2021

Finding My Voice for Self-Advocacy

Growing up required me to take more initiative when it comes to my own life. Having spinal...
Posted 11/17/2021
A new study has found that once a child with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) type 3 loses the...
Posted 11/16/2021

In Type 3 SMA, Breathing and Upper-Body Function Worsen After Walking Stops

A new study has found that once a child with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) type 3 loses the...
Posted 11/16/2021
Dr. Danielle Sheypuk is a New York City-based licensed clinical psychologist, disability-rights...
Posted 11/11/2021

Psychologist With SMA Helps Clients Boost Their ‘Dateable Self-Esteem’

Dr. Danielle Sheypuk is a New York City-based licensed clinical psychologist, disability-rights...
Posted 11/11/2021
SMA News

Become a Subscriber

Get the latest news about spinal muscular atrophy sent to your inbox.

Not now, thanks

Privacy policy
SMA News

Thank you for signing up.

close