Megan Christiansen, a freshman, was diagnosed with POTS just before she started college.
“POTS means my autonomic system doesn’t function as it should. It affects my heart rate, blood pressure and digestion. It makes it very difficult to walk or stand for long periods of time and have energy throughout the day,” Christiansen said.
Christiansen not only had to worry about classes, her major, finding housing and meeting new friends; but also concerns for her health.
“I was at my house in Georgia when I reached out to my Pre-Mentor Advisor about my health, and she immediately sent me a link to (Accessibility) Services,” Christiansen said. “I filled out a form with my condition, then we met over Zoom.”
Christiansen was given extra time, the option to bring food or drink and use the restroom when needed while in the testing center. Her professors also gave her more accommodations on attendance and due dates.
“It’s not like I can just skip out on class or ignore my due dates. I’m being accommodated, but it’s still important for me to work hard on my education,” Christiansen said.
When asked about online classes, Christiansen explained her list of pros and cons.
“I need to be able to lay down a lot of the day. Being able to do my homework in bed has been a way that I accommodated myself to be able to get this education. But I do learn better in person,” Christian said.
Christiansen enjoys her in-person class in the Snow building, and next semester plans to space out her schedule to allow herself physical breaks. For now, online classes suffice.
Christiansen’s story is found all across campus but with different names and faces.
“I think it’s a topic that people avoid when they really shouldn’t. I know it scares people away, but I think opening up the conversation will help not only people like me but also other people to gain a better understanding of what conditions are and how they affect people’s lives,” Christiansen said.
Learn more about BYUI Accessibility Services here.