It saddens me to read younger narcoleptics posts in social media at times as I find that many are questioning their future as though having this chronic disorder is some kind of death sentence. Yes receiving an education is going to be a battle, I slept through most of my high school years, but it doesn’t mean that it isn’t achievable, especially if you are diagnosed at a younger age and accommodations are made to help you. With a combination of awareness, support, medication, and practicing good sleep hygiene including naps, you can complete your education and even continue to do further education if your career choice requires this.
One thing that stood out to me when I returned to study as an adult was how much easier it was attending subjects of interest delivered in an adult environment, one that can be tailored to suit your needs. I completed half of my IT qualifications by attending evening classes. In fact I had only started going to educate myself in basic computing skills to help to increase my employment options and it was only after I started to complete these module’s and began to receive my certificates, that I decided to continue with the classes which resulted in my gaining a Certificate 3 in IT.
When I got my first lot of results back my heart sank momentarily due to seeing my grades C’s and D’s, this was due to the fact that when I was last at school it was the mid 80s and a C was a low pass and a D was a fail, of course now days a C is actually a credit and a D is a distinction! Receiving all C’s and D’s was enough to encourage me to continue to study a field that I never would have contemplated previously as I had no idea that I would actually be good in an IT environment.
After successfully completing my Cert 3, I then began to look for work. It was during this time that I noticed an opportunity to further this education by attending another adult learning facility that was going to be running a Cert 4 in IT Network Management. I attended the information session, sat an exam this was followed by an interview after which I was offered a scholarship to complete this qualification. I was the second eldest in the class and the only female to complete the entire course, I was also given the honor of being chosen to write and deliver the graduating speech on behalf of the class during the graduating ceremony.
I did all of this with 4 small children, undiagnosed narcolepsy (so no medication or accommodation’s) and went on to secure a permanent full time position that lasted for 15 years within the Australian Federal Government, starting as a APS 3 and through hard work and determination after 3 years, I managed to win a permanent APS 5 position with the Department of Human Services.
Please make the most of having an earlier diagnosis than I did, and most importantly Do Not Give Up!
That’s all from me for now, thanks for reading.