The Arthritis Newsletter

Fall 2012

Eight Study Tips for Students with Arthritis

Written by: Sharan Rai


Working toward a college degree is a challenge in and of itself, but when paired with arthritis it can seem downright impossible. Below are some tips I’ve used to make studying an easier and more fun experience when you’re suffering from arthritis.


1. Identify your optimal study time

Many people experience the most pain and stiffness in the morning. Listen to your body and use that information to determine when your best time to study is. Maybe it’s in the evening!


2. Customize your study space so that you feel comfortable

My desk is set up in such a way that I have everything I need at my immediate disposal. I also keep a large water bottle at my desk to minimize trips down the stairs for refills. Lastly, I keep a warm blanket draped over my chair in case I get chilly.


3. Tailor your school supplies to your needs

Things like attaching a larger clasp to the zipper of your pencil case or adding foamy grips to pens can make a big difference in your comfort while studying. These small changes make for a less stressful and more enjoyable study environment.


4. Stay organized and plan ahead

Last-minute tasks can be an afflicted person’s worst nightmare, especially if the pain level is worse than normal on the days leading up to a deadline. To avoid sticky situations like this one, make it a point to stay organized and plan ahead. Always factor in the possibility of having bad days when organizing yourself.


5. Buddy up

Some of my favourite university memories were made in the library with my friends. Not only is studying with a group fun, it can also be of tremendous help to a person with arthritis. Studying with your friends can make the workload lighter and studying more efficient, and you have somebody to help you physically (getting a coffee with you, helping you carry your books to the car at the end of the night, and so forth).


6. Schedule breaks

Scheduling breaks is an important thing for everyone, not just for those with arthritis. Taking breaks while studying gives you something to look forward to, as well as give your mind and body time to recharge before hitting the books again.


7. Keep your professors in the loop

Many universities offer some sort of aid for students with disabilities. Shortly after receiving my diagnosis I registered with the Disability Resource Centre (DRC) of UBC, and they have provided me with an overwhelming amount of help and support. The DRC acts as a link between my professors, helping me to manage my schedule and adjust deadlines according to my needs and myself. Furthermore, the DRC offers note-taking and tutoring services (at no cost) to those who require them.


8. Don’t overload yourself

Never take on more than you can handle. Numerous studies have demonstrated a link between high stress and an increased incidence of arthritic flare-ups. Ensure that you have a realistic workload.


Happy studying!

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