Life at University

For many (me included), memories of university revolve around questionable nights out and adrenaline-fuelled study sessions taking place in the early hours before an assignment is due. However, stroke survivors (me included) are likely to face unique challenges, adjusting to life away from home and navigating the neon-lit allure of societies, seminars and social events.

In this post, I wish to create a mini survival guide for young stroke survivors who are thinking about going to uni. Having had a stroke aged 4, leaving me with right-sided hemiplegia (not the best parting gift in the world :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:), I went on to study Neuroscience at Sussex Uni. Here are some of the challenges I faced while completing my Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree, and how I resolved them!


So, you go to uni to study something you’re passionate about! You go to lectures and find the content really interesting (Great)! After a month or so, you begin to juggle your first assignments with writing up lecture notes and attending societies that caught your attention during Freshers’ week. Sounds daunting (and exhausting), right?

It’s easy to get overwhelmed, but there are simple ways to stop everything from getting on top of you!

  1. Getting friendly with the university’s Disability Support Team is a good start - from my experience they were happy to add an extra week onto my deadline if I needed more time to work on assignments.

  2. It is common for professors to email their presentation slides to students the day before their lecture. A cheat code I learned is to print out and annotate the slides, rather than spend ages writing pages and pages of notes (it’s so much easier to digest the info!).

  3. Arrange to meet up with your course mates to share ideas about topics discussed in lectures (possibly with the incentive of a post-study pint!).

  4. Take time out to relax and enjoy the freedom of living away from home! For me, I found my energy levels to deplete over time, making me sluggish. To refresh myself, I had to make sure to schedule breaks, go for walks or meet up with friend in between study sessions.

Forward Planning

A handy trick I learnt from my time at uni is to cook in bulk! While I am not advising you to have defrosted spaghetti bolognese on the menu every day throughout the semester, it is useful to have a batch waiting for you in the freezer after a tiring day. :joy:

Be Bold

Look, I may seem self-assured to you but in the early stages of uni, I found meeting new friends an unsettling prospect. I was self-conscious about my limp and my paralysed right hand. However, I soon realised that, even though not for the same reasons, everyone was self-conscious in some way or another. All of my worries didn’t once cross the minds of the people I met, and I made some amazing friends. Don’t let your reservations stop you from having a good time!

You are far more than your stroke, and while there will always be challenges, you’ve faced too much to start backing down now.


Hi @Lefty123 just popping by to say welcome to the community. Some good advice there for anyone thinking of studying.

Best wishes



Posotive in so many ways ! And stimulating for an old codger like me trying to do a bit of studying . A refreshing different post, thx Lefty


Hi and a big welcome to this forum. An amazing and informative post for anyone hoping to study following a stroke.

Regards and best wishes, looking forward to hearing from you.



Thank you for sharing this story, it’s very easy to feel like stroke defines you and that’s who you are, but we forget, well I do anyway, I am like anybody else really and we all have things we struggle with one way or another, stroke or no stroke. well done on your achievements. So far wish I was that clever x


This is awesome! Fantastic that although meant to help those going to University…it is also universally helpful for all.

Very good to ‘see’ you. Hope you will continue to give your insights.


Hi & welcome @Lefty123

How long ago were your uni days?

We discussed in some ways during last Thursday’s zoom get together whether having a stroke in childhood / at birth and then living with the condition was preferable or not to having a traumatic event later in life

Do you use your neuro - knowledge now in any professionally directed way or have you gone into another field?


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Thanks for welcoming me to the community @Mrs5K !

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Hi @SimonInEdinburgh !

I am pretty fresh out of uni, I completed the MSc in January but graduate this summer. Your zoom discussion sounds very interesting - I reckon there are pluses and negatives in both cases!

I am currently looking to get into med comms as a medical writer, and thought this forum would be a good place to develop my writing skills. I have a few interviews and writing tests lined up! :crossed_fingers:

It’s nice to meet everyone, and thanks for interacting with my post! :smiley:


That was our thoughts. 1 person was born with affects, 1 had stroke as a toddler (60yrs ago), I had mine at 60+ (3½yrs ago) others in 30s & 40s - we meet every Thursday and your welcome too :slight_smile:

What sort of writing? I’m about to join the Comms group at Neurological Alliance. - I can keep an eye out for opportunity - I’d maybe have other suggestions if I knew more



Thanks @SimonInEdinburgh! I might take that offer up some time!

The job could involve anything from putting together awareness campaigns to assisting in getting new therapies approved by regulatory bodies, like NICE or the FDA! That would be amazing thanks - I haven’t heard of the Neurological Alliance before, but I’ll take a look! Btw, my name is Sam! :smile:


Hi Sam @Lefty123

The NA is a group of about 100 charities the CEO is Georgina Carr.

Are you interested in doing pro bono work to build the CV? If so I can introduce you to James Bundy - see Did ANYONE have classic FAST symptoms - #79 by SimonInEdinburgh



Thanks @SimonInEdinburgh, I appreciate the offer! If I have the time, it would be great to do some pro bono work on the side. I’ll see how the next few interviews go.


Hi lefty and welcome . There’s some good ideas here for us all so many thanks . Regards suzywong