Reception Helps Students with Chronic Illnesses Make Key Connections

Kathleen Monagle, Associate Dean, Student Disability Services, UAAP

It is no secret that entering MIT students need to learn to juggle competing priorities, manage their time effectively, and navigate an unfamiliar environment. For students with chronic illnesses, the adjustment to this high-pressure environment involves an added layer of complexity. In addition to all of the demands that typical students must handle, students with chronic illnesses face the daunting task of managing their illness while managing college life. For many students, this is the first time they have had to orchestrate all of this independently. The "simple" task of scheduling medical appointments with new providers can be overwhelming, especially when academic demands and deadlines are looming.

Students at SDS Reception

To assist this year's incoming students with chronic illnesses, Student Disabilities Services (SDS) staff hosted a luncheon reception, bringing together MIT Medical key personnel to meet new students. The goal was to facilitate the connection between the students and the medical staff, in a way that students would find convenient and accessible.

The highlight of the day was the presence of two current students, Sarah Geller and Colleen Rock, who are experienced users of MIT Medical resources, willing to mentor their new classmates in navigating the world of college with a chronic illness. As Colleen succinctly put it, "I wish they had this when I was a freshman!"