Dealing with Uni or TAFE when you have cancer

If you are studying at Uni or TAFE, it might go unnoticed that you’re skipping lots of classes or failing a subject. Talk to your lecturers, tutors or department heads to work out a strategy to cope with your study workload while you are dealing with cancer.

Options

  • Depending on your treatment and side effects, you may want to defer your studies for a year or apply for special consideration when you take your exams.
  • If you need to leave town for treatment or cannot get to classes, you might study externally or online.
  • Most campuses have a Student Services Centre that provides counselling and support. Take advantage of whatever is on offer to help you get through this time.

Some YCSs have an education/vocation consultant, or another member of your YCS team who can tell you about support available to help you continue studying while you’re having treatment and to return when you’re feeling better.

Don’t push yourself

Even if you can continue studying or when you go back to Uni or TAFE, you might find it hard to keep up because you need to go to appointments, get really tired or just feel crappy.

Try not to stress. Study can wait until you are well again.

You might feel ready to jump right back into study and make up for lost time. But don’t be surprised if you don’t find it that easy and your grades aren’t what they used to be. This might be because you’ve been away for a long time, or because your treatment has made it harder to concentrate or understand and remember new information (chemo brain!).

Your health and getting better is the most important thing at this time, and you (and your parents) might have to adjust your expectations for now.

Talk to people who’ve done it

It can help to meet up or chat online with other young people with cancer who are dealing with similar issues or can offer advice about getting back to study after cancer. Ask your YCS team about peer support groups, or contact CanTeen.