College Life: 2018 Narcolepsy Scholarship Recipients Report Back

This summer, generous donors joined with Project Sleep to award 14 Jack & Julie Narcolepsy Scholarships to college-bound students exemplifying courage and strength while living with narcolepsy or idiopathic hypersomnia. Recently, we caught up with the awardees to hear about college, managing narcolepsy and what this scholarship has meant to them.


“Inspired to confidently pursue my nursing education”

In my first semester, I’ve really enjoyed my anatomy class. The material is fascinating and I have met many nice people with similar interests.

Managing my narcolepsy has been easier than I anticipated. I was fortunate to be placed in a medically-approved single within a suite. This allows me to have the traditional “roommate” experience, without having to worry about conflicting schedules. I also take short naps during the day. I am really lucky that my friends and professors are really understanding. Choosing a school known for its support system makes a difference.

I am truly grateful to be a recipient of the Jack & Julie Narcolepsy Scholarship. After learning about the success stories of other scholarship recipients, I feel incredibly inspired to confidently pursue my nursing education.

− Courtney, University of Massachusetts-Lowell, Studying Nursing

“Receiving this scholarship meant the world to me”

My favorite activity has been being on the baseball team. Being a recruit from out of town, I came to college not knowing one person. Playing baseball has allowed me to meet new people from all over the world and each day provides new experiences.

Managing my narcolepsy has been surprisingly painless. Some days are tougher than others, but my ability to use time management skills has allowed me to manage my narcolepsy. I do take regular naps during the day in between my classes to give me a boost for whatever is next on the agenda.

Receiving the Jack & Julie Narcolepsy Scholarship meant the world to me. To have been chosen out of the many students with narcolepsy who applied was an honor. Being fortunate enough to receive the support for college is such an amazing feeling all on it’s own. It’s nice to know that even though you have a sleep disorder, there is someone there to assist you when you may need help.

− Hunter, Brescia University, Studying Business Mgt. with a minor in Sports Mgt.

“Gave me the confidence to achieve my goals”

Introduction to Film is my favorite class which helps me analyze movies in a different perspective.

I am managing my narcolepsy and cataplexy with scheduled naps between classes and work study.

The Jack & Julie Narcolepsy Scholarship has allowed me to continue my education and bring awareness to my community. I am truly blessed for you giving me the confidence to achieve my goals. Thank you for waking me up to a whole new world.

− Mykaylah, Georgia Gwinnett College, Studying Cinema & Media Arts Production

“Connected me to others who have narcolepsy”

My favorite activity in college is playing volleyball with my teammates.

I’ve had an easy time managing my narcolepsy because of how supportive and accommodating the staff and faculty are here on campus.

I was excited to receiving the Jack & Julie Narcolepsy Scholarship. This award showed me that I was not alone and connected me to others who also have narcolepsy.

− Kelly, Mars Hill University

“Happy that my words resonated”

My favorite activity in college so far is probably going to play pool with some friends from my hall in another (nicer) freshman hall’s lounge. 

The college schedule has been much more accommodating than my high school experience because I have been able to schedule my classes so, for the most part, I have time in between when I can nap if I wish to do so.

I was very proud when I received this scholarship because I’d put a lot of emotion into writing the application essay on living with narcolepsy. Although the funding was nice, I was most happy that my words resonated with your scholarship committee because I often feel like I want to get everything off my chest when people ask about narcolepsy, but at the same I don’t want to go so deep with everyone. It was nice to just let my thoughts flow onto the paper.

− Joseph, Clark University

“My diagnosis doesn’t mean that I can’t be successful”

One of my favorite classes is General Chemistry. It’s very challenging, but my professor is really enthusiastic and easy to pay attention to, even though the class is early in the morning.

Getting accommodations at WashU was a super easy process. I have priority registration so that my schedule allows me to go back to my dorm and nap during the day, and I have modified attendance so the professors are flexible if I have difficulty waking up for class.

Receiving the Jack & Julie Narcolepsy Scholarship made me realize that I am not alone and that my diagnosis doesn’t mean that I can’t be successful.

− Morgan, Washington University in St. Louis

“I was honored with this scholarship”

My favorite thing about college so far is meeting new people.

I think that I am able to manage narcolepsy a lot better than I did in high school because of my college class schedule. I have the opportunity to take naps in between classes. 

I really appreciate that I was honored with this scholarship. Thank you for what y’all do for me and for others with narcolepsy.

− McCaylon, McNeese State University, Studying Health and Physical Education

“Allowed me to reshape my view of narcolepsy”

My favorite class has been Introduction to Food Science and Technology. I’m very excited that everything I’ve been learning is related to my future career. 

In managing my narcolepsy, I’ve learned a lot about the importance of being responsible with my sleeping habits. I try to maintain a regular sleep schedule, and take power naps if necessary throughout the day.

Receiving the Jack & Julie Narcolepsy Scholarship made me feel very blessed and supported. Not only is it helping me with the cost of college, but it also allowed me to reshape my view of narcolepsy.

− Katja, University of Nebraska Lincoln, Studying Food Science and Technology

“Acknowledged for overcoming the challenges of narcolepsy”

My favorite activity so far has been playing fall baseball for the Titans

I have not had any major challenges managing my narcolepsy in college so far. My roommate, teammates, coaches and professors have all been very supportive.

It was a great honor to be selected as a recipient for this scholarship. It is very rewarding to be acknowledged for overcoming the challenges that come with my diagnosis of narcolepsy with cataplexy.

− Colin, Indiana University South Bend, Studying Finance

“Made me feel like my work was worth it”

I am loving CHAARG (Changing Health Attitudes + Actions to Recreate Girls)! It’s an all girls fitness group on campus that lets me workout with like-minded people and try new workouts at studios around Tallahassee!

The Student Disabilities Resource Center helped me understand my accommodations and how to notify my professors of these accommodations. Both the SDRC and my professors were so nice, welcoming, and willing to listen!

This scholarship made me feel like my work in high school to not let idiopathic hypersomnia dictate the quality of my work was worth it. It empowered me to do the same in college and to continue educating my peers and professors about narcolepsy and idiopathic hypersomnia.

− Jenny, Florida State University, Studying Media/Communication Studies

“Opened my eyes to others like myself”

Narcolepsy Scholarship Example

My favorite class so far has been Climate Change. It has opened my eyes to the monumental and detrimental effects our actions will have on the environment in years to come.

Managing narcolepsy in college has not been much of a problem. For me, the most important elements to succeeding with narcolepsy are having a disciplined schedule, knowing my own symptoms, and adjusting to them on a daily basis.

Receiving the Jack & Julie Narcolepsy Scholarship has been an absolute honor, and I’m extremely proud to represent and bring awareness to my community. This award has opened my eyes to others like myself who experience the daily obstacles that narcolepsy poses, yet continue to succeed in life.

− Ryan, UCLA, Studying Economics

“Validated my perseverance and hard work”

My favorite activity so far in college has been participating in intramural volleyball

So far I have been able to manage my narcolepsy well by making sure I take rests when needed.

Receiving the Jack & Julie Narcolepsy Scholarship greatly impacted me by validating my perseverance and hard work.

− Mackenzie, University of San Diego, Studying Behavioral Neuroscience

“Made me feel proud that you chose to invest in my future”

My favorite class thus far is my architecture class because it doesn’t require much reading or writing, it requires me to use my creativity and problem solving skills

Managing my narcolepsy in college has come with good days and bad days. Taking my medication along with taking naps in between classes helps me to be productive.

Receiving the Jack & Julie Narcolepsy Scholarship made me feel proud that you chose to invest in my future.

− Daria, Morgan State University, Studying Architecture

“Made me more determined to succeed in college”

My favorite event would be attending my school’s volleyball games. I am a fan of the sport and enjoy watching the team play.

Managing my narcolepsy in college surprisingly hasn’t been that much of change from how I managed it in high school. The biggest difficulty has been finding the best times to take my medications so that I don’t doze off in class.

I know many students apply for this scholarship, so when I was chosen, I felt extremely honored and proud. Receiving it made me feel noticed and made me more determined to succeed in my college journey.

− Kaylee, Ball State University, Studying Environmental Management

Because of You

Inspired, honored, connected, acknowledged – this is the impact you’ve made on these extraordinary young adults! Because of you, Project Sleep’s Jack & Julie Narcolepsy Scholarship has awarded 50 scholarships to students in just five years. Founded in 2014 by Julie Flygare and the Graham Family, this national scholarship program supports students with narcolepsy while also raising critical awareness in high schools and colleges across the country.

In addition, special thanks to Jazz PharmaceuticalsAvadel Pharmaceuticals, and Harmony Biosciences, LLC, for their generous contributions to help support this year’s scholarship program. Likewise, a huge thank you to the Hypersomnia Foundation for partnering with Project Sleep this year to include a spot for a student with idiopathic hypersomnia.

Looking Ahead

Project Sleep plans to release the 2019 Jack & Julie Narcolepsy Scholarship application the first week of January 2019. Be the first to receive key announcements via Project Sleep’s e-updates.

Please consider Project Sleep for a end-of-year tax-deductible gift. Stay tuned for an special announcement about our #GivingTuesday campaign for Nov. 27, 2018!

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