Giving Thanks! 2017 Narcolepsy Scholarship Recipients Report Back From College

Courage, awareness, support, motivation, and community. These are just a few words describing the impact you made with Project Sleep this year. In 2017, you joined Project Sleep in awarding eleven Jack & Julie Narcolepsy Scholarships to students across the country. Today, the recipients share their gratitude, exciting highlights and how they’re managing narcolepsy in college!

“Courage to pursue my education with confidence…

My Spanish class at Brigham Young University has given me the opportunity to meet a diverse group of individuals and I have made close friends who support me in all parts of my life. To manage my narcolepsy, I try to get in bed and wake up at consistent times every day and I take about three short naps daily.

Obtaining accommodations helped me to receive early class registration and extended testing time. For students with narcolepsy, my advice would be to remember that everyone has their personal struggles, so do not be afraid to ask for help. You can be successful, you have unique talents that can change the world if you are yourself. 

After being diagnosed with narcolepsy, the reality of this lifelong condition sank in. Initially, I did not know if I could compete with other students at the university level. After learning about the Jack & Julie Narcolepsy Scholarship, I saw that there were successful people who had narcolepsy and I actually reached out to a past recipient for advice. Receiving this scholarship has shown me that there are people who understand me, who experience what I experience and who are successful. This knowledge gave me the courage to pursue my education with confidence. Thank you, Project Sleep!

-Mikelle, Brigham Young University, Provo, JJNS Recipient 2017

“Motivates me to dream big…”

My first semester at Syracuse University has been challenging but fun. My favorite event so far was going to NYC as a class where I got to experience NYC through an architect’s eyes. I love my architecture major and I feel blessed to be around such talented people.

The Office of Disabilities at my school has been helpful in working with my professors and accommodating me to ensure my success. The hardest part of this transition is realizing I have to be smart about managing my time.  I’ve learned that it’s important to acknowledge that you have different needs than others, but once you realize this – you will be able to do anything you put your mind to.

I love college and I want to thank you for helping me achieve my goals. Being chosen for the Jack and Julie Narcolepsy Scholarship has been an honor. Seeing other kids with my condition achieve great things motivates me to dream big.  

-Ebonia, Syracuse University, JJNS Recipient 2017

“Opened doors…

I joined the Fashion Business Association at West Virginia University, which is my favorite club so far. Managing my narcolepsy in college is very different than ever before. I have learned to become more independent and have found a working sleep schedule.

Receiving the Jack & Julie Narcolepsy Scholarship gave me an extra support system financially and emotionally and has opened doors to conversations about narcolepsy while also putting to rest some of the assumptions people make about what it is like to live with this disorder daily.

-Cassandra, West Virginia University, JJNS Recipient 2017

“Spreading awareness of narcolepsy…”

In my first semester at UMass Amherst, my favorite activity, by far has been marching band. Its tons of fun and full of great people. It’s definitely the best group to be in.  

I’m managing my narcolepsy by having an organized morning and night routine as well as a supplement of naps to recharge. I’ve learned all the best places to nap and when to take them.

Receiving this scholarship has been meaningful in helping me secure a place here at college and  in spreading awareness of narcolepsy. Thank you!

-Sam, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, JJNS Recipient 2017

“Other people my age going through this…”

In my Integrated Humanities program at the University of Vermont, I’ve learned that in ancient times, people studied philosophy before deciding what to do with their life, whereas nowadays students often choose a major based on what they like. Studying philosophy, even for a short time, has completely changed the way I see the world and taught me to find a purpose in everything. If I can’t find a purpose, I shouldn’t be doing it!

Since starting college, there’s been a few bumps in the road while managing my narcolepsy, but I’ve learned that I just need to know my limits and stick to them. When there’s a bump, there’s always people around to help.

Receiving the Jack & Julie Narcolepsy Scholarship was the first time I saw that other people my age are going through this and that I’m not alone. It also served to start discussion of narcolepsy with my friends and family.

Jillian, University of Vermont, JJNS Recipient 2017

“I am not alone…”

I’m thoroughly enjoying college life at Ohio University, especially chemistry class. I grasp the concepts easily and my professor is very funny.

I’ve managed my narcolepsy pretty well so far – taking medicine every morning before classes and scheduling power naps between classes which helps me out a lot. There have been mornings I forget to take my medicine and then I’m very tired and unable to focus throughout the day, so I know what I need to do to be at the top of my game.

Receiving this scholarship helped me lessen the financial burden and also made me realize that I am not alone. There are so many people just like me and it helps me know that if all these others can deal with this, so can I.

– Zach, Ohio University, JJNS Recipient 2017

“Supported by people who understand…”

I love being a student at the University of Tennessee! Sociology class is very fascinating, and I enjoy being involved with the Baptist Collegiate Ministry.

Before starting college, I was fearful of balancing my courses and social life while still getting enough sleep. I’ve found that setting multiple alarms in the morning, taking a nap between classes, and studying outside of my dorm room have been immensely helpful habits. Managing narcolepsy in college has its challenges, but I’ve found ways to balance my time and am receiving amazing support from disability services, my professors, and friends.

Being chosen as a scholarship recipient is something I am incredibly grateful for. Being supported by people who understand the challenges of living with narcolepsy is very meaningful to me. Knowing that there are people who believe that I can succeed despite my illness motivates me to be the very best version of myself.

– Jenna, University of Tennessee, JJNS Recipient 2017

“Helped me to feel supported…”

At Washington University in St. Louis, my favorite class is general chemistry, even though it certainly isn’t the easiest class, especially in the morning, the teacher is amazing at conveying her enthusiasm. 

I’ve learned to prioritize studying during the daytime when I am more alert. Additionally, I’ve found open quiet spaces are best for me. When I feel a sleep attack creeping up, instead of trying to fight it, I either take a quick nap (around 3-5 minutes) or get up and walk around. I’ve learned that it is more efficient to take a quick nap to get energized than to attempt my work half-unconscious.

Receiving the Jack and Julie Narcolepsy Scholarship helped me to feel supported in this transition to college with narcolepsy and helped me to see how other accomplished young adults with narcolepsy are finding their niches in college too.

– Jessica, Washington University in St. Louis, JJNS Recipient 2017

“Managing my expenses…”

In my first semester at University of Maryland: Baltimore, I’m definitely enjoying cheerleading the most. I’m handling my narcolepsy pretty well in college, especially because I have more independence. By scheduling my time appropriately, I’m able to get enough sleep and work hard.

Receiving this scholarship helped me manage my college expenses and the materials I needed. Thank you!

– Stephanie, University of Maryland, Baltimore, JJNS Recipient 2017

“Being part of something bigger…”

My favorite event so far at Belmont Abbey College was the privilege of going on a pilgrimage to Fatima, Portugal with some of my fellow brother seminarians.

We wake up at 5:15 every morning, which can be rough sometimes with narcolepsy, but we go to bed early enough for a good night’s sleep. One lesson I have learned is that coffee does not help me much because after it wears off, I get extremely tired, whereas if I do not drink coffee, I can manage consistent levels of wakefulness and sleepiness.

Receiving this scholarship for me means getting to be a part of something bigger. Now I can play a role in spreading narcolepsy awareness to others.

– Christian, Belmont Abbey College, JJNS Recipient 2017

“Truly changed my life…”

In my first semester at Lake Superior State University, I look forward to my emergency medicine class every day and I’ve attended every single hockey game so far! To manage my narcolepsy, I’ve scheduled my classes for late morning, which has made waking up a lot easier in college compared to high school.

Junior year of high school, I felt so alone and trapped inside my own mind before diagnosis. Receiving this scholarship, I felt accepted into a community based on love and support. The Jack & Julie Narcolepsy Scholarship and Project Sleep have truly changed my life.

– Jordan, Lake Superior State University, JJNS Recipient 2017
In just four years, the Jack & Julie Narcolepsy Scholarship program has awarded 36 scholarships of $1,000 each to 36 students with narcolepsy across the nation. The 2018 scholarship application will open in January 2018, and many students are already inquiring to make sure this opportunity will still be available.
Will you join us in inspiring students with narcolepsy?

Make a tax-deductible gift today and your generosity will become something so much bigger through Project Sleep’s work. Together, we have the power to motivate students and change lives. Thank you for your kindness.


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