Thank You from College! 2020 Scholarship Recipient Updates

This year, generous donors joined with Project Sleep to award a record 27 Jack & Julie Narcolepsy Scholarships to college-bound students exemplifying courage and resilience while living with narcolepsy or idiopathic hypersomnia. We caught up with the awardees to hear how college is going and what this scholarship meant to them.

“I feel valued and seen”

“I love my General Psychology class. The information is interesting and will be very useful to my future career.

I am blessed to have been given classes hours apart from one another, so that I can take a nap in between them, which is incredibly helpful for my idiopathic hypersomnolence. Due to Covid-19 my classes are entirely online, which is a blessing in disguise. I can sleep when I need to, and do my designated work when I am wide awake. 

The Jack & Julie Narcolepsy Scholarship meant so much to me in helping with my college costs. I feel valued and seen, whereas growing up at times I felt helpless.”

— Laura, studying Middle Childhood Education at Kent State University, JJNS Recipient 2020

“Showed me I can achieve great things now and in the future”

“My favorite class is English, because there are a lot of deep discussions. Afterward I always feel more insightful, and like I’m looking at life through a clearer lens. In English class I’m more socially interactive with my peers, and that’s always nice because Covid-19 has made being social a lot harder.

For the most part, college makes it easier to deal with narcolepsy because I can adjust my classes to fit my lifestyle rather than trying to adjust my lifestyle to fit my school schedule. Covid-19 has actually had a positive impact on my narcolepsy, because I can manage my sleep patterns better at home than if I were on campus.

Receiving the Jack & Julie Narcolepsy Scholarship really meant a lot to me, because it felt like I was being recognized for my achievements as a person with narcolepsy. I felt like my struggles were understood and my accomplishments were worthy of recognition and celebration. This scholarship is a reflection of who I am and a reminder of who I can become. It showed me I can achieve great things now and in the future, and that I’m not alone. It also helped me gain more confidence and encouraged me to embrace my entire self including the fact that I have narcolepsy. Thank you so much for this scholarship!!!”

— Mya, studying Architecture at University of Maryland College Park, JJNS Recipient 2020

“It was such a great feeling”

“Introduction to Game Design is great for me, because it focuses on working as a team with hands-on projects where we get to learn and apply the core principles of good game design. The focus on communication with other students is helping me prepare for the actual field of game development.

Time management and keeping on top of schoolwork have both been key to feeling as refreshed as I can be. Though my schedule is tight, I still manage to get about 25 hours of work on the game I’m developing each week, which is what I consider my crowning achievement in college so far. I decided to live at home due to Covid-19, which has actually made it far easier to manage idiopathic hypersomnia. My girlfriend helps wake me up so I’m on time for classes, and there’s no travel time so I can sleep a bit longer. 

It was such a great feeling knowing that something good came out of what normally feels like a curse. I am so thankful that I was one of the students chosen to receive this scholarship.”

— Tanner, studying Computer Science at University of Wisconsin-Stout, JJNS Recipient 2020

“Someone believed in my capabilities”

“My favorite class so far is a discussion course called Is Our Democracy Broken? I enjoy having the opportunity to discuss politics with my professors and peers.

Managing narcolepsy at college has its difficult moments, mostly due to environmental influences (such as long periods of rainy weather). Periodic napping has helped me cope with some of those symptoms. Covid-19 has made it difficult to form meaningful relationships with my peers and my professors, but I am optimistic about the future

Receiving the Jack & Julie Narcolepsy Scholarship made me feel more confident as a student, because it feels like someone made an investment in me. Someone believed in my capabilities enough to help me reach my dreams.”

— Vanessa, studying Psychology at Florida Atlantic University, JJNS Recipient 2020

“I am so grateful”

“My favorite course this semester is my writing class, The Political Brain, because the class material on political psychology is very engaging.

A college work-sleep balance is something I am still trying to find, but I am lucky to have an amazing support system at home. Due to the pandemic, GW decided to move all instruction online for the entire year, so I will be continuing online until the end of the school year.

I am so grateful for the opportunity to hear others’ stories of their experiences with narcolepsy. The award also helped me and my family to fund my attending a 4-year university.”

— Meghan, studying International Affairs at George Washington University, JJNS Recipient 2020

“Meant the world to me”

“My favorite class this fall has been Economics! It has been an adjustment, as it is 100% virtual but I’ve found it super interesting and I’m looking forward to future ECON classes!

So far, I haven’t faced any huge challenges in managing my narcolepsy at college. I communicated with my teachers about my condition, and they are willing to help me when I need it. I feel that Covid-19 has made it easier for me to manage my narcolepsy. The online classes allow me to get up and walk around, drink water, and eat snacks when I start to feel tired.

This scholarship meant the world to me and my parents, and it went a long way toward making my college education more financially manageable. I am very grateful to have been selected!”

— Joey, studying Business at Indiana State University, JJNS Recipient 2020

“I finally feel heard, understood, and validated”

“My favorite class in college so far is called Mourning and Melancholia. We have been able to read different texts that focus on difficulties individuals face and how they get over them. It is very inspiring.

Managing my narcolepsy in college has honestly not been easy, especially since my college is all online. I have to make sure I get enough sleep every day, nap when necessary, and keep a strict schedule to make sure I stay on top of my work. It has also been helpful for me to alert my professors about my narcolepsy so they are aware and can provide accommodations when I need them.

Receiving the Jack & Julie Narcolepsy Scholarship means everything to me. I finally feel heard, understood, and validated. I have even been able to meet others with narcolepsy who help me feel less alone and as if I can accomplish anything I set my mind to.”

— Issi, studying Psychology and Art Therapy at The New School, JJNS Recipient 2020

“Fortified my resolve”

“Every day, I dedicate the majority of my time to attending classes and doing assignments or studying, but when I spend time on my painting class it does not feel like schoolwork. With art, I can immediately enjoy the fruits of my labor.

Managing my narcolepsy in college has definitely been a learning experience, but I am constantly around peers who have their own unique hardships to overcome. Together, we hold each other accountable for self-care. In my case, self-care means not pushing myself beyond my limits.

Receiving the Jack & Julie Narcolepsy Scholarship has lightened my load this year by opening up the option of not finding an on-campus job this semester. By introducing me to so many strong individuals who carry a similar burden, yet live their best lives every day, the scholarship has fortified my resolve to not allow narcolepsy to limit my future.

— Kayden, double-majoring in Chemical Engineering and Studio Art at Rice University, JJNS Recipient 2020

“Made me feel like I wasn’t alone”

“My favorite class is Introduction to Communication Sciences and Disorders. I’m really enjoying learning about speech, language, and hearing. I also like the class because I’m able to be in person once a week.

I was nervous that college would overwhelm me with being chronically tired. However, managing narcolepsy has been easier than I anticipated. I have a great support system at Syracuse University. I also feel fortunate to have a great roommate and friends who are supportive and understanding of my condition. I still feel tired most days, but maintaining a schedule has helped me manage my school work.

I felt honored to receive the Jack & Julie Narcolepsy Scholarship. I’ve never met anyone else with narcolepsy, and I’ve often felt like no one understands what I experience on an everyday basis. Seeing all of the past and present recipients made me feel like I wasn’t alone.”

— Giselle, studying International Relations at Syracuse University, JJNS Recipient 2020

“It meant a lot to have someone understand my struggles”

“My favorite class so far is Human Communication.

Managing my narcolepsy at college has been hard, because I am online due to Covid-19 and get really sleepy when I’m sitting in one place for a long time. Attending class remotely makes it a lot harder to balance when I should go to sleep because my professors give so much online work.

It meant a lot to have someone understand my struggles. The Jack & Julie Narcolepsy Scholarship impacted me and helped me pay for books.”

— Trinity, studying Neuroscience at Georgia State University, JJNS Recipient 2020

“There are other people out there who care about my well being”

“My favorite class so far is Philosophy. It’s really entertaining and makes you think a lot!

Handling my idiopathic hypersomnia has been a challenge with all of the free time I have. My friends are very supportive of me, though, which encourages me! Covid-19 made almost all of my classes online, which leads to me having a lot of free time. I have a hard time finding things to do, so I generally fall asleep. It has been a struggle to remain awake all the time. 

Receiving this scholarship made me feel recognized. Having an uncommon condition such as idiopathic hypersomnia made me feel alone. Knowing that there are other people out there who care about my well being is amazing!”

— Luke, studying Criminal Justice at Iowa State University, JJNS Recipient 2020

“Made me feel loved by an entire community”

“So far, I am really loving my Community & Environmental Sociology class. I find it fascinating how intertwined our environment and society are and how both impact each other.

My college friends have been really supportive of me, and I am proud of myself for how open and confident I have become when telling others about my narcolepsy. Plus, the flexibility of college schedules makes it easier to adjust my class times to what works best for me, which makes it much easier to manage my narcolepsy.

For a long time after my diagnosis, I was ashamed of my narcolepsy and tried to hide it from myself and my friends. It took me a while to finally accept who I was, and receiving this scholarship helped me regain my self-confidence and made me feel loved by an entire community.”

— Laura Dawn, University of Wisconsin-Madison, JJNS Recipient 2020

“Shows me how supportive the narcolepsy community is”

“My favorite class so far is definitely Elementary German. Even though it is online, it is still interactive and I actually want to pursue a minor in German now.

Adjusting to college with narcolepsy has been more difficult than I thought it would be, but I think I am managing it well, and it really helps to have a support system. I have learned how to advocate for myself and work with my school’s Disability Department to get the appropriate accommodations.

Receiving the Jack & Julie Narcolepsy Scholarship means so much to me and shows me how supportive the narcolepsy community is. I am so grateful for this opportunity!”

— Lily, studying Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology, JJNS Recipient 2020

“Incredibly grateful that there was a community of other students”

Chemical Engineering is my favorite class. Learning the techniques and logic that go into chemical engineering processes greatly satisfies my academic curiosity and passion for problem solving.

I’m taking classes online because of Covid-19, which presents benefits and challenges for managing my narcolepsy. My university and professors are extremely understanding, and provide accommodations such as online recorded lectures and testing modifications. Staying at home makes it much more convenient to access my bedroom to take naps or exercise when I need it. However, I find it difficult to focus during class and receive the in-person interactions that normally keep me energized.

I was honored to receive the Jack & Julie Narcolepsy Scholarship. I felt incredibly grateful that there was a community of other students who face the same struggles with narcolepsy as I do.”

— Ryan, studying Chemical Engineering with a concentration in Sustainable Energy at University of Southern California, JJNS Recipient 2020

“Proud of myself for sharing my story”

“My favorite class is Introduction to Communication Sciences and Disorders. I really enjoy learning about the various disorders and how it affects the communication and learning abilities of children.

Managing narcolepsy in college is not very difficult for me. Having breaks between classes and having a room to myself allows me to take naps and breaks when I need them throughout the day. My strategy is to work ahead of time so I don’t have to stay up late the night before an assignment is due.

When I received the Jack & Julie Narcolepsy Scholarship, I felt proud of myself for sharing my story. When I was first diagnosed, I didn’t like to share with other people, but now, I love sharing my experiences. The award impacted me because I was able to meet and talk to other people who also have narcolepsy, which is something I had never done before. It meant a lot to know that other people have experiences similar to mine!

— Maya, studying Speech Language Pathology at Duquesne University, JJNS Recipient 2020

“My voice was finally heard” 

“Although chemistry is difficult, I really like my professor.

To manage my narcolepsy at college, I spread out my schedule so that I am able to take a nap in the morning and afternoon. With all of my classes being online due to Covid-19, I am able to save time from having to walk to those classes. This gives me more time to take naps

Receiving the Jack & Julie Narcolepsy Scholarship meant a lot to me. It gave me a sense of community in the narcolepsy world and made me feel like my voice was finally heard.”

— Amanda, studying Neuroscience at The Ohio State University, JJNS Recipient 2020

“I felt very lucky” 

“So far my favorite class in college is my chemistry lab. We have a lab due each week and I find them challenging but enjoyable.

Managing my narcolepsy in college has not been very difficult, and Covid-19 has not had any effects on it.

Receiving the Jack & Julie Narcolepsy Scholarship was an awesome surprise and really helped me pay for my textbooks. I felt very lucky to have received it.”

— Kevin, studying Mechanical Engineering at George Mason University, JJNS Recipient 2020

“There are people in the world who see and appreciate me” 

“My favorite class in college so far is definitely Psychology. I absolutely love getting to learn about the mind and behavior.

Every single one of my classes is online due to Covid-19, which is definitely not ideal for someone with a sleep disorder. I found that out quickly when using technology for the majority of my days left me feeling exhausted. Now that I’m a couple of months in, I have developed strategies and routines that work for me, and I am doing so well.

To me, receiving the Jack & Julie Narcolepsy Scholarship means there are people in the world who see and appreciate me for who I am, and recognize that having a sleep disorder doesn’t hold me back from doing incredible things and excelling in all my endeavors in life.”

— Catherine, studying Communication Disorders at Auburn University, JJNS Recipient 2020

“A community that supports my educational endeavors”

“My favorite class so far is US Government.

So far, managing narcolepsy in college has been a mix of good and bad. I overslept for one class once, but I’ve been very communicative with my professors, and they have been really friendly and cooperative with accommodations. I was hesitant to live on campus because of Covid-19, but I got a single dorm as an accommodation for narcolepsy, which is incredibly helpful and allows me to properly social distance.

Receiving the Jack & Julie Narcolepsy Scholarship allowed me to be more independent in my education and helped me manage on my own while in a different city from my family. I feel like I am part of a community that supports my educational endeavors despite my disadvantages.”

— Corissa, University of North Texas, JJNS Recipient 2020

“Made me feel good about who I am”

“My favorite class so far is my Sophomore Seminar, which I was able to take even though it’s my first year at college. Different speakers come in, and share their experiences working in various career paths that stem from the same degree.

With Covid-19, it has been challenging to motivate myself to go online, attend classes, and check for homework. Thankfully, all my professors are super understanding and supportive of me. All my classes are online, which is nice because I can wake up just a few minutes before class starts, and take naps in between classes in my own bed.

Receiving the Jack & Julie Narcolepsy Scholarship meant so much to me. I started working since the day I turned 15 so I could save money for college. But even then, I had a lot of expenses and it just wasn’t enough for school. I felt “misplaced” having narcolepsy, but this scholarship made me feel good about who I am.”

— Amber, studying Animal Sciences/Pre-veterinary at Oregon State University, JJNS Recipient 2020

“There are people who care”

“My favorite class in college right now is Human Anatomy and Physiology.

College has been going pretty well, other then the fact that I fall asleep on Zoom often. Having to be online only because of Covid-19 is very hard with narcolepsy.

This award meant a lot to me. It showed me that there are other people out there dealing with the same thing I am going through. It also showed me that there are people who care about my condition.”

— Brady, Pre-med at Eastern Oregon University, JJNS Recipient 2020

“Community of people like me to validate my struggle”

“My favorite class so far has been my Biology 101.

Managing my narcolepsy at college has not been easy, but much easier than high school. Now that I don’t have to sit through classes for 8 hours straight I can schedule naps in between classes, so that I stay productive throughout the day. The restrictions my college has due to Covid-19 have also made it easier, since most of my classes are online.

Receiving the Jack & Julie Narcolepsy Scholarship was extremely beneficial financially and helped me find a community of people like me to validate my struggle.”

— Laila, studying Biological Sciences at Purdue University Northwest, JJNS Recipient 2020

“Encouragement, compassion and genuine kindness”

“I really enjoy my Landscape Design class. It gives me the opportunity to develop my eye for detail and design, and explore my love of nature and interest in designing outdoor spaces.

I’m incredibly grateful for the freedom and flexibility I have with my time here in college. It gives me the opportunity to take a power nap or two in the afternoon, which is something I struggled with all throughout junior high and high school. Many of my classes have recorded lectures due to Covid-19, which allows me to watch the lecture when I know I’ll be fully awake. I can even pause the lecture if I get tired, take a nap, and then pick up where I left off.

This scholarship has truly been a blessing in my life. Not only do I appreciate the financial support, but the encouragement, compassion, and genuine kindness I’ve received from this scholarship program mean more than words can say and I’m beyond thankful for it!”

— Rachel, studying Graphic Design at Iowa State University, JJNS Recipient 2020

“I felt really happy to become part of a community”

“My favorite college class so far is a seminar called Empathy in Detective Fiction.

Managing idiopathic hypersomnia in college has had its ups and downs, but I have a really great support system that has made my college experience amazing. My friends and my roommate have been incredibly supportive and have made my transition to college so much easier. Juggling IH and Covid-19 has definitely made for an interesting first semester of college, but overall I’ve had an extremely positive experience even amidst all the chaos.

Receiving the Jack & Julie Narcolepsy Scholarship meant a lot to me because idiopathic hypersomnia is such a huge part of my life. I felt really happy to become a part of a community of other people who have gone through similar experiences.”

— Phoebe, studying Forensic Biology and Criminal Justice at The Ohio State University, JJNS Recipient 2020

“Allowed me to have financial security”

“My favorite class in college so far is Advanced Breads. You learn how to make different types of dough, and make different shapes with them.

For the most part managing my idiopathic hypersomnia at college has been easy, but some days are definitely harder than others. Covid-19 has just ruined the actual college experience, but hasn’t affected my IH at all.

Receiving the scholarship has allowed me to have financial security knowing that I have a little bit more spending money in school.”

— Madison, studying Baking and Pastry at Johnson and Wales University, JJNS Recipient 2020

“Filled with encouragement”

Anthropology is my favorite course this semester. It offers a unique perspective on humanity’s prehistoric origins and is also much more relevant to my chosen field of study than I expected it to be.

Dealing with narcolepsy at college hasn’t been much of a challenge; it’s about the same as in high school. That being said, I’m still thankful to have supportive friends and family there to guide me whenever I do have minor incidents. My university’s Covid-19 considerations and policies haven’t had much of an impact on my circumstances. If anything, taking classes online makes me feel more comfortable since I can take a nap as soon as I log off.

I was filled with encouragement upon receiving the scholarship. It makes me optimistic to know that there is greater community out there with the same struggles as me.”

— Samuel, studying Political Science at Northern Arizona University, JJNS Recipient 2020

“I’m not alone”

“My favorite class is Foundations in Art. It is very time consuming but a great introduction to art.

Honestly, managing narcolepsy at college has been a struggle. I am finding it difficult to get enough rest and I haven’t had the best experience. Covid-19 policies have been beneficial, in the sense that when I was quarantined I could sleep and didn’t worry about my cataplexy since I was alone. 

Receiving this scholarship showed me that other people are in the same position I am, and it let me know I’m not alone.”

— Kaitey, studying Art Education at Anderson University, JJNS Recipient 2020

Your Impact

All this is because of YOU. The generosity of supporters, families, other non-profits, and corporations is what enabled Project Sleep’s Jack & Julie Narcolepsy Scholarship to award 95 scholarships in just seven years.

A huge thank you to the Hypersomnia Foundation for partnering with Project Sleep this year to award six scholarships to students with idiopathic hypersomnia. In addition, special thanks to Jazz Pharmaceuticals and Harmony Biosciences, LLC, for their generous contributions to support this year’s program.

Support Big Dreams

Project Sleep aims to release the 2021 Jack & Julie Narcolepsy Scholarship application the first week of January 2021.

You can play a role in improving the lives of others and building a brighter future with an end-of-year tax-deductible gift to Project Sleep today.  Your donation or Facebook Fundraiser in honor of #GivingTuesday, Dec. 1, 2020 will go so far to support BIG DREAMS. Thank you!

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  • As the parent of one of these students, I cannot thank you enough for this scholarship and what it has meant to my daughter. This program gave her the validation she needed to accept her condition and move forward to celebrate the amazing young woman that she is! What a beautiful gift this has been, thank you!!!

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