Thank You from College! Updates from our 2019 Scholarship Recipients

This year, generous donors joined with Project Sleep to award a record 18 Jack & Julie Narcolepsy Scholarships to college-bound students exemplifying courage and strength 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.

“Recognition for the challenges narcolepsy has presented”

“My favorite class so far has definitely been my First Year Seminar titled ‘Trials of the Century.’ During this course we exam famous court cases and their impact on the judicial system. The class is incredibly fascinating and has inspired me to take a government law course next semester!

Transitioning to college has been an adjustment for me. It helps a lot to have a flexible class schedule so I am able to get in naps and reboot when I’m tired.

This award means a lot to me, as it validates something I battled unknowingly for so long. Having recognition for all of the challenges narcolepsy has presented me with is indescribable, and definitely something I am very grateful for.”

— Allison, Lafayette College, JJNS Recipient 2019

“A larger support system for people like me”

“I’m enjoying my Media Editing class because I get to work with really cool and fun editing software programs, and because much of the work is ‘hands-on’ I don’t feel as tired during class.

I scheduled my classes to not have any in the early morning. Most of my classes are late morning or afternoon, which has made getting up in the morning much more manageable.

Receiving this award means a great deal – it made me realize I am not alone in my struggle with narcolepsy, and there is a larger support system out there for people like me.

— Thomas, studying Digital Culture (Music) at Arizona State University, JJNS Recipient 2019

“Allowed me to see one of the positive sides of having narcolepsy”

“Since arriving at Texas A&M, I have been competing for the school’s cross country team. Being a member of the team has provided me with a great group of friends and academic resources that eased the transition to college life.

Both the people working with disability services and my professors have been extremely helpful in my time here. Although I still struggle to stay awake many times throughout the week, my schedule allows for me to take naps between classes and get to bed early in order to keep a consistent routine.

This scholarship allowed me to see one of the positive sides of having narcolepsy, being that it sets me apart from those around me. Having someone acknowledge and appreciate the unique nature of my situation has given me confidence and means to continue pursuing my goals.”

— Mary, studying Allied Health at Texas A&M University, JJNS Recipient 2019

“One of the happiest days of my senior year”

“So far, my favorite activity has been hanging out with my classmates after math class. It’s been nice to just chill after class with some good people.

Living with idiopathic hypersomnia, I do constantly fear sleeping in late and missing my first class, because if I have more than three unexcused absences my grade will drop in the class.

Receiving the Jack & Julie Narcolepsy Scholarship was a huge honor for me. It was one of the happiest days of my senior year.”

—Aaron, studying nursing at University of Alabama at Birmingham, JJNS Recipient 2019

“People on my side rooting for me”

“My favorite event so far at the University of Iowa was learning all of the crazy cheers at my first football game! The environment makes you feel proud to be a Hawkeye!

The disabilities center was extremely helpful with narcolepsy accommodations! I so surprised to be given extended time on tests, note taking help during class, the ability to record my classes, ability to be absent (as needed) and extended time on assignments (as needed). I have never felt so supported and understood by the center as well as all of my professors.

Full disclosure, going into college is a really scary thing, ESPECIALLY with narcolepsy. Receiving this award made me feel like there were people on my side rooting for me in the college process. It made me feel like I had support from people just like me – who have narcolepsy and were in my exact same shoes once.”

— Emily P., studying Theater at University of Iowa, JJNS Recipient 2019

“Made me feel accepted, and capable of doing well”

Elementary Korean is the class I enjoy most at Georgia Tech. It’s a language I used to study independently before I had the chance to take the class.

Adjusting to college has been challenging. The late nights required for my school work have negatively impacted my grades. I am often late for my 9AM class, missing the mandatory attendance quizzes.

Receiving the Jack & Julie Narcolepsy Scholarship made me feel accepted, and capable of doing well in the end despite my sleepy struggles. This is the first time I have received or been involved with anything in the narcolepsy community. I now feel like I’m not alone.”

— Khalaya, studying Computer Science at Georgia Institute of Technology, JJNS Recipient 2019

“Use this gift to set a good example for others with narcolepsy”

“What I’ve enjoyed most about college so far is building models and meeting new interesting people in my architecture studio.

To manage my narcolepsy, I’ve started using a sonic boom alarm clock and established productive habits and routines. Both of those combined have definitely helped.

Receiving this scholarship showed me that my problem actually matters and it meant that I had to use this gift to set a good example for others with narcolepsy.

— Sam W., studying architecture at the University of Kansas, JJNS Recipient 2019

“Validated for my struggles and small triumphs”

“At Tulane, I’ve loved meeting new people through volunteer events and student organizations.

My teachers and disability counselors have been so helpful in supporting my management of narcolepsy in college. They have helped me get into later classes, communicated with my teachers, and taught me overall strategies for work management.

Receiving the Jack & Julie Narcolepsy Scholarship made me feel validated for my struggles and small triumphs surrounding my narcolepsy, and gave me the confidence I needed for a great transition into college. I am so thankful for receiving this scholarship!”

— Samantha, studying Political Science and Sociology at Tulane University, JJNS Recipient 2019

“I felt relieved”

“My favorite class at Pepperdine so far is Great Books. I enjoy it because I get to read some outstanding works of literature and engage in thoughtful discussion about these works.

I have been able to maintain a structured sleep schedule, so managing my narcolepsy has not been much of a problem.

I felt relieved when I received this scholarship. Thank you for your kindness!”

— Trenton, studying History at Pepperdine University, JJNS Recipient 2019

“Introduced me to a new community and encouraged me to achieve my goals”

“I really enjoy my Exploratory class. We take a lot of career aptitude and personality tests, and then discuss the results in groups. I have learned a lot about other people and have discovered passions I never even knew I had.

I had a lot of self-doubt coming into a large University with such a highly reputable program. Fortunately, Auburn has been wonderful to welcome me with open arms. There is an amazing system set in place for people like me, which gives me the opportunity to reach my full potential.

I am so grateful for this scholarship; it introduced me to a new community and encouraged me to achieve my goals. Whenever I have self-doubt, it is a great feeling to know that I have the support from people I have never even met.”

— Emily S., Auburn University, JJNS Recipient 2019

“An almost indescribable feeling”

“My Art History class has been fantastic, and has taught me so much about the cultures behind the beautiful works of art that are so prized today. My English class has also been incredible, because I’ve made several new friends and gotten to dive into Shakespearean literature in a college setting.

Managing idiopathic hypersomnia has proven to be a challenge (pushing through the perpetual exhaustion, taking time out of my busy study schedule to sleep, and trying to work around the side effects of my medications) but thus far, I think it has been going well. My friends, family, and even my career advisor have proven to be incredibly supportive (shoutout to Jessi Billings at UWSP, who has been beyond absolutely amazing).

Receiving this scholarship was an almost indescribable feeling, because it is always a struggle to make people understand what it’s like to have idiopathic hypersomnia. To know, for certain, that there is a group of people out there who understand and are willing to support me on my college journey is amazing.”

— Sydney, studying Communications at University of Wisconsin Stevens Point, JJNS Recipient 2019

“The boost which helps fund my university degree”

“I’m really enjoying the clubs and people I do stuff with on campus at ASU.

Adjusting to college with idiopathic hypersomnia has been good. I make sure to take my medication and being consistent is what matters the most for me.

I greatly appreciate this scholarship as the boost which helps fund my university degree.”

— Samuel D., studying Electrical Engineering at ASU, JJNS Recipient 2019

“Helped me realize that my diagnosis doesn’t define me”

“My favorite activity in college is going on outdoor adventures with my friends – like going to a mountain overlook to watch the sunset and to stargaze.

At first, managing my narcolepsy with cataplexy in my first semester of college was difficult. I couldn’t have done it without my friends who are constantly supportive and encouraging.

I felt grateful when I received the Jack & Julie Narcolepsy Scholarship because I knew this award would help me go further in my education. This award helped me realize that my diagnoses doesn’t define me but it does make me a stronger person.

— Katelyn, studying Early Childhood Education/ Special Education at University of North Georgia, JJNS Recipient 2019

“Reminded me that I wasn’t alone in the world”

“My Introduction to Business 101 has been my most enjoyable class so far. The professor is a smart man who i believe has really furthered my understanding of particular things.

Managing my narcolepsy in college has been very similar to high school.

Receiving the Jack & Julie Narcolepsy Scholarship reminded me that people out there are advocating for people like me. It reminded me that i wasn’t alone in the world dealing with this disorder.”

— Cameron, studying Business at Texas A&M

“Gave me the support and confidence to share about my idiopathic hypersomnia” 

“I am loving college thus far! My sorority, Pi Beta Phi, makes FSU feel like home, and has given me so many new friends and fun experiences in my first semester here.

Managing my Idiopathic hypersomnia in college definitely has some unique challenges, because sleep is a low priority for most college students. But establishing good sleeping/napping, exercising, and studying habits has helped me immensely. I am also very thankful for my roommate, who is patient despite my multiple alarms, and daily naps.

Receiving this scholarship has truly been a blessing in my life. Not only has it taken away financial stress, but it gave me the support and confidence to share with new people about my idiopathic hypersomnia.”

— Hanna, studying Communication Science and Disorders at Florida State University, JJNS Recipient 2019

“Reminds me that narcolepsy is not just something for me to kick under the rug and hide” 

“My favorite thing since starting college has been joining a sorority and being excited about my introduction to psychology.

To manage my narcolepsy, remembering that I have to put my daily health and narcolepsy first has made me have to make tough choices in order to do what’s best for me.

It reminds me that narcolepsy is not just something for me to kick under the rug and hide. It’s a normal part of me that I’m allowed to go through and focus on.

— Hannah, studying Pre-Med Psychology at the University of Alabama, JJNS Recipient 2019

“People who understand and support me” 

“My favorite classes are the ones that are concentrated around drum set performance. Double bass drum studies is different than the jazz based classes and challenges me with a different style. All the professors at Berklee are talented and have something to offer.

It’s been a bit of a struggle managing narcolepsy. Class times are not always the best and either they are early morning or back to back, leaving little time to rest. The disabilities department has been very helpful in allowing additional absences, early registration and even a reduced course load if needed. Most professors have been supportive with the exception of a few.

To receive this scholarship meant to me that although there are challenges, there are people who understand and support me.”

— Jacob, studying Performance at Berklee College of Music, JJNS Recipient 2019

“A vote of confidence that I could not only survive college, but succeed”

“I am really enjoying my Design and Color class. We learn art principals and the homework doesn’t even feel like homework since it is all art projects.

I was scared about how I would make it to class in college with idiopathic hypersomnia, especially classes earlier in the day. I received so much support from professors and disability services. Even from my roommate is patient when I don’t wake up to my alarm in the morning.

Receiving the Jack & Julie Narcolepsy Scholarship felt like a vote of confidence that I could not only survive college, but succeed. It also helped me to feel less alone, knowing others who are handling college with sleep disorders.”

— Caroline, studying Graphic Design at Brigham Young University – Idaho, JJNS Recipient 2019

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 68 scholarships in just six years.

A huge thank you to the Hypersomnia Foundation for partnering with Project Sleep this year to award five 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 2020 Jack & Julie Narcolepsy Scholarship application the first week of January 2020.

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. 3, 2019 will go so far to support BIG DREAMS. Thank you!

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  • What a bunch of great students, covering many schools and fields of study – – each another rising voice just by being there. I applaud all


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