How did eczema affect your experience as a student?
Eczema has ALWAYS affected me as a student. I remember being self conscious of it as early as pre-school. In elementary school it was difficult, because kids are so young and abrasive. It’s also a time where kids are just grasping the concept that everyone is different. The most difficult part was my lack of concentration, due to my skin.
Middle School wasn’t much better. Most students were focused on puberty and parties. I, on the other hand, was just coming to grips that my skin condition wasn’t going to go away. That was a hard pill to swallow.
High School was better than middle school but not by much. I kept myself active in sports and other activities to keep the focus off my skin. But seeing other students able to wear the latest fashion, take a gym class without their skin flaring up, or hearing someone freak out about one pimple was hard.
College was INCREDIBLE. I say this because my classes weren’t back to back, there for I didn’t have to shuffle around in uncomfortable skin. I was able to take a break and tend to my skin if need be. It gave me a freedom that I wasn’t able to experience in elementary, middle or high school. And I met some of the most amazing people who are my best friends still to this day.
What advice would you give to students who are living with eczema?
As someone who endured eczema throughout my schooling, my best advice would be to keep a strict schedule. It’s crucial to minimize stress and take care of yourself. Make sure you’re keeping a healthy and active lifestyle. This means eating properly, getting the daily amount recommended exercise, keeping moisturizers with you at all times and making sure you get enough water and proper sleep. These simple things will make a huge difference.
My take away advice for those attending school this fall with eczema, is to connect with other students that have it. Social Media is a wonderful platform, that I wish came out when I was in Elementary School. You have the gift of connecting with others and sharing your story, so take advantage of that.
IC Research is dedicated to helping students, like Ashley, contribute to clinical research that will change the future. Visit https://icresearchtn.net/studies/atopic-dermatitis-eczema/ or call (615) 410-3460 to learn how you can get involved.