Getting through school with misophonia is always a struggle. Last school semester, for example, I took several three hour long classes, and I had to wear over the ear headphones for those classes. Wearing headphones for a long period of time gave me a headache, and I could barely concentrate on the lecture even though my triggers were mostly blocked out. I had wished with all my heart that I took classes that weren’t three hours long back then, but now that it’s all over, it’s but a distant memory…
Or so I would think. This fall semester, and the semester after, I’m going to be studying at SDSU. Junior level classes are once a week and two to three hours long. Additionally, these classes are mostly taught at night, when I’m more of a “get my classes done during the day so I have time to do my homework at night” kind of person. I work best at night, so when I was looking at the classes I had to take, I grew anxious at the thought of changing my entire schedule. Any sort of change freaks me out, and I have to mentally prepare myself for that change, and to work with that change. I will have to get used to doing homework during the day; I would have to ask a relative to pick me up at night, as my father takes anxiety medication that makes him drowsy at night; I will have to try to stay awake during class, which in turn could make my misophonia more sensitive. I could go on and on.
Fortunately enough for me, my professors have been approachable and understanding when it comes to misophonia. What I have been doing is emailing them about it, and asking them if I can wear headphones during class. I explain that by doing so, I’ll be able to retain information better and focus on the lecture since my triggers will be blocked. Every professor has let me do this, and it’s thanks to them that I’ve been able to even pass my classes.
However, I wouldn’t have been able to do this in high school. My school was very strict and didn’t allow electronics whatsoever. Most of my teachers were unapproachable, and even the ones that were wouldn’t have let me use headphones if I needed them because “rules were rules”. So, how did I cope in high school? Earplugs. That was all I needed at the time, but as I’ve grown, misophonia has gotten worse, and I’ve been using headphones during my college classes. Perhaps my college experience has been different, but from what I’ve seen, teachers are more open and understanding to the student. They will let you have accommodations. There have been times when I can’t email the professor, so I bring and wear my headphones anyway, and they don’t say anything. They really don’t care, as long as you’re there to learn. This is great for those too shy to talk to their professor about their misophonia, because you really don’t have to. Unless they confront you, you really don’t need to let your professor know (unless they have a rule about electronics, then perhaps you should explain briefly. I’ve had a professor like that, and he was ok with me using my headphones after I explained).
To sum it up:
-Change is inevitable, whether it’s in school or in your daily life. How one deals with that change is up to them. I deal with it by mentally preparing and realizing it will be okay. There will be suffering, but in the end, it will be ok.
-College is amazing once you get by spending money for books, classes, and other materials. Have fun. Make friends. Professors are more understanding than teachers in high school, so wear headphones if you need to. The way you learn isn’t important, as long as you’re learning.