Healing takes courage: How to find academic success online while facing illness

May 22, 2018 · 2 min read · By Taylor Brune

ASU Online graduate and brand ambassador Taylor Brune talks about how she battles health complications from Lyme Disease while earning her degree online.


In 2009, I graduated high school and began my college career at a local community college. During my time earning my associates degree, I became diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. When this occurred in 2012, the adjustment from being a non-diabetic to a diabetic changed my life drastically. I would miss classes due to being too hypoglycemic to drive. I would walk from class to class on each end of the campus in the heat and become sick with low blood sugar. Diabetes made going to school nearly impossible.

It took quite a few months for me to adjust to this new disease, and when I did, I decided to move to Los Angeles, California to attend a State University to complete my bachelor’s degree. Even though my diabetes was under control by 2013, I began to have other strange symptoms and health problems. I was in and out of the hospital the entire seven months I lived in LA. It was truly difficult for me sitting in class when I felt very sick. It was hard to concentrate while I was trying not to pass out or vomit. I had to eventually move back home to San Diego to pursue my health mystery. It took from 2013-2014 for a doctor to finally diagnose me with Lyme Disease.

I began treatment and decided to take a year off from pursing my bachelors, as treatment made it nearly impossible to function as a normal human being. But because I need a purpose and goal to focus on during challenging times, I enrolled in an online integrative nutrition school for a health coach certification. I figured I could work at my own pace on something I was passionate about: learning how to heal my life through my diet and stress management. I knew once I got off treatment, I could then use my certification from this online school to help others change their diets and become knowledgeable about their own health.

A sign reading "Nevertheless she persisted" sits among books and paperwork.

From there, I found ASU Online and knew immediately that this was the school for me to finish my bachelor’s degree. I transferred all my credits and changed my major to Integrative Health. I was still in treatment at the time for my Lyme, amongst new-found autoimmune diseases that were caused by the Lyme. I was able to do online school while spending my days at doctor offices. This self-paced schedule worked best for me and my learning abilities. Each person is different in the way they learn best, but my advice for anyone who is suffering a chronic illness and has a difficult time being on campus is to pursue ASU online.

The courses have multiple resources to learn, and since day one, I have had guidance counselors with ASU help me navigate through my challenging moments. Being able to do schoolwork from your own bed or hooked up to an IV seriously gives you the freedom to take control of your future. Illness tries to steal that freedom, and steal our goals, hopes and dreams, but having access to your goals through the tool of ASU Online will help you overcome the challenges you face with illness and being on campus. There are so many benefits to doing school online, such as networking with other students across America through class discussion boards and any ASU events that you fly out to, flexible time management in courses, and accessible tools, resources and counselors offered to you.

I currently am still doing ASU Online and pursuing my Bachelor’s in Integrative Health. I am off treatment, but I still attend doctor’s office visits and IV days for maintenance with my diseases. I have acquired a full-time job during the week and can come home from work and do my schoolwork at night and on weekends, if need be. It is doable to work towards your goals, no matter what circumstance you are in. It’s a matter of faith in yourself and perseverance when times become rough, that is the true test of your ability to succeed in life.


About the Author

Taylor Brune is a brand ambassador from Vista, California. She graduated with an online Bachelor of Science in integrative health.

We're so excited to share Taylor’s story! Taylor is a part of our #LearnASULive team, an ASU Online brand ambassador program highlighting students who are earning their degrees while living their lives to the fullest. If you enjoyed this, be sure to check back for new articles from Taylor so that you can follow along with her journey.

Want to hear from our other ambassadors, too? Use the #LearnASULive hashtag across your favorite social channels to browse through them!

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