Entering the first year of college comes with the normal fears that everyone has in common. The normal college experiences are practically guaranteed for every trembling freshman, but I had the added responsibility of navigating the lessons of independence while living with type 1 diabetes. With a good support system and taking full responsibility of my diabetes, life was just fine!
I am near starting my second year of college at Eastern Michigan University! Looking back at the transition from high school to college, I want to reflect on the changes. This was a big step into adulthood, no more Mom in your ear reminding you to change your pump site or to bolus for your meal. It’s all on you!
Here are some tips that seriously aided me in succeeding in both health and academics in my first year of college:
1: BE OPEN!!
The most important thing is to tell your new friends that you have T1D! Make sure your roommates, friends, and even your RA know how to use the glucagon.
At EMU, I visited my Disability Center and received an accommodation letter to give to my professors. This is just for emergencies. My letter tells my professors that if I were to have a diabetes emergency he can give me extra time to take a test, allow me to have snacks in the classroom, and alert him that my CGM might go off during class.
3: Pump supplies!!
At home it’s easy to have a closet full of pump supplies. In a dorm room that is kinda lacking storage space, it is a different story. What I did was I packed a medium sized tote and always communicated home to be sure I am restocking my supplies! If you live far way from home and don’t have any access to go to a pharmacy to pick up your insulin and other supplies, most schools have a pharmacy on campus that you can get your prescriptions sent to!
4: Daily Routine!
It is important to get into a daily routine! It is hard enough for a student without diabetes to get into a normal routine let alone adding on a possible low blood sugar that could lead you to running late because you had to eat a quick snack and not continue to go low walking to class. With that being said, be sure to always have sugar and your glucagon on you at all times!
I honestly has such an amazing first year at college and although I went through some struggles with the transition it surely didn’t hold me back from living a year full of success!