Going to college is one of the most exciting periods of any young person’s life. If you or your child has Type 1 Diabetes, here are a few tips to make the transition as smooth as possible.
Getting into College
- Get in touch with the Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) office prior to taking the SAT and ACT. Request special accommodations just in case your blood sugar runs low or high during the test so that you’ll have time to take care of it and recuperate before resuming the test without losing valuable time.
- There are many scholarships for students with Type 1 Diabetes, many listed on the Diabetes Scholars Foundation website.
Preparing for College
- Decide whether or not you’d like to stay with your pediatric endocrinologist or transition to an adult endocrinologist. If you’re going out of state, look for one near your campus; if you are staying in state, it’s your choice on whether you want want one in your home town or near school.
- Buy a medical cabinet or something to the same effect so that all your diabetic supplies are contained and easy to manage.
- Change the shipping address of your diabetic supplies from your home address to your school address.
- Tell your roommate(s) that you are a diabetic and give them a quick run through on what they can expect. It would be great to provide them with a cheat sheet that could be posted on the refrigerator.
- Get in touch with the disabilities office on your campus. This will make it easier for you when you are sick or have any other diabetes-related issues. The office typically helps students get in touch with professors and work out a plan to get caught up if need be. They can also provide you with the necessary documentation so that you can have a snack in class.
- Do not slack off on taking blood sugars and insulin. Studying with highs and lows can impact your grades negatively. By keeping good control, you will be able to study more effectively. Also, pay attention to how you feel when partaking in late night studying and adjust accordingly.
- Try to eat as healthy as possible. Typically the on-campus cafeterias will have menus with carb counts but if not or if you are eating somewhere else, install the CalorieKing app on your phone. This app has every type of food possible with accurate carb counts.
- Exercise! Get a workout buddy so that you both keep each other accountable.
- At parties, make sure you tell at least one friend that you are diabetic so that if something happens they will know. If you choose to imbibe (after age 21, of course) make sure to test your blood sugar before and after and eat a good meal.
Activism and Networking Ideas
- If you want to reach out and meet other diabetics on your campus, check out the College Diabetes Network website. The College Diabetes Network is a nationwide program that connects diabetics so that they have a “safe place” and can exchange knowledge by creating a support system for each other, whether it’s a calling list or social events. If a chapter doesn’t exist on your campus, it’s very easy to create one.
- If you are in a sorority or a fraternity, doing the Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes is a great philanthropy event idea.
Staying proactive about your diabetes will minimize the risk of anything unwanted happening and will also provide you and your family the confidence needed for this exciting new chapter!