How I Learned to Manage My Type 1 Diabetes in College With Help From Others

Posted by Amy on Mon, 07/02/2018 - 12:55 in

Kayley learns to manage type 1 diabetes in college with help from others

When I started my Freshman Year of college I knew things were about to make a full 180° spin. Things were about to change and change FAST, I was moving from a rural farm town in central Massachusetts to the nearby city of Boston to attend college at Wentworth Institute of Technology for Architecture.

I knew that upon entering into college a few things were going to happen:

  1. Classes were going to get harder
  2. Food was no longer going to be healthy
  3. And more than likely diabetes was no longer going to be my first priority

After a summer jammed packed full of trying to absorb ever last bit of sunshine, move in day was finally here… I like to think that Wentworth gives freshman the pretty rare opportunity of living in what they call a suite, this meant I had not only 2 roommates but 9 other girls living in the same suite as me.

Introducing My Roommates to Diabetes

Move-in day was filled with so many happy hellos and tearful goodbyes. It was never said outright by my parents but I knew they were worried, even though this was their second daughter to send to college I can’t imagine it gets easier and it was a whole different ballgame when you throw in type 1 diabetes. I can tell you I was definitely nervous, the move into college was exciting and scary all at the same time.

Leaving everything I knew was probably one of the hardest parts, I had an amazing group of friends and family at home who all understood diabetes management and supported me when I needed it the most. They all knew what to do if I was acting a little funny when I was low, most no longer even heard the beeping of my PDM or my expiring pods and some were even brave enough to help me with the changing of my CGM sensors. But what was going to happen when I move into school?

I was lucky enough to be greeted with open arms into a brand new support system at my home away from home. The people I would meet during my freshman year were some of the most welcoming and eager to learn people I’ve ever met. Most of the girls who were in my suite helped me immensely all year long, from learning to change CGM sensors, to constantly grabbing my snacks when I was low in bed and even accepting my share request from my CGM to keep an eye on my blood sugars when we weren’t together. I couldn’t believe how willing they all were to care for me and help me manage my diabetes.

Discussing T1D With Professors

Another unexpected support system I found at school was my professors. Coming into college I was ready for mean and serious professors who loved to assign loads of work and didn’t want to get to know their students but that wasn’t the case at all. I made sure to reach out to every one of my professors letting them know about what my needs might be pertaining to their individual class and the accommodations I may request regarding my diabetes. Each and every one of my professors made it clear that they cared and I could go to them if I ever needed anything. I even had some professors look more into what T1D was and what it meant for them as a professor. Coming from a small high school where no one besides my closest friends knew what T1D was I wasn’t expecting this at all and caught me by surprise for sure.

Through the transition from high school to college I never imagined creating the support system I have away from home and I am beyond thankful for everyone who has helped support me through this transition. It still amazes me how willing people are to help with something they don’t necessarily know anything about, like diabetes, but are doing it to better the life of someone else!

-Kayley Christian