College Transition with Diabetes

Move-In Day with Patrick Rudy, DASH’s school program coordinator and guest blogger

Move-in day for any college student can be a rather foreboding experience – it could be the last time you live and/or rely on family. For me, and doubtless for many collegiate diabetics, this experience can be rather fearsome and a snap back into reality.

I began to actually realize for the first time that I would be completely responsible for myself. Sure, roommates and resident assistants (RAs) can be extensions of help, but never quite like parents and guardians could be. What’s more, the prospect that I would need to worry about my supply of test strips, syringes, pods, insulin and more. Luckily, my parents are keeping me on their health plan as long as possible (age 26 being the legal cutoff). However, it now falls upon myself to be attentive and in charge of obtaining said supplies.

I informed my roommate and RA of my condition, how I can be dealt with should the need arise and some small talk on the matter. They were understanding and helpful on the matter, but I know that this is where I take charge and ensure that my health is in good condition. I made it a point to head out to the store to get extra water on hand for highs, some sugary foods for lows and a mini-fridge for insulin cooling.

It has become very habitual for me to conceal my diabetes – all of my supplies and fridge full of insulin are tucked away from visibility whenever a fellow neighbor visits the dorm – which shouldn’t necessarily be the case. We are living in an age where diabetes – especially Type 2 – is on the rise and will affect America in a big way (CDC and ADA estimates are 33% of total population by 2050). It is a responsibility I feel that I should shoulder from now on, even if that means doing the little things, like giving curious passerbys a very brief overview of diabetes and how to avoid/deal with it.

All in all, it has been a good start to college life, and I feel comfortable with my position for the moment. I have the support of my parents and floormates, but have yet to reach out to any on-campus diabetic support groups and the like. Keep posted.

-Patrick

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