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In the summer before my first year, I was informed that I had been assigned to the residence that I had placed dead last on my ranking. I had given it that position because it is the only off-campus residence, a 15-minute wall away in the heart of busy downtown. My late night walks home would therefore not be passing by safe, university buildings, but instead the closed restaurants and shops of downtown. While Toronto is much safer than many cities around the world, it’s still enough to make a first year student quite uneasy. Especially a diabetic one.Visualize this: I’m studying late at night at Robarts library or working on my studio project at the Daniels Faculty. Feeling satisfied with my progress for the evening, I pack up for home. A minute or so after shutting the door behind me and meeting the Siberia-life Toronto air, I realize my blood sugar is low.Were I assigned a residence on campus, it would be fewer than five minutes until I’d be safely in my room, the source of backup supplies. If I did need to stop, I could easily slip back into a university building to get my glucose tablets. But...
Last month I had the honor of attending the 2018 American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) Conference in Baltimore, MD. Prior to attending the conference I was busy using the conference app and studying the schedule to be sure I could attend as many sessions as possible.The main themes throughout the sessions I attended centered around diversity and inclusion, public health perspectives and of course, the HOT TOPIC of AADE18...PEER SUPPORT!!!One session that really stood out to me was “Listen and Learn: The Perspectives of a Panel of People Living With Diabetes”. Throughout this session the four panelists, including Anna Norton, the CEO of Diabetes Sisters, whom I had met a few months back, shared personal stories and experiences in hopes of shedding light on what diabetes educators (CDEs) were already doing and where there were gaps in care. The ideas that stuck with me were the ongoing mentions of patient-centered care and really meeting people where they were at in order to come up with realistic and manageable treatment plans. One panelist, Stephen from Happy-Medium.net and the podcast “Diabetes by the Numbers”, made the impactful comment that in regards to diabetes management “Sometimes success can be defined as better...
I met Sophie and Charlotte while I was a bit of a mess. Well not really I guess, just the annoying hypoglycemia episodes that we have to deal with sometimes. I was sweaty, a bit nervous, and I felt weak, but I also had an adrenaline rush (the usual symptoms some can relate to with a low blood sugar). I shared with them how extremely low my blood sugar was, in the 30’s, and how my CGM was alerting me that my blood sugar level was decreasing. They were so sweet, asking me if I was okay and if I needed glucose tabs or anything. They know how scary it can be. They get it. And so did the other CDN attendees. From offering glucose tabs, juices, candy, or diabetes necessities. They get it. We get it.To be at the AADE conference devoted to diabetes, type 1, type 2 and the other different types that exist, was just beyond amazing opportunity of a lifetime and I couldn’t be more thankful. All throughout the conference, I learned so much from attending different sessions, meeting CDE’s, networking with amazing people, learning about the different types of research, stopping by the booths of...
"If you don't take this exam, you'll get a zero on it and your final exam will be worth double, which is nearly half of your grade."Not exactly the words any college kid wants to hear from their professor, especially when the student is having an insulin pump malfunction. That's exactly the situation I found myself in my sophomore year of college, and with no established office of disabilities on campus, it was just me advocating against university policy.Don't get me wrong, I absolutely adore the college I go to, and they've provided me with ample opportunities, but the lack of education on diabetes is something that always seems to get in the way no matter where I go.The Health Services center at my University has a program where they'll back up any student who needs to miss class or reschedule an exam, but the student has to email the professor and just CC Health Services. In the past this had worked fine, but for some reason my professor wasn't understanding the severity of sitting through a night class exam without insulin.I used all of the anger and frustration I was feeling to start researching what my rights were as...
The Exhibit Hall at the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) conference was absolutely jaw dropping. There were almost 200 different exhibitors, one being the College Diabetes Network where we had the chance to introduce passersby to our wonderful organization. Some of the exhibitors even had huge signs hanging from the ceiling or their own carpet to denote their booth.Then, imagine over 3,000 Certified Diabetes Educators (CDEs) roaming through the different booths and posters. It definitely comes off as overwhelming at first, so here are my tips for jumping in and getting the most out of not only the AADE Exhibit Hall, but exhibit halls at any diabetes conference.Nail your “Elevator Pitch”You’ll get the chance to introduce yourself and the College Diabetes Network to dozens of CDEs. Many of the attendees were eager to hear our take on the benefits of the organization based on our student perspectives. Working the booth gave me great experience at describing the College Diabetes Network, its outreach, and what it means to me – in under one minute! My public speaking skills benefited from the repeated practice. I also solidified an elevator pitch about myself, as I introduced myself and my career interests to...
By now, most everyone is aware of the advantages of diabetic alert dogs (DAD). Pre-symptomatic alerts on high and low blood sugars alleviate worry about the rollercoaster ride that is blood glucose levels and nighttime lows are less of a concern. I don’t need to tell you about the security or relief I feel with my DAD in hand, but there is a lot more to life with a DAD than the benefits of easier blood sugar management. You surely know why you might want one, but what is the everyday reality of owning a DAD? What is it actually like to have a large breed of dog with you every minute of every day?My college journey took me nine hours from my hometown of Redding, CA down to California State University, Long Beach. My closest family was two hours away, and we really weren’t even close enough for them to know much about diabetes management or emergencies. So in preparation for this major transition, I made the decision to get a diabetic alert dog. I got Wrigley (my DAD) just before my junior year of high school, fully aware that I would need some time to get used to...
 What do you want to do with your life after college?Great question. Ever since I started nursing school, I’ve been asking myself the same thing over and over again.What type of nurse do I want to be?A clinical nurse?An educator?Is there a specialty that resonates with me?During my first year of college, I started to think that once I became a Registered Nurse (RN), maybe someday I could also become a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE). The connections I made with students on my campus and around the country through the College Diabetes Network are what encouraged me to explore this new-found passion I had for working with people with diabetes. I genuinely wanted to learn more about the unique journey every person with diabetes goes through in life and I wanted to use the knowledge and experiences that I’ve had to help support others.However, even in recognizing this passion, there have been days where I’ve questioned if becoming a diabetes educator is really the career path for me…I’ve found that when you tell someone you’re a nurse, they tell you how brave and inspiring you are; but when you tell someone you’re a diabetes educator, they tend to shake their...
Editor's note: we are sad to say "see you later" to our summer interns, Abbey and Danielle, but we know they'll do incredible things! This summer, they worked on a brand new CDN Chapter handbook - we're excited for you to check out all of the great info in it!AbbeyDo you remember your first low blood sugar? I remember mine. It was right before dance class on a Tuesday night. Everything I learned in the hospital had prepared me for this low blood sugar, but still, for some reason, it was terrifying. I was 68. I knew to take a juice with 15g, and wait 15 minutes. Even though I was prepared for my first low blood sugar, I still feared it greatly. With each low blood sugar I experienced, I started to fear less and realized I was equipped to handle these moments.Moving to Boston for the internship at the College Diabetes Network was like my first low blood sugar. I had family and friends giving me instructions on how to live on my own in a new city. I was prepared by their kind words of wisdom, but was still terrified. I was unsure if I was actually...
I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) in August of 2017, just before my fourth year of college. Changing my college lifestyle was challenging, both physically and emotionally; it was hard to accept that I could never again be fully independent and care-free when it came to my health. In addition, many college social events revolve around carbs, and I really struggled to accurately predict carb amounts and bolus appropriately. I soon began to avoid activities in order to prevent the blood sugar roller coaster that would inevitably follow. It was hard to not feel isolated, and I sometimes wished I could go back to being “normal” again.However, my transition was made easier through my involvement with The College Diabetes Network (CDN) at my university. Many of the members of my local CDN Chapter have been living with diabetes for a decade or more, so they have been an incredible resource and support to me as I continue to learn how to effectively manage this new chronic illness. Instead of allowing diabetes to hold me back, I learned that I could make this disease a personal strength and truly live well and thrive with T1D. My love for the...
As a person living with T1D for 12 years, I have often considered going into the field of diabetes education. As I go into my senior year of nursing school at the University of Texas, I am thinking even more about my future career and how I am going to reach my professional goals.This August, I was given the opportunity to attend the AADE Annual Conference in Baltimore, MD through CDN’s NextGen program to learn more about the field of diabetes education. Over the course of four days, I was able to connect with some incredible individuals living with T1D and learn about new devices and groundbreaking research in the diabetes field. I had the opportunity to speak on a panel to around one hundred diabetes educators, connect with a mentor, and network with many individuals working as CDEs (Certified Diabetes Educators).One of the most exciting parts of the conference for me was having the opportunity to speak during CDN’s session on transitioning to independence while living with T1D. I was able to share my personal experiences regarding the transition from high school to college to an audience of both pediatric and adult CDEs. One of the things I shared...

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From The Blog

Naomi tells us her experience with getting accommodations on campus
Sophie's experience at AADE18
Alondra tells us her experiences at AADE18 as a CDN NextGen student

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