Preparing to Leave

Knowing Your Resources

For the past three years, the College Diabetes Network Chapter at the University of Rochester has hosted two sister events: One for parents of incoming first year students with health concerns and one for the students themselves. Our Chapter wanted to educate students on the resources available on campus; as students with chronic illnesses who have gone through the transition to college ourselves, we know it can be a stressful time when you need all the help and guidance you can get. We decided last year to open up the event to any student with health concerns, not just those with diabetes. We felt the event could prevent diabetic students from feeling isolated and also have a broader impact on our campus community.Our event for parents of new college students provides a detailed view of the health resources on campus. The event is not only relevant to those with a child with diabetes, but also for parents with children who have allergies, chronic diseases, disabilities, and other health concerns. The event features a number of panelists: advisors from different services on campus, including our University Health Services (UHS), University Counseling Center (UCC), the Center of Excellence in Teaching and Learning...
Like many students last May, my freshman year of college came to an end. Although I may share the collective experience of freshman year with millions of people, type 1 diabetes (T1D) makes my version of the experience pretty unique. The T1D community are the only ones who get this experience.For me and my family, diabetes added another layer of worry on top of everything else. I am a first generation student, I was going to school almost four hours away, and I was living on my own for the first time. I’ve had my ups and downs with diabetes my whole life, but my mom was always there to help. This would be the first time it was solely my responsibility.In the months before college, I attended an Off to College Event hosted by CDN, and the CDN Chapter at George Mason University. I learned some really helpful information at this event that I am so grateful to know. For example, I never knew that a glucagon kit doesn't work when you have low blood sugar from drinking. I was shocked that I didn't already know this, but I'm glad that I know now. I also learned ways to...
Editor's Note: We're excited to catch up with Kendall, a high school sophomore, and his father, Curtis. Last year, we heard from them about their experiences with high school and thinking about college in the future.  Sophomore year of high school -T1D student questionsHow was sophomore year different than freshman year? This year was easier to manage and less stressful. Learning to juggle honors classes and varsity basketball was a challenge but I am learning the importance of independence and planning for college, so I have to figure it out. What was harder and what was easier? I still have honors classes, but they were much easier to handle now that high school isn’t so new. I don’t have to feel like an outsider or that I have to keep my T1D hidden. Everyone knows, but I try not to make it a thing for anyone to be concerned about.  Some days are harder than others to manage it all.Have you started practicing for the SAT or ACT? How are you feeling about managing T1D while taking a big test? Yes. I took AP exams with special accommodations for testing, food and water allowances, so the ACT and SAT should...

Diabetes with Roommates

Diabetes can seem like a huge burden sometimes, and even worse, it can make you feel like you are a burden on those around you. No one likes feeling like they have to be taken care of, but here’s the thing- Diabetes doesn’t make us any less able to take care of ourselves, it just means we might need a little love and support to keep us going through some of the highs and the lows (diabetes pun intended)! You’re not a burden- you’re a bundle of sugary joy and you and your roommate are going to have a really educational and sweet year. I was diagnosed with T1D in my sophomore year of college, and my biggest support system throughout that was my roommates. In my 3 years of college, I have lived with 11 different roommates. Beyond teaching me a thing or two about how not to burn pizza, how to manage homework all-nighters and how to sleep through a hair dryer (basic life skills), living with roommates has taught me how to make the most of a built-in support system with my diabetes. Whether you go into a roommate situation with your best friend forever or a complete...
College is something that causes anxiety and stress for everyone. As someone who has always been a homebody and very close with everyone in my family, the thought of leaving seemed like the end of the world. Throw type one diabetes into the mix and all that anxiety multiplies by 10!I was diagnosed with type one diabetes at the end of my sophomore year in high school. I was 15 years old, and my life came to a screeching halt. Diabetes is an overwhelming disease, and I was at the age where I was supposed to start gaining independence by driving, hanging out with friends and touring colleges. Not fair! Needless to say, I made my way through high school with lots of visits to the school nurse and a many trips into Boston for endo appointments. Finally graduation came and then it was onto college.After being accepted to Bryant University my junior year, I knew it was the perfect school for me. I loved the community feeling of the campus and it definitely didn’t hurt that it was only about 30 minutes away from home! My parents, my team of doctors and I met over the summer and decided...
This is the second post in a series. CDN will be checking in with Kendall Nether, and his father Curtis, each year as Kendall moves through high school and gets ready to head off to college. What was it like when your son was diagnosed?Kendall was diagnosed on March 22, 2003, he was 18 months old. Today, this date is affectionately known as his diaversary. I have found most parents never forget the exact date and time when their daughter/son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Kendall’s warning signs went unnoticed as we assumed the strep throat and other flu like symptoms he was experiencing were normal for a child his age. I remember a trip to his doctor for a routine checkup that generated a blood test with a 400 glucose reading. His doctor felt his elevated number was the result of something he must have eaten earlier. My mother, who worked as a nurse’s assistant prior to retiring, sounded the first alarm that follow up care was warranted after we advised her about the number of diapers Kendall was going through and his constant thirst. Thank God we listened to her and took Kendall to the emergency room where...
This is the first post in a series. CDN will be checking in with Kendall Nether, and his father Curtis, each year as Kendall moves through high school and gets ready to head off to college. How old were you when you were diagnosed?Hi, my name is Kendall Nether, I am 14 yrs. old and freshman in high school. I was diagnosed with T1D when I was 18 months old. The date was March 22, 2003. How did you feel when you were diagnosed?Given I was only 18 months old I cannot remember about what it was like when we all received the news. I have seen pictures of me in the hospital with friends and relatives.What has been the biggest difference so far between high school and middle school?My middle school was a charter school with only 800 students and my high school has over 3,000 students. There are major differences - mostly the social atmosphere and the number of groups and organizations to join. I knew almost everyone in middle school, in high school it seems like I meet someone different every day. I still have AP classes that are much harder than when I was in middle school. In...
    How much should I explain to my roommate? How many boxes of reservoirs and sites should I pack? How should I adjust my basal rates to this new schedule? How should I handle the abundance of cookies, ice cream, or worse, alcohol? Am I allowed to eat in class? What should I do if I have a low during an exam?These questions were my main concerns when preparing for college. I figured I could handle making friends, adjusting to college courses, and joining clubs; These were objectives for every incoming freshmen. It was a worry we could all share and laugh about together. It helped to validate our stresses, acknowledge that it was acceptable to be nervous, and give us motivation to succeed.I found myself trying to blow off steam by telling my roommate, “I just brushed my teeth but now I’m low!” or “Gosh, those sweet potatoes had a lot more carbohydrates than I thought.” Except, my roommate did not relate to any of my stories about diabetes. It was difficult to feel like I did not have an outlet for these experiences. Here is where the College Diabetes Network steps in.Since sophomore year of high school, I...
It still hasn’t hit me that when summer is over, I will not be returning to take classes at the University of Georgia. Since graduating in May, I have started my first “adult” job as a Program Assistant for the College Diabetes Network, helping to support our chapter network and other programs for young adults with T1DOne of the programs that I’ve been working on that I’m particularly giddy about is CDN’s “Off to College Program”. As some of you may know, I am a former CDN Chapter Leader for the group “Dawgs for Diabetes” (D4D). In the fall of 2014, D4D planned and hosted an event called  The Campus Tour: A Diabetes Perspective, where young adults with T1D and their families were invited to the UGA campus to learn more about what having T1D at college is like, ask questions, go on a campus tour, and more! Through this event, I saw how important Off to College Events were. As many current college students, alumni, and future college students (and their families and care teams) know, this transition is such an important time in a young adult’s life, and it is necessary for these young people to have more...
The College Diabetes Network is thrilled to formally announce the launch of its Off to College Event Hosting Kits featuring the its newly published “Hosting an Off to College Event: A How-To Guide” for clinics/organizations and new series of Off-to-College Materials for students and families. This project was originally announced in June of 2014 when it received funding from the Lilly Grant Office. Since that time these materials have been created and published by CDN staff in collaboration with CDN’s Clinical Advisory Committee, and scientifically reviewed and approved by the American Diabetes Association (ADA). We consider it fitting to formally launch the program in conjunction with our presentation highlighting these materials at the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) Annual Meeting in New Orleans this week, as so often these educators and their teams are the gatekeepers to tools and resources for families of children with diabetes. While the internet and social media are key tools used to access information, accessing trusted and quality information can be overwhelming and difficult. Diabetes providers still play an integral role in disseminating this information to patients and their families. CDN is both excited and humbled to be this trusted source of information to providers and...

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