Catching up with Kendall: His Freshman Year of College

Contributor
Kendall Nether

We caught up with Kendall about his first year of college and his experience completing his freshman year during a pandemic. We've been following Kendall since his freshman year of high school all the way up through his first year of college - check out the rest of our blog series here: Freshman Year / Sophomore Year / Junior Year / Senior Year

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"I had been working on my independence and life skills, including managing my diabetes, for some time; this was my opportunity to put all of that to work."

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Kendall at school
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How was moving to college and being away from your parents?

It was cool! The experience and transition was rather easy. I had been working on my independence and life skills, including managing my diabetes, for some time; this was my opportunity to put all of that to work. Then COVID hit and it all changed....back home since March and my independence has taken a back seat to some extent. I really miss school and LA. We are online for Fall 2020, so I will likely not see the team or school until January. 

Did you tell your teammates about T1D? How did that conversation go?

While I didn't play in my freshman year, I did get to be a Team Manager and workout player.  I did not share my T1D directly, but I didn't hide when I treated highs or lows. My pump and CGM did most of the work for me, particularly with Control IQ. Life saver!

Any funny diabetes stories from the first year?

Not funny, but some pretty scary stuff when my pump and CGM's failed as well as the issue with the Dexcom outage in the beginning of the year.

Did you register for accommodations? How was talking to processors about diabetes?

Yes, we registered way in advance, but getting everything finalized still took a few months. I really talked with one due to a few testing challenges. When I did have the occasion to talk, everyone was cool, in fact one of my professors has an uncle that is T1D, so she was very familiar. 

How was it managing T1D and playing basketball at a collegiate level?

Practicing and managing with T1D had a few up and down days, but for the most part everything worked out.

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Kendall playing basketball
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What advice do you have for the incoming first year T1D students?

Make sure you get your accommodations for housing and classes early. Know where the food is and what the food is! Build a relationship with your professors, RA and medical team. Don't be shy or ashamed, you have to live safely!  And most importantly, pick your roommate and friends wisely!!

How did you and your parents manage T1D - from talking about blood sugars to managing supplies?

I wear a Dexcom so staying connected was easy and at times a pain and other times a relief.  I had a few bad days during the first semester that could have been extremely problematic had I not been on Share. Extreme highs and very bad lows overnight. I also had a pump and transmitter failure that requires urgent intervention from my parents. 

I went to school with a 90 day supply of everything, but my parents used supply stock up as their opportunity to visit me every 5 or 6 weeks. Honestly it was comforting in the beginning to know they were there!  Total T1D independence is sometimes very hard to juggle with everything else!

Have you connected with any other T1Ds on campus?

Yes, one other person who was a friend of a friend. We would periodically check on each other making sure numbers were in range.

Is there anything you would have done differently, looking back at the last year?

As far as managing my T1D care, not really. I never had a DKA issue or hospitalization, so I think the year went well. I am looking forward to returning to campus once this COVID issue is over and it is safe to return; hopefully that will be for the Spring 2021 semester.