CDN: The Best Support Network for Any Type 1 College Student

Claudia Lewis, Ohio State University, '19

One of the greatest things that CDN has provided me is a support network with other people with type 1 diabetes (T1D). Going to CDN meetings and meeting other T1D’s who get it is comforting. They have given me invaluable advice and have provided me with so many connections to other doctors, researchers, and people with T1D. Therefore, the most important thing that CDN has given me is a group of people who fully understand what I am going through every day.

At our Ohio State CDN Chapter meetings, we always start off talking about our “highs and lows” of the week which usually aren’t related to diabetes. It is comforting to be around people talking about normal things, but who also understand what you endure everyday on a medical level. Another benefit of meeting other T1D’s on your campus is that if you ever run out of supplies or want someone to help put your site in a tough place, you have people that you can go to. If you want to learn about a new pump that one of your CDN members has, or if you just need to vent about diabetes, you have people that live right on your campus that can help you. That is quite the support system!

This summer, I had the privilege of attending the CDN Annual Retreat in Maine. I met amazing people who were leaders, hard workers, and really cared about their CDN chapters. These people were not only living with T1D, they were thriving! Over the course of five days, I learned so many diabetes tips and tricks, as well asways to make my own Chapter better. However, what I did not expect was that by having this support network and newfound friends with diabetes,I was more motivated than ever to take care of myself. While being surrounded by people living life to the fullest with diabetes, I wanted to do the same, and take the best care of myself as possible.

Another  benefit from working with CDN isthe ability to talk to people who work in the diabetes field. As someone who might want to become a diabetes educator, it is great to meet people who are in a position that I aspire to be in one day. Not only at meetings and at the retreat have I met doctors and diabetes educators, but I have also met researchers, pump company workers, CGM representatives, JDRF volunteers, and many others. Being able to talk to them about their career and how it has played a role in my self-care has been a very unique experience 

I think that when people endure a challenge in life, it is always comforting to talk to someone else who understands what you are going through. That is why CDN is so important, because you are surrounded by people who know what it feels like to live with type 1 diabetes, just like you. Transitioning to college is hard, and transitioning to college with diabetes is even harder. However, CDN made it much more bearable.I felt like I had a built in support system right when I joined my Chapter in the fall of freshman year. I was able to grow my support system by attending the CDN Annual Retreat and meeting with others who have diabetes. So, thank you CDN, for providing me with this sense of comfort and helping me grow as a person.

 

Editors note: We know many people support their favorite non-profits this time of year and we would love to be a part of your year-end giving. Your donation will help make all of the programming Claudia blogged about possible - from the CDN Annual Retreat to connecting T1D students on campuses across the country. If you would like to donate to CDN, please click here. Thank you!

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The College Diabetes Network (CDN) is a 501c3 non-profit organization whose mission is to provide innovative peer based programs which connect and empower students and young professionals to thrive with diabetes.

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