CDN, Camp, and College

Emma Fleet, Bishop Fenwick High School ’18

It’s hard to believe that summer is over. For me, that means the end of my internship with CDN, and the start if my senior year. Back in February, I was offered the opportunity to spend the summer with CDN, and I said yes without hesitation. As the summer came closer, I found myself wondering about what being a CDN intern would be like. I had been exposed to CDN previously, but was still unsure of what this experience would be like. Let me tell you, it was better than I could have ever expected.

I walked into the office on my first day and was greeted by smiles and pump beeps. I quickly learned that my biggest responsibilities as an intern were in social media, development, and advocacy work. Crafting tweets and Facebook posts was fun, but it also carried large importance. For many people, their only connection to others with diabetes is online, and CDN has become their support system. Development was my first exposure to the “behind the scenes” workings of a nonprofit. I have grown up benefitting from the work of nonprofits, and I never fully appreciated it until this summer. Advocacy, unlike social media and development, was my comfort zone. I have always said that I would not be the person I am without the diabetes community, so I loved helping to write newsletters and editing the Off To College booklets. All of my friends, after hearing about the coffee machine and Tina’s dog, have started referring to my internship as the dream job, and I could not agree more.

I have had diabetes for over thirteen years, but CDN has given me a whole new outlook on what I could do. The work I did over the summer showed me how diabetes affects a lot of people, and it often connects people who never would have otherwise crossed paths. During the end of July and the beginning of August, I took three weeks off to be a counselor-in-training at ADA Camp Carefree in New Hampshire. I wore my CDN t-shirt there, and more than one person stopped to tell me about how CDN had impacted them. Listening to their stories, along with talking to CDN members, showed me how vital CDN is, and why diabetes shouldn’t never hold you back. It made me feel like bringing diabetes to college was not as terrifying as I imagined.

Like all high school seniors, my future is somewhat uncertain. I intend to go to college next fall and have started the application process. It’s every bit as exciting as it is stressful. I have toured most of the schools I’ve wanted to, but I have a few more to go to before deadlines close. My long term goal is to go to medical school, so I am looking at colleges with strong pre-med programs, along with my desired major. I intend to major in English, with either a double major or minor in biochemistry. I am checking to see if the schools I am looking at already have a CDN chapter, but if not, I plan on starting one once I move in.

My internship with CDN let me fall in love with charities, nonprofits, and the diabetes community. I fully intend to carry the lessons I’ve learned this summer with me to college and beyond. In fact, I am considering spending a semester working at a non-profit domestically or abroad (I’ve always wanted to see Europe). I know that whatever school I end up attending, CDN will be there to support me, and I cannot wait. 

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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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