Student Advice Column: Talking to Roommates, and Where the Heck does a Pump go in a Dress?

STUDENT ADVICE COLUMNISTS ABBEY AND CASEY

Question 12:

I’m starting college in the fall and I’m so nervous for graduation and then starting college. Do you know of a good way to hide your pump under your dress that isn’t uncomfortable? What do I do if my roommate is weird about me having diabetes?

Abbey:

First off, try not to be too nervous about graduation and starting college! I am a creature of habit and the change from high school to college can be nerve-wracking, but think of it as the next part of your journey! You are ready and you will love it!

For all occasions when I wear a dress I attach my pump to my bra. I usually place it on the front; however, I know girl members of my CDN group place it on the side or back. Sometime it depends on the dress and where it will fit best, and feel most comfortable. Also, I wouldn’t fret too much about your pump showing on your graduation day because during the ceremony you will be wearing your gown over your dress!

Editor's note: wearing a pair of spandex with a side/back pocket under your dress also works great! Your pump won't be sweaty against your skin and it'll be hidden by the flowy part of most dresses. 

As for a college roommate, I would say that most of the time people are accepting of T1D. Just remember that your roommate does not need to learn everything about diabetes, but as long as they are aware in case of an emergency, you’ll be covered. If she wants to learn more about T1D, which most do, that’s just icing on the cake.

If things were to get too weird you can always try to find a new roommate after the first semester - this is common for lots of people, diabetes or not. It could be helpful  to talk to your roommate before you even get to campus so that they are aware before you start living together. Be open to answering questions if they have any, and you’ll be on the path to a great relationship.

Casey:

Howdy! I don’t have much experience with wearing dresses, but I can provide some perspective regarding the roommate question. A brief note to begin, these are just my thoughts and there is definitely more than one way to go about this, so please find out what works for you.

When meeting new people, one step that I have always found helpful, no matter how others feel about my diabetes, is to be open in communicating about it. When I first moved in with my most recent roommate, I was open and honest about explaining the parts of my diabetes management that affected our shared space, like keeping insulin in our fridge for example. This is fundamental to the relationship, because the first step in helping someone else to respect your situation is to help them understand it.

Another helpful thing that I did with my last roommate was to provide him an opportunity to ask questions about my diabetes. I initially thought he was either disinterested or even upset about my condition, but once I offered to answer his questions about it, I discovered that he mostly just didn’t understand what was going on. Once he had an opportunity to chat about my management and ask a couple questions, he was even willing to help me out if I needed it. This sort of relationship was only possible because I took the first step to open up about my condition.

Again, these suggestions may not work for your specific situation, but for me they were good first steps in introducing my condition to my roommate. Thank you for writing in!

Editor's note: Request your copies of our new Off to College Booklets - they cover the topic of talking to roommates and friends about diabetes in depth, and so much more.

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