CDN began as something that I started at my university to become more involved on campus. I have never been one to share my diabetes story with anyone, and frankly, most of my friends didn’t even know I had it. But once I started the club and began to get so much positive feedback and interest, I knew I had begun something bigger than I originally thought. Upon receiving an email that said I was selected to attend the Diabulimia conference with CDN, I had never been more ecstatic. Being a nutrition major and a diabetic, this was right up my alley! Nervous about not knowing what to expect, I flew out to New Orleans to embark on what became such a memorable experience.
The first day of being in New Orleans involved setting up the booth in the Exhibit Hall and attending presentations by a variety of speakers. On the second day, we attended more presentations and attended a mixer, in which we were able to talk with a lot of the speakers and conference attendees. The mixer took place in the Exhibit Hall, so we were also able to speak to many individuals about what CDN is and how they can get involved. The following day, CDN had set up a breakfast for us with one of the speakers from the event. It was so great to be able to interact on a one-on-one basis with her and ask questions pertaining to her talk and our interests in research and future careers. On the final day, we spoke to a bunch of individuals about CDN and attended a variety of presentations. Since the conference was so small, by this final day, we had really been able to get to know some of the other people there well, and were able to really connect and network with them.
This conference was the first time I had been involved with the College Diabetes Network on a bigger level beyond my Chapter, and I have nothing but good things to say about it. It became obvious to me on this trip truly how big of an impact CDN makes on the lives of college students with T1D, and it was so inspiring to be a part of that. I left not only feeling proud that I had the opportunity to help educate others on CDN but I left feeling to lucky to have had the opportunity to have that in-depth interaction with CDN and their staff members.
At dinner on the last night, Dan, the CDN staff member that attended the conference with us, asked us what our “highs and lows” of the weekend were. At this moment, it occurred to me that I truly did not know what I was getting myself into starting a CDN chapter at my university, but I am so grateful I did. With having the opportunity to go on this trip, I had been able to talk about diabetes all weekend in a way I never had before, and was able to get to know other diabetics going through some of the same things I am. I left the Diabulimia Helpline conference feeling educated through the multitude of speakers that we had the opportunity of hearing from and inspired to take what I had learned back to my own CDN Chapter. This truly has been one of the best experiences of my life, and I am forever grateful to the College Diabetes Network for giving me this opportunity!
Editor's note: If you are struggling with disordered eating or want to learn more about the Diabulimia Helpline, click here.
Lexicon is a CDN Corporate Member and is dedicated to bringing awareness to the relationship between T1D and mental health. Watch CDN's Mental Health and T1D Facebook Live event, which was made possible by funding from Lexicon.