My name is Belle Wood. I am currently in my third and final year at Tulsa Community College, and I intend on transferring to Oklahoma State University in the Fall of 2020. Currently, there is not a Chapter of CDN in the state of Oklahoma, but I plan on starting one when I transfer. I am a Nutrition/Dietetics Major. I also volunteer with the Oklahoma Chapter of the American Diabetes Association.
I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes eight years ago in 2011. Over the years, I haven’t had many opportunities to interact with other T1Ds close to my age. I also wasn’t quite ready to be social on that level. As I have transitioned into college at TCC, I’ve only come across a handful of other students like me.
During my time at TCC, I have experienced discrimination from the college itself. This discrimination led me to search for outside help not connected to the institution. As it stands, there really isn’t anything established in Oklahoma that aims to support students with diabetes. I found out about CDN while searching online.
When CDN’s NextGen Leadership Program opened applications for this year’s conferences, I applied and was selected to attend the American Association of Diabetes Educator’s Annual Meeting 2019. This was my first in-person interaction with CDN and my introduction to AADE as a whole in a professional sense. I was paired with an NCBDE mentor, Melanie Batchelor. The best advice I took from her was to not be afraid to put myself out there and introduce myself to others. As a clear-cut introvert, this type of advice puts me way out of my comfort zone. Once I began doing this, however, I found that I wasn’t as scared or intimidated as I used to be. It was fairly easy to talk to other people during the AADE sessions.