In August of 2017, I had the privilege of attending the annual AADE conference through CDN’s NextGen leadership program. At this point, I had just graduated from the University of Michigan and was working on a social research project at the university. While I loved my job, I knew that I wanted to experience working in the diabetes sector and was excited for the opportunity to dive head first into it.
The conference itself was an amazing networking and learning opportunity but my fondest memory of the event was interacting with the other CDN members from across the US. While I was actively involved in my CDN Chapter in undergrad, this was my first time interacting with student members outside of my own Chapter. On the first day of the conference, we barely gave ourselves time to set our bags down in the hotel before eagerly diving into discussion. Many of our long days of networking and conference sessions were followed by long nights filled with stories of our struggles and triumphs with T1D. In fact, it is my experience with these students that not only reassured me of my career path but also prompted me to get a CGM- I had never owned or used one before then.
I had such a positive experience at this conference that when I saw the job opening at CDN the following year, I was confident that working with this organization was the right next step. I wanted to play an active role in my community and help other young adults like myself form these valuable connections and memories that I was able to make through my own experiences with CDN. Now, after a year of working for CDN, I feel the same affinity for the staff as I have for all of the student members.
In truth, this past year was one of the hardest years of my life. Moving hundreds of miles away to start a new job disrupted my routine and, as a result, took an immense toll on my overall health. Managing my diabetes and adapting my routine to accommodate the new changes in my life was an uphill struggle, not to mention I had other health issues I was dealing with as well. The CDN staff was there for me every step of the way, though. I don’t know how I would have made it through the year in one piece without them! They are more than just coworkers; they are my family. They, along with the young adults we work with, are what I will miss most about CDN.
So it goes without saying that it is with a heavy heart that I say goodbye to all of the wonderful CDN staff and young adults. All of your support and encouragement over the years has been such a motivating factor in my life. While I may be leaving CDN, I plan to stay in the sector and will be joining a team of researchers to work on a diabetes research project at the University of Michigan. While I will miss you all dearly, I am beyond excited for this opportunity as it has always been one of my long term goals to gain research experience so that I may one day conduct my own diabetes research.