College Life with Diabetes
I recently read a forum about a Type 1 Diabetic, High School Senior, who is going away to college in the fall. She wanted more insight as to what college life is like for diabetics, and how they were able to cope and manage. It really only feels like a couple of weeks ago that I, myself, started on the magical college ride. After 6 years, 3 different schools, numerous classes and thousands of finger pricks and bolus injections, I will be graduating this may with my bachelors degree!
Being a college student is rough all on its own, but when you thrown in something crazy like Type 1 Diabetes, everything gets all sorts of screwed up! Heavily drinking, partying, staying up really late, doing homework assignments and dealing with roommates is what college life is all made up of!
In my first year, I dormed with someone VERY similar to myself — minus the diabetes.
On the first day we met, I explained that I was diabetic and told her that if she noticed I was not acting right, to give me some juice. She also put my dads phone number on speed dial JUST IN CASE! There was no issues, but I was happy that she was aware. Only issue during my freshman year that I encountered was that I needed to get special permission from the school to put a mini fridge in my dorm room. Our entire floor shared 2 fridges — but there was NO WAY I was putting, and leaving, my insulin and juice and snacks in there. God forbid someone steals my snacks or insulin when I really need it!
My 2nd year I dormed with a good friend of mine. She knew I was diabetic, bought special sugar-free treats we could both shared, and understood what diabetes was…. but I never really explained to her what diabetes meant and/or entailed and/or what she was going to be in for. As a sophomore, I was on an insulin pump, and was having a good time in college —
with an average BS of about 180. One night, I was up all night working on a paper, super stressed out, and didn’t go to sleep til almost 5am (with class at 9). My roomie went to sleep at normal time, and woke up, left for class, did her normal thing, not realizing that I had slept through my entire class and almost the entire day! I think it was about 1pm when I woke up, tried to get outta my bed, and my legs collapsed. I literally pulled myself across the floor of our dorm to the fridge to get
juice. Took me about 20 mins to do that — but I couldn’t reach my cell phone to call for help either.
Even if I could have gotten my phone, I couldn’t lay there waiting for help either. I somehow made it to the fridge to get some juice by crawling my way across the floor. I sat on the floor for a while, hoping it would go up. I got lucky that EMT’s weren’t called that day. My professor was OK with the situation and didn’t punish me for missing class either. I graduated in 2008 with my Associates Degree in Communication Design from the Fashion Institute of Technology.
After taking some time off, doing miserably at another school, I now attend SUNY Purchase. I went back to school for my bachelor’s, and now am in my senior year. I currently have an apartment with my boyfriend (who’s not a college student) and everything seems to be alright. I tend to have low mornings, but he’ll wake me up because he hears my CGM vibrating. Honestly, my boyfriend has been a lifesaver for me — and I think it is important to know you will always have someone there to help at those times of need.
I could never, and would never, live alone. Life as a Type 1 Diabetic can be scary at times!