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I’ve been slacking off on my blogging lately, but it’s all due to how busy the month of May has been for me. Here’s a quick recap of what’s been going on in my life:

  • May 1-2: Final Exams
  • May 3: 21st Birthday
  • May 5: Last day of finals
  • May 6: Home for the summer, my boyfriend’s birthday
  • May 8: Job Interview
  • May 10: Babysitting
  • May 11: Mother’s Day
  • May 12-16: Diabetes Blog Week, ending on my dad’s birthday
  • May 20-23: College Diabetes Network Retreat
  • May 24: Attended a friend’s wedding
  • May 28: Started a new job

It’s wild to reflect on all these events that took place over the course of a single month. It’s sort of a wonder how diabetes management was thrown into the mix and none of these occasions turned out to be a total disaster. Perhaps a reason why is the experience I had on the College Diabetes Network retreat that I attended last week.

CDN Retreat

On Tuesday, May 20th, 22 people came together in Bridgton, Maine because of one thing they all had in common: type one diabetes. 18 were student leaders of CDN chapters at various colleges around the country, 3 were part of the team that makes CDN possible, and 1 was there to film the entire experience. It sounds a bit like a reality show (#therealworldCDN, anyone?), only with fewer train wrecks and far more intelligent conversations. I spent three hours driving to the location, and even when I got to the lake house, I still had no idea what to expect when I walked through that door.

I certainly didn’t think I would bond with this group of people so quickly. You might think we hit it off right away because of our shared diabetes, but that was not the only contributing factor (really, it was only prevalent at mealtimes when we would sit down and listen to a chorus of pumps and CGMs going off). On the contrary, I think the other traits we shared outshone diabetes. In the middle of our first group discussion, I could see we each possessed certain levels of passion, motivation, commitment, leadership, and innovation that drew us closer together. It was refreshing to be around other students who shared my dedication to the CDN and its goals. And the chatter didn’t end with CDN – in our free time, we went on kayaking adventures and stayed up late watching movies, talking and getting to know each other the whole time.

72 hours later, I found it difficult to say goodbye to my newfound friends. However, I’m glad I had the chance to meet them and I’d like to thank them for reminding me (in a subtle but powerful manner) that I need to remind myself of the stronger qualities comprising my identity. I’m starting to embrace my take-charge attitude and I’m applying it now more than ever to my diabetes. It may sound trite, but the CDN retreat had a dual purpose for me. It introduced me to numerous ideas and resources that I know I will apply to my own CDN chapter and it also showed me how diabetes management really is doable despite the mayhem ruling my life. So for that, I want to say thank you to everyone who was at the retreat for making it a truly wonderful experience that helped me in more than one way. You guys are rock stars. 

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