Going Back to College with Diabetes

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Wait, what?!

I can scarcely believe that August is almost over. It feel s like this summer just started for me, and it’s frustrating that the routine I’ve developed over the past few months is about to be rudely interrupted.

In other words, I’m getting a little anxious because I know that this sudden change in my schedule will have some sort of impact on my blood sugars. Once I’m back at school, I will become much more active: I’ll be walking all over the place to get to my classes, I’ll have access to the gym again, and my sleep cycle will (hopefully) be more consistent. All of these changes are good, especially where my blood sugars and general health are concerned.

However, it’s unfair that my focus will be split between keeping my sugars in tight control and getting reacquainted with school. It’s utterly overwhelming when back-to-school shopping, a new apartment, and new classes are combined with insulin adjustments and more frequent testing.

As a result, I envy my friends who get to enjoy their functional pancreases without even knowing it. They’re able to relax in the few free days we have before classes start without having to worry about when their next meal is going to be, and how much their blood sugars might drop after walking to and from the bookstore. More often than not, I can’t help but think if I might have more fun with the whole back-to-school process if I didn’t have to worry about things like remembering to bring all my medications with me.

But I know that I can’t let this negative or wishful thinking get to me. Lately, I’ve been reminding myself that I have done just fine the past two years at school. I’m fully aware that September will be more of an adjustment period than anything else, but there’s not much I can do to change that. My parents have been enormously helpful when it comes to making I have plenty of supplies for when I go back, and they’ve kept a list of how much I should take with me at a time. Because of my past experience, I’ve developed a cautiously optimistic outlook regarding a new schedule being thrown my way each Fall.

If I had to give any advice to a diabetic starting off their freshman year at college, it would be to breathe. Don’t stress the small stuff, and always take advantage of the help that your parents offer you. Even though you might be living independently for the first time in your life, that doesn’t mean you’re alone. Be open about your diabetes and what it means to you with your roommates, professors, coaches, and peers. It might be scary to be in an unfamiliar environment that is full of changes, but I promise that anyone can thrive in it with the right attitude. 

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