“Why not take a *shot* and *test* your knowledge at team trivia tonight at The Harp to benefit the College Diabetes Network? I’m pretty *pump*ed about it!
…all terrible diabetes puns aside, really, you should go.”
I posted this cheesy, “punny” status on the College Diabetes Network: UMASS Amherst page on Facebook mere hours before our trivia night started. I was feeling pretty proud of myself for coming up with a tacky status that may or may not convince people to attend the UMass Amherst CDN chapter’s first-ever event under my leadership.
My nerves were all over the place on Tuesday, April 1st. I was jittery all throughout my classes that morning and afternoon, so I decided to do some yoga in the evening so I could arrive to the event cool, calm, and collected.
It sort of worked – I felt relaxed after yoga. But when I got back to my apartment and realized that I only had an hour to eat dinner, shower, and get ready, I started to get a little panicky. This feeling worsened when I found out my blood sugar was a bit too high for comfort.
Luckily, I was distracted by the pressing need to get my butt in gear. I was able to do so in a timely manner, and I was smart by making sure I took my insulin a good 45 minutes before I started eating. That way, it would have a little time to start kicking in by the time I got my hands on some food. I was finished eating by 8, which was perfect seeing as I was going to leave my apartment at 8:15.
I made my way to the parking lot to get my car when Crisis #1 happened: my car wouldn’t start! My heart sank as I realized I accidentally left my lights on when I last drove over the weekend. In five years of being a licensed driver, this had never happened to me, and of course it finally would when I urgently had to be somewhere.
I knew I didn’t have time to go into full freak-out mode, so I made a phone call to the UMass Amherst CDN chapter’s Vice President, who offered to pick me and the two other members in need of a ride up at my apartment. I was glad to have a back-up plan, but I decided to call my parents to let them know the situation and so they could calm me down a bit.
I called home and my brother answered the phone. “Patrick, I need to talk to Mom and Dad, right now!” I shrieked into the phone. “Uhh…they aren’t here,” my brother said. “They’re on their way.”
“What?!” I yelled into my phone. “Yeah, they’re surprising you and showing up to your thing tonight! But wait, don’t tell them I told you!” said Patrick.
Immediately, I hung up and called my mother’s phone. Sure enough, Mom and Dad were in Amherst, and they weren’t too pleased my brother spoiled the surprise. When they heard about my car issue, though, they were understanding and wanted to come pick me and the other two girls up.
A couple of hasty phone calls later, my VP was informed of the situation and I found myself with the other two girls in the back of my parents car. Things were looking up as we drove to the Irish pub that was hosting trivia night. Until Crisis #2 happened.
My parents had the wrong address! The GPS guided us to Sunderland, and the bar was in Amherst. My dad handled the situation by swinging the car around and getting us to The Harp with ten minutes to spare.
I was thrilled when we walked in and saw there were easily 90 or so people in attendance, and relieved when I found a table occupied by my fellow UMass Amherst chapter CDN members and friends they brought with them. I was enjoying the conversation and the lively atmosphere when I was disrupted by Crisis #3: the owner forgot that the UMass Amherst CDN chapter was booked for the night.
It turns out that an engineering honor society also contacted The Harp. I was dismayed to find out that they called a mere week ago, whereas I had showed up in person three weeks ago and delivered paperwork to the owner himself that contained information about the UMass Amherst CDN chapter. I could tell he was embarrassed about the situation, because it was clear that he had forgotten about my visit. After a short conversation, though, we resolved it and the owner graciously offered to donate to both groups at the end of the night.
At long last, I was able to sit without any further problems emerging and enjoy a rousing game of trivia. Out of 30 or so teams, my team of five placed 5th and earned a cash prize back. In addition, we received $150 for the UMass Amherst chapter of CDN due to the generosity of the owner.
I guess it was somewhat naïve for me to think the night would go off without a hitch. In hindsight, though, these snags we hit along the way taught me valuable lessons about how to go about planning future events. And of course, I felt fortunate enough that we had so many people supporting us that night, including my parents who drove a long way just to cheer me on for a couple of hours. The most important piece of advice I could give any other CDN leader putting on an event is to RELAX! Everything will be okay. Plan the event as best as you can and stay optimistic. Remember that at the end of the day, it’s about having fun and doing something proactive with your group that will result in a positive experience, no matter what.
The College Diabetes Network chapter at UMass Amherst was created in 2009 and is the first established CDN chapter.
The College Diabetes Network (CDN) is a national non-profit organization dedicated to supporting college students with diabetes through peer support and access to information and resources. For more information, please visit the website at www.collegediabetesnetwork.org