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The Diabetic's Guide to Going to College

Packing It All Up

Yes, you'll have more to pack than the average college student, but with careful planning, it's not such a big deal. Make a list of your diabetes-related items you'll need and have your parents' double-check it to make sure you haven't missed anything. Then pack up!
 
It's easy to forget about a sharps container, blood glucose tabs, urine ketone test strips (if you use them), your insurance card, your medical alert bracelet, and your emergency contact list. Consider building a "hypoglycemia kit" with everything you (or your roommate) needs to handle a low-blood sugar situation.
 

Making Friends

Your roommate can make help make or break your freshman year. This is true for all students, but it's especially true for those with diabetes. Let's face it: some students are just not cut out for having a roommate with diabetes.
 
Some colleges let their freshmen know ahead of time who their assigned roommates will be. If your college does this, take advantage of the chance to contact your roommate. In a friendly way, let them know you have diabetes. Ask them if they're squeamish about blood or needles. Ask if they'd be willing to help you in a hypoglycemic emergency.
 
It's best to have this conversation as soon as possible, as you might need to request a roommate change if necessary. It might be a good idea to ask for a pre-med student, as they'll likely be okay with blood and needles and will be eager to learn about diabetes.
 
Once you get to school, it's also a good idea to tell your residence hall advisors (if you're living in the dorms) about your diabetes and make sure they know how to help you if necessary. Also, let your academic adviser know, as well as any coaches you might have. If you'll need any special accommodations, this is the time to bring that up.
 
Once classes start, it's also smart to talk with each of your professors to explain about your diabetes. Tell each one how they can help you if you have a hypoglycemic emergency in class.
 
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