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The Diabetic's Guide to Going to College

Eating Well

For a variety of reasons, your diet at school may be drastically different from your diet at home. As long as your insulin regimen can adjust and your blood sugar is in a healthy range most of the time, enjoy yourself at least a little when it comes to the freedom of being in charge of your own diet. But don't forget that your food choices affect your long-term health, and a healthy diet is especially important for people with diabetes.
 
If you can, try to make your diet at school mimic your diet at home as much as possible in the initial days and weeks. Make dietary changes gradually, so you can learn how these changes affect your blood sugar.
 

Keeping Fit

Many students give up on staying fit once they go to college. Perhaps they are no longer playing sports; perhaps they feel they are too busy. However, you should try to keep up whatever physical activity you were doing in high school. Suddenly stopping may cause you to gain the famous "freshmen 15" and may interfere with your ability to keep your blood sugar in a healthy range.
 
If you were a couch potato in high school, college is a great time to get fit. Most colleges have great gym facilities. However, don't start exercising without talking to your doctor about it. You may need changes in your insulin regimen or more frequent glucose testing to do so safely.
 

Be Brave, But Ask For Help When Necessary

Leaving your home and parents and heading to college to be "on your own" with diabetes can feel like stepping off a cliff. Although it's true that you'll eventually have to manage your diabetes on your own, try to think of college (at least initially) as an intermediate zone. You still have your parents' help if you need it, but you also have the freedom to handle most of the day-to-day responsibilities of caring for yourself.
 
So plan ahead, take a deep breath, call your parents whenever you miss them or need advice, and spread your wings. You'll do just fine. 
 
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