A little overwhelmed

I was diagnosed less than a month ago and these last few weeks have definitely been a roller coaster for me.  I just got back to college a couple days ago and I'm still trying to figure out exactly how to manage my diabetes.  It's definitely nerve wracking to be five hours away from home (both for my family and I) and still trying to get used to this new disease. 

 I told my communitly advisor of my dorm that I was recently diagnosed and she acted like it was no big deal.  That didn't really make me feel better if something were to happen to me.  Tomorrow classes start and I'm pretty nervous telling my professors about my diabetes..I'm really hoping they don't have the same response as my community advisor.

I just really needed to blow off some steam, it's been a rough day.


Wow, that's a lot to handle at once!  I went through 4 years of college 3 hrs away from home, and it can be challenging to be so far from your support system.  Sounds like maybe you need to have another chat with your community advisor.  This IS a big deal, and you need her support.  If she still doesn't seem to care, then go over her head.

Do you have roommates?  If so, I would let them know too.  My roommates knew to tell me to check my blood sugar if I was acting funny, and to call 911 if they ever couldn't wake me up (thankfully, they never needed to do this).

Do you go to a small college?  I think it's totally up to you if you want to tell your professors.  Some of mine knew, and some didn't.  I went to a small school--my largest class had about 100 kids in it, average class size about 30-40, so I knew a lot of my professors really well.  I didn't go out of my way to tell them, but if it came up in conversation, then I'd share it.  I just made sure I always had my meter and glucose tabs with me.  I whipped it out and tested in class all the time.

So it's really a personal choice.  If it makes you feel better to tell your professors, then tell them.  

I know all of this is really scary, but you can do it!  Just take it one day at a time.  Be patient with yourself--it takes quite a while to get used to all of this.  But diabetes in no way means that you can't have a super college experience--I know I did.

Please let me know if there's anything else I can do for you.  YOU CAN DO THIS!


Remember: You are not a pancreas.  You are putting man-made insulin into your body through a hole in your skin, unaware of the myriad of factors, not yet understood by science, which can affect your blood sugar.  All we can do is try our best.

If someone, a doctor or a family member perhaps, tells you to perform a certain action in regards to your type 1 diabetes, and you do not feel uncomfortable with it in anyway, unsure of yourself, do not do it.  You must be totally trusting of your own experiences and instincts to take actions which will affect your blood sugar.

In regards to your community advisor, perhaps she was trying to help you feel better, by not focusing on the difference in your new life.  I absolutely feel a more serious, sit down talk with her, as well as your friends, is warranted.  You may choose whether or not to tell your professors, I do, and they have all been very understanding.

Always have your blood sugar meter, tablets/juice, insulin/whatever mode of insertion you have, with you at all times.  Test whenever you feel necessary, no matter who you are with, what you are doing, or the overall situation.

Best of luck with all you are dealing with!

I never told any of my professors when I was in college.  I just always made sure to have some food/glucose tablets with me, and my test kit in class.  While I never tested in class (I was super self conscious about that kind of thing until the last few years), I would either slip out of class if I wanted to test, or I would eat something if I felt myself going low.  My diabetes control was less than optimal in college, but I still had a great time, learned a lot, and made great friends.  You will too! 

Hi Katie,

   When I was first diagnosed 24 years ago, I was also in college and overwhelmed.  One of the few professors that I told about it was one who scared me anyway, and whose class overwhelmed me with everything I had going on at the time, so I was dropping it when I told him.  It turned out his 13 year-old son was Type 1 and he offered to talk to me whenever I needed help or information.   He was a great help!  (Of course I also had a professor who refused my excuse of "being in the hospital" to makeup an exam.)   And don't be worried about your community advisor's response.  Lots of people have diabetes and it's possible she knows some and is aware of how to help.  But always remember your FIRST and BEST advocate is yourself.  You must take responsibility for having sugar and testing supplies with you at all times.  I've witnessed people who accept this responsibility and others who "need" someone to handle their diabetes for them, and the self-sufficient group does far better.  That's not to say you don't want key people to be aware of your condition, just in case.  And for the record, in 24 years and through 2 pregnancies I've had blood sugar so low that I needed medical attention exactly 0 times. 

Hi Katie-

I know exactly what you are going through! I was diagnosed in my second year of college over spring break, so once break ended I had to figure out all of the same issues! The school that I go to was not very understanding, especially when I talked to people involved in residence life- which made things more nerve wracking. A lot of the people I talked to automatically assumed I was type II because, for most of them all they have experience with is type II, so over coming that stigma was really exhausting! I did not get too far with residence life because they gave me such a hard time and basically ignored every concern I had- so I made sure to tell people who lived in the dorm what was going on so that if something were to happen someone would have my back. So, I guess my biggest peice of advice for living on campus is to tell your friends who live nearby (just in case!) and not too stress to much about residence life- so long as they know about your diagnosis than that is the best you can do! =]

As for professors, I am always awkward about telling them (this is only my first full semester dealing with telling them because last time I was in the hospital so it was pretty self-explanatory!). So now I am just really blunt about it and I say something like, "Hi professor ___. I just wanted to let you know that I am a newly diagnosed Type I diabetic and I am still working on getting things under control." Then I put together a little accommodation plan sheet that says things like I can test in class, eat in class, may miss some class due to diabetes management etc. just so that I cover all my bases. Once I give them that they know exactly what is going on! Personally, I suggest you tell them because random things do pop up and it’s so much easier if they know beforehand!  Some of my professors responded in a great way (one even keeps extra juicy juices in her fridge for me!), and some were not as accepting (one basically told me to suck it up and get over it!). But regardless of how they respond, at least they know in case of an emergency!

Hope this helped and good luck!!


Hello there. I know what you are going through! I was diagnosed a few months ago. I am a graduate student and I also teach psychology classes. I didn't tell any of my professors about my diabetes but I did tell my friends (I'm sure the word got around, we're a small department). From an instructor's point of view, I think it is up to you whether or not  to tell your professors. I would definitely welcome any of my students to inform me of health issues (and some do) and I do my best to be supportive but I think it's a personal choice to decide who knows.

     Just know you are not alone. I was diagnosed during spring break my last semester of college. My roommate was the RA, and she had no idea what diabetes was. She didn't even know I was in the hospital. I am fortunate because I was in a lot of classes that dealt with nutrition so most of my professors understood the severity of what had happened. I also had a very good open relationship with them before hand.

     Sometimes in college professors pass out these little cards that you write your personal information on and any "other" information they may need to know. I always put down T1D on those cards. If the professor doesn't do that I would simply go up to them during their office hours and let them know about it. Basically during the conversation I would let them know: I personally test every two hours/so if my alarm goes off in class I apologize, sometimes I have sick days/I may have to miss class, I have to have a snack in my bag in case of a low ( I explain what that means if they don't know), and I give them a sheet the ER gave me when I was diagnosed. It has these funny little cartoons on it that show what happens to me during a high or low, and ask them if they notice these behaviors to please let me know. I also ask them if they have any questions, so that they can be comfortable with the situation. Most professors have had a T1D in their classes so they won't be intimidated, and some like the story above have T1D's in their families. If you don't want to go into all that detail just let them know if you pass out in class they need to call 911 immediately because you have a chronic illness.

     In the big scheme of things it is up to you to decide who you want to tell and who you don't. I am comfortable discussing it in person and in electronic communication. Whichever you are more comfortable with would be best. My roommate, since she was an RA, did a T1D programs to let others know in my complex what T1D is, and how it can be very dangerous if gone untreated. Most people don't know that you can go into a coma or even die if you go untreated. Good Luck and we are here for you.