Going away to college

so i'm a senior right now, just got accepted to 2 colleges! :] and waiting for a couple more

im defineitly going away but i wanted to hear from anyone else who has gone away on WHAT TO BRING? i've had diabetes for 9 years so i'm not new to this or anything but i just want to see if im missing anything for what to take away with me to college?

hey Melissa congrats on your college acceptance letters and good luck.  I went away to college and, well ya' just bring your whole kit with you =)

Most colleges have a doctor's office and emergency phone numbers.  it's really bad when you are away and get the flu or even a bad cold, so it's good to know where the office is and if you have time to know the people who work there.  most of the time the nurse there will be really cool and it is a great contact to have.

you'll be fine.  pack a good sense of humor. 

Hey Melissa,

 Congrats at being accepted! I too went away to college and my parents were as nervous as can be! It's really the first time since I was diagnosed that I would be spending time away from my parents and everyone who knew what to do if I had an emergency! However, take your typical supplies but also take them in bulk! Make sure you have enough supplies to last you in case you can't make it home or if you have home deliver of supplies see if they can ship them to you (my medtronic supplies go through UPS to my parents house). Check with the college for the health center and talk to the admissions office to see if they have any suggestions for you. Also, find out where the nearest Hospital is in case you would need it. I would also recommend taking cold medications in case you would happen to get sick. I'm from Western Pa and everyone here is sick right now. THe health center on campus is full on busy! But if you know what kind of medications you can take for a cold or can get a hold of your primary care physician and they can recommend something follow up on that. Trust me its no fun getting sick when you are not close to your doctors! I was sick the week before Thanksgiving and it took two weeks to get the cold out of me and unfortunately I work where I go to college and couldn't get home! Good luck with everything!

thank you to both of you!! really helpful :]

i actually just talked to someone from my JDRF chapter who has a daughter at oneonta, where i want to go, and she said the nurses are really good and everything.  i didnt expect to be in close contact with college nurses but i guess i will be!

thankkkkks again :]

Not to scare you, but be sure to look into hospitals in the area and figure out which one you would prefer if you get sick.

Sometimes the closest hospital is not the best so look into the one with the best record for caring for diabetics- or which one looks the nicest (which sadly is sometimes the telling factor on if the hospital has good care.)

If you get the flu while at school, don't fool around or wait- go strait to the hospital that you have looked into. it could save you life!

Another thing is to go to the health center maybe 2 days after you arrive (not with your parents) and introduce yourself to the staff! They could turn out to be your greatest allies in the years to come. At times they can be your older sisters or brothers.

They will then be looking out for you if you come in with have a problem you may receive priority help (very useful when you are ill.)

I'm sure you'll remember your supplies-

Remember, College is not about what you bring there, but what you take away from the experience.

thanks so much!

the hospital idea is really good and i def would not have thought about it!

Yep - I agree with everything that's been said.  I was diagnosed ten days before I left for my freshman year of college (just a few months ago), so I no time to prepare any of this in advance.  

You should definitely contact the school clinic in advance and meet with them as soon as you get to school.  I also regularly see a local hospital, which is a great idea if the school doesn't have the resources to act as your full-time provider.  

Most importantly (though it's a bit early for this), make sure to talk to your roommates, suitemates, RA's, and anyone else who'll be living with/near you at school.  Everybody I talked to was really open, really understanding - and it's much safer to be around people who know what's going on in case something happens, like a sudden low.  Congrats!

Haven't seen this posted, make sure to have access to food.  Have a stash in your room that everyone else knows is off limits.  If you will live on campus be sure to have cash or credit.  My campus had vending machines that shut down except for cash in the middle of the night, and closed the dining hall when they anticipated students would go home.

When I went off to college I made some mistakes with how I handled things and had to learn from my mistakes. I agree with what you have been told, i.e. to bring stuff in bulk, have food, medicines, and everything else your parents will give you.

Make sure you have your prescriptions with you and fill anything you do from the pharmacy up there, not from home. My parents would mail me my prescriptions and I do not even want to begin to talk about the number of times my mail was "misplaced" by the post office. Not that I want to scare you. You should talk things over with your room mate and let them know about you. You don't want their first encounter with you being a diabteic if something happens to you, i.e. a low. While it may not happen often or ever they need to know. You want to have someone as a roommate who will not panic if something happens. Lows happen and sometimes we need help. If your roommate is not comfortable you may need to try again, but this could be for your own good. I never really had issues with my roommates even though I did end up with a few lows, they were very helpful.

The worst thing for me, is that I did not take care of myself ll the time and was lax about my care. In college we really cannot do that as our normal support network is not around. This is not meant to be scary bcause being a diabetic should not inhibit going off to school and having fun and enjoying ourselves, but we do need to watch ourselves.

ohh i had a rommate that told a new roommate that i was diabetic, and i wasn't happy with her for telling without me explaining what the new roommate needed to know.


All of the advice above is really great!  But one more thing you may want to think about is finding an endo near your college, especially if you're college is not near your hometown.  I ended up going to college about 11 hours away from my hometown and found that having an endo in the same city as my college was really helpful since most of the year I was away at college and could keep up with regular visits.

Congratulations and good luck in college!


I liked having an Edno at home just for the sheer fact I would be able to get a necessary escape from school from time to time. I was about two hours from him. And you can usually work around your schedule to fit everything in. But it is not a bad idea if you are further away or want to have better contact with a doctor, especially if they are far away.

Hi Melissa,

I went away to university (about 3 hours from my hometown) and absolutely loved the experience!  If you're living in residence, I would definitely recommend brining a small bar-fridge.  I used this to stash my extra insulin cartridges, juice, milk, etc.  I would keep granola bars, cereal and dried fruit in my room if I didn't have time to get breakfast in the cafeteria in the morning.

Another living-in-residence tip is to keep a bag with your monitor, insulin & glucose tabs in a bag by the door at nighttime.  The residence hall I lived in had its fire alarms go off on a fairly regular basis (usually at 2am when students were trickling home from the bar).  When the alarm would go off, every single person in the hall had to go stand outside until the fire truck came and looked the place over.  I once had a low sugar in the middle of the night while this was going on and nothing to treat it.  Not fun.  After that, I always quickly grabbed my monitor and some sugar before leaving my room for a fire "drill."

During university, I had two endocrinologists - my 'childhood' doctor and a new endo in my university town.  I would recommend this because, with all the changes of moving away and starting a new school, it's nice to keep your usual endo even if you only see him once a year.

Other than that, try to eat well and try to eat proper portion sizes (cafeterias seem to dole out huge amounts of food!).  And, have way too much fun and learn way too much!  You're embarking on a great stage in your life - enjoy it!

I know this was a post from a while ago, but I just joined Juvination and I wanted to pass on my suggestions:

1) I am a huge fan of honey packets! You can get big ones at stores like REI or EMS (and small ones from the condiment stand at starbucks). They have 29 carbs and fit in a purse/clutch/bra much better than juice boxes ;)

2) Always keep sugar with you! The first time away from home can lead to lots of spontaneity and you can never get caught without candy/juice/whatever you use.

I know it's not deep, but it is my best advice! Have fun and be careful!!

I got a locker in one of the engineering buildings that most of my classes were going to be in and threw an extra glucometer and juice and granola bars in there just in case.... my roomate and I were good friends so he was really awesome about learning how to use glucagon shots and everything.  I made him a list of emergency contacts in case anything happened too.

This is going beyond what to bring but I thought it would still be useful.  When you tell people about your diabetes, make sure to tell them that a low blood sugar can easily be confused for being drunk.  Instead of letting you "sleep off" a low they should check on you.