How To: Prepare Myself for My CollegeYears with Diabetes

This section is for type ones who are going off to college or leaving home for the first time.

You may wish to proceed to the How To: Know if My Insulin is Still Good article if you are not in this situation or when you have completed this module.

If you drive test before you set off and every hour on a long journey.

Keep supplies in your car.

Slightly impaired vision is often the first sign of a hypo. Have some small print stuck down to the dashboard from an old telephone book for instance.  If you have difficulty reading it you must check your blood sugar.

Set up your room at college the same as at home with a special “diabetes drawer.”

Make sure your friends know that certain foods are off limits. You need it to prevent hypos.

When you move to a new campus or area check out cafes and 24 hour food outlets like garages.

Register with the student health centre or a new Family Medicine Doctor and have a copy of your important notes sent to the new doctor.

Have a hard copy summary sheet of your computerised notes at your new room so you can take it with you if you need to attend a hospital.

Have all of your diabetes prescriptions sent to the new Pharmacy before you start or within a week of starting so you never run out.

Make out your own personalised hypoglycaemia card and put it in you car, your kit bag, your room and give it to your mates. (also reference the section How To: Deal with Low Blood Sugars)

If you DO run out most pharmacists will dispense for you in an emergency.

In your diabetes drawer you will need:

  • Insulins
  • Insulin kit eg needles, pens, syringes, lancets, needle clipping device
  • Spare meter batteries
  • Testing strips
  • medical id and summary sheet
  • cin bin
  • frio bags
  • ketone test strips – they go out of date 6 months after opening them.
  • Glucagon
  • Glucose drinks, tablets and gel.
  • Packets of cheese eg dairylea triangles, uht milk, crackers, cookies, nuts, crisps.
  • Possibly ice packs and a cooler

Spare insulin and food should be in a fridge.

If you have a pump remember to bring all your back up stuff as well eg pens, syringes and cartridges.

It is best to have two sets of insulin/pens/meter/lancets/glucose in case one gets left behind when you are out.

Keep a typed list of phone numbers beside your phone:

  • parents
  • doctor back home
  • diabetologist
  • new doctor
  • adult brothers and sisters

It is a big responsibility looking after yourself in college never mind diabetes.  Always carry your kit with you. Always get up at a reasonable time to test, give insulin and eat, even if you go back to sleep afterwards and miss class.

Quick Quiz:
There is no quiz for this section.

Reference Info:

  • Acknowledgements to Spike and Bo Loy’s “487 Tips for kids with diabetes.”
  • Their mother Mrs Loy has written a book to help college age kids and their parents help with the transition between home and college. I have not read this book but it sounds really useful and I would be grateful for any reviews.
  • Is a UK based site where 38 type ones aged 15-25 have given video interviews about a wide range of issues that affect them. It includes how to deal with parents, travel abroad, eating disorders and much, much more.
  • College Diabetes Network: Preparing to Leave

Where to Next? 
Proceed to the How To: Know if My Insulin is Still Good section.