Entering college


(diabetic_stud1120) #1

so yesterday i got one of my accepctance letters for university next semester, but my parrents as protective as they are, are concerned about me leaving to go to south texas and go to school, is there anyone out there who can help me convince them that i will be ok granted that im only 5 hours away from n.texas?


(JanelleIS) #2

My son is in his second quarter at college (4 hours away) and doing great! His campus has offered so much (much more than we can offer at home):

Awesome RA's who wanted to be educated on T1 and who have an office or person 24/7 available in an emergency and with a glucogon.

A roommate and hallmates who were happy to be 'educated' (schooled?:) on what to look for and what to do (Young adults are so awesome!)

A clinic with decent hours and which offers sharps containers.

Cafeterias which offer an array of foods from which to choose. He always has tons of choices.

A mini-fridge /microwave provided in the room (not all schools offer this)

He has not tapped into it yet, but all campus' have a disabilities office. There he could get priority scheduling to schedule around eating times, get tutoring if needed, and provide forms for professors to allow food/drink in lectures, etc.

Opportunities for exercise!!! Lots of inter/intramurals, great rec centers and just the walking around campus from class to class is great!

And of course, just the fact that preparing for the future is like nothing else in the world...discovering who you are....and meeting tons of people and expanding the social horizon...and doing other things like going to hear a visiting lecturer or see a show or join a club....none of which can be offered at home.

Granted, our son has always been substance free, including alcohol, which many parents worry about even if their kid isnt' T1, so you have to make that lifestyle decision (to embibe or not) and then make plans on how to handle it. It is an extra worry, probably the biggest for a parent. When he was first diagnosed two years ago, one of the first questions we/he asked his endo was how to handle alcohol in case he ever decided to join in.

Yea, we worry, but staying home and not going to college would be clipping wings and result in huge missed opportunities.

Your job, too, is to prove that you are responsible/mature and can take the kind of care of yourself that going to college will require..ya know?!

Best wishes!!!


(diabetic_stud1120) #3

thanks so much, hopefully i can(and i know i will) make my parents proud. like your son i havent done anything stupid like durgs or and alcohol, but that was one of the questions i posed to my endo at my last appt. but thanks for your advice...best of luck to your family and your son at school!

 

TJ


(melodee) #4

Hi Janelle, 

I appreciated your post.  I have a son who was diagnosed in 2000 and he will be going away to college this fall.  I am just worried sick about him because he really doesn't take the best care of himself and I have to stay after him constantly.  He took much better care of himself in middle school than he does now.  He's too busy and doesn't want to bother with it.  I cannot imagine what it will be like when he goes away.  One benefit, however, is that he is quite the fitness buff.  He has been a weight lifter for several years and knows how to eat to build MUSCLE, he just doesn't give enough attention to keeping his blood sugar stable.

I'm really happy that your son has had such a good experience and that his school is large enough to accomodate his health issue.  My son will be going to a very small private college that I doubt will have the same advantages for someone with type one.  If you have any advice as to how we can prepare for this transition, I am all ears.

Thanks,

Melodee


(JanelleIS) #5

Hi Melodee,

Good to hear from you! I've been trying to think of some really 'sagely' advice...don't know if this will be it, but here are some heartfelt thoughts, at least.

First, realize that probably at least half of your worries are what all mom's have sending their kid off to college, T1 son or not:) Is  he your first going off to college? How far away will he be?

I think, too it may be a bit 'normal' for him to get a little lax in these teen/young adult years...realizing, of course, that 'lax' can be dangerous for our kids. It's so good that he is an athlete. You'll have to keep him supplied with his gatorade and such. We fill the car up with Fuze's, juices, and that Gatorade when Jake comes home for a visit and heads back.

 

Tho we couldn't see God's wisdom at the time,I think I may understand why/how Jacob is so diligent in his care.  The week Jake was diagnosed he also began driver's ed. Each class was a 3 hour long class in a classroom setting. HIs first night of class, we dropped him off, hoped all went well and picked him up at the end of class. When he got to the car, he was ashen white, with terror just running through is eyes. This instructor always shows a video to the new class on organ donations in the hope they will do it and have it on their first licenses. Well, guess who needed an organ donation??  A diabetic..who really h ad had a rough time of it or had really not taken care of himself. It was a totally terrifying half hour of the movie for him and then another 2.5 hours of class. When he got in the car he was panic-stricken, thinking that all diabetics end up as bad off as this guy did and that we were keeping that a secret from him and not telling him stuff. We convinced him that the chances of that happening to him were minute, especially if he was careful and did exactly what he was supposed to do. It was a worst day/night than the day he was diagnosed...it really was awful. But, I think he took that message to heart and is careful.  I am not necessarily suggesting scaring your son to the extreme, but....

Well, he is actually getting a bit lazy with disposing of his syringes (throwing them in the regular garbage, tho always capped). And he does not wear a medical ID, but does have one attached to his backpack. That won't help if he is ever without a back pack and that is something we will be discussing next week when he is home for spring break. Oh, and we have medical info written on a label stuck to his license, which he is never without. He claims in an emergency people DO check the ID/license, but I say they do as a second thought, not a first.

 

One somewhat comforting thought about the college campus of any size in general...very rarely  is any student ever alone. They travel in packs, study in groups, go out together, live together, etc. and it seems they are very willing to learn something new and are willing to watch for signs in their diabetic friend if they are made aware of it. Which, of course is up to your/my son to do so.

All schools of any size, too, offer disability services, so you guys should go right there during orientation and get set up with them. Contact the health center, tho you will be filling out health info for their records anyways. And it could never hurt to contact the Dean of Students and share your worries/concerns. He/She may be able to offer some ideas particular to your college.

So those are my thoughts for now.. Maybe more will pop up later. I'd love to hear back from you and keep in touch.

Keeping all our kids in prayer...

Be well,

Janelle

I recently had a new worry....Jake sleeps on a lofted bed, about 5 feet in the air and I have been thinking about lows at night and his ability to get out of bed when groggy/low to get some juice/whatever if that would ever happen. I wanted to ask him to please put some sugar source up on the bed frame some how so he wouldn't have to climb down and all.


(Marldance) #6

Hi Melodee,

You may be surprised as to how many resources a small private school has to offer. I go to a very small liberal arts college and believe that in many ways I have a better support system than some kids do at bigger schools. Because my school is so small almost everyone knows I am diabetic so I feel relatively safe wherever I go on campus because if something happens to me at the very least people will know why. Also the size of my school has allowed me to create very good personal relationships with health services and student academic services. Most of the staff members know me by name because they are dealing with a smaller amount of students than they would be working with at a larger school. This makes it alot easier for them to help me deal with issues I may have because they know me personally and have grown to understand my situation. Have your son introduce himself to these people at the beginning of the school year. He should also work with student academic services to write up an accommodation form that he can give to his teachers. These relationships have also helped me earn a little extra money. When one of the SAS staff members needed a note taker for a class he saw my name on the class list and came to me first. A small school also means small classes and for the most part more accommodating teachers. All of my professors know me by name because most of my classes don't have more than 20 students. I can tell them when I am having an off day and if something goes wrong during a test they are more willing to accommodate me because they have gotten to know me. Many I have had professors go above and beyond on many occasions (i.e. extra time on tests or ability to test in a different room). While I don't necessarily need either of these things it was nice to know that they were willing to help me out. If I were at a bigger school I would just be another name on a list. Alot of schools may also have clubs or support groups for students with chronic illnesses. These can be very helpful and are also a great way to meet people. And if the school doesn't have this sort of organization maybe your son could star one like I am doing. If you have any other questions or worry's please don't hesitate to talk to me.

 

Marlee


(Shhsswim05) #7

Congrats on getting into school! I was diagnosed my senior year of hs right before I went to college. I only went to school an hour away and it was rough for my parents. Best thing to do is to show them that you can take care of yourself now while they are around. That way they know that you can take care of yourself when you are there. No matter what parents are going to worry. I know what helped my parents when I was at school was to send them an excel spreadsheet of bloodsugars every week (I know, I'm a nerd, but what can I say I am also an engineer). The other thing is that they talked to my roommate about everything when I moved in with her. My biggest issue was I freaked out my first roommate when I showed her how to give me a shot. I thought she could take it because she was pre-med, but low and behold actually giving a shot freaked her out and she refused to acknowledge me after that day. I mean, really? I soon moved in with another girl who was more than willing to shove the glucagon in my leg if the need ever arised. We always joked about it too. Letting your RA know too will be helpful. But right now with the parents, show rather than tell them you can take care of yourself. And remember no matter what, they will still worry about you. Hey maybe one day they will let you study abroad. I went to Australia for a semester and it was awesome!


(Lali) #8

Hi Marlee,

I have a son with Type 1 diabetes, he was diagnosed when he was almost 10 years old, he is now 17 and junior in HS (as you may noticed thinking into going to college) I read your post about College and it made me realize that maybe there are other things we should look into and ask about (health services related) while doing our college/universities information sessions and visits so besides working with student academic services to write up an accommodation form are any other suggestions you can share for us to do and ask while visiting campuses? 

Thank you,

Regards,

Lali


(Lali) #9

Hi,

My son was diagnosed when he was almost ten years old now he is 17 and we started to visit colleges/universities. I have gone through the process with my older son who has not diabetes but as you very well know a young adult with diabetes looking into colleges and universities has to worry (more than usual) about the Health services offered at the campus.

Not all of colleges/universities have 24/7 clinic in campus so what if he goes to one of these universities? do you have any suggestions on what to do if this happens?

We are aware of other things we should look into like talking to the Dean of students, the RA, fellow students, disabilities office or student academic service for accommodation letters and groups of kids with chronic illnesses. Is there anything else we should be thinking looking into?

Thank you,

Regards,

Lali.


(melodee) #10

You know, my son is going to a very small college and I don't think it will be very difficult to handle for this reason.  But...I have thought about things like getting him a small fridge in his dorm room to have OJ and Hi-C, etc., do I tell his prof's about his diabetes or do I depend on HIM to do that - what about his roommate...do we tell them how to do a glucagon or would that scare them to death.  It really is so much to think about.  I guess I can tell you more after this fall gets under way.  I was obviously looking for the same kind of guidance - so maybe we can help pave the way for you.  :)

Melodee


(Lali) #11

Melodee,

Look what I just found, more guidance for you too, check these pages out, a lot of info on college life.

This one tells you on how to get the best care at college.

http://www.jdrf.org/index.cfm?page_id=103520

And this one has a lot more info on college life with many interesting articles

http://www.jdrf.org/index.cfm?page_id=103581

Good luck to you and your son.

Lali.


(Lali) #12

Hi TJ,

Congratulations on you going to college. I have a son with type 1 diabetes, he is a junior in HS and as we get ready for college visits and information sessions I came across with health care questions, I have been doing some research and talked to other Moms who are in the same boat as I am, so I can understand your parents concerns. I found this web page that has few articles on college life and how to get the best health service at college, check them out and show them to your parents this might help ease their anxiety. Good luck. Lali.

This has interesting articles even about scholarships for kids with diabetes

http://www.jdrf.org/index.cfm?page_id=103581

This one tells you how to prepare for College life

 http://www.jdrf.org/index.cfm?page_id=103520 


(Marldance) #13

Hey Lali,

Sorry it took so long for me to get back to you but I'm heading into finals week and haven't been checking juvination as much as I would like. Some good things to consider are the hours that health services are open, if they have an emergency contact when they are closed, if they have a relationship with an endo or at least do A1c's, if they give out/ recycle sharps containers, how close the school is to a hospital, if diabetes will be taken into consideration when it comes to housing (i.e. closer to health services). This is all I can think of right now though I'm sure this will inspire more questions. I know that some things that I found nice as a freshman were being housed in the same building as health services (at my school it happens to be located on the first floor of a dorm), knowing that the health services staff knew who I was, and having the option to get an A1c done on campus. Hope this is helpful and please feel free to ask me any other questions you may have.

 

Marlee


(Lali) #14

Hi Marlee,

Thank you for your replay, I appreciate you taking the time to do it specially being so close to finals, Good luck!!

As of now the question that I have is: In order to do your regular check ups, did you find an Endocrinologist close to your college or stayed with the same one back home?

Take your time to replay, I am in no rush and I understand you may have a lot of school work to do because of finals.

I am taking into consideration all of your suggestions, thank you for offering me your guidance on this issue  and definitely I will ask you for more tips as we get closer to narrowing down the college my son is interested in.

Best Regards and good luck,

Lali.


(Marldance) #15

Hey Lali,

I actually still go to my endo at home. I try to go once during winter break, once during spring break, at the beginning of the summer and at the end of the summer. I'm not very good with change, especially when it comes to doc's so this has worked very well for me. I would suggest trying this but if it doesn't work you may be able to get your current endo to recommend one closer to the college for your son. Doc's tend to have alot of great connections. 


(Lali) #16

Hi Marlee,

Thanks, this is good to know, I hope my son follows your lead on this issue, when it comes to big changes he does not embrace them right away, We both really like his Doctor here in Cincinnati, he knows him as a person not only as a patient. We still have to go through one more year of HS and then into College and I will contact you if more questions arise during this span of time, I appreciate reading all of your suggestions specially coming from some one like you who has and is going through an experience he will soon be facing.

Take Care,

Lali.


(stilledlife) #17

Just in case, look into the record for endocrine care at your local hospitals.

I found out that the closest hospital to were I was had an awful reputation for diabetic care and chose one further away. I was happy I did the research and planned ahead for if... and then when I got an early August flu.

It was one of them best things I did for myself besides finishing my degree.


(Lali) #18

Thank you, Great advice! let me know if you have more to share. Lali.