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Tips for Managing Type 1 at College

August 25, 2016

As summer winds down and the crisp breeze of autumn fills the air, sleepy college towns begin to awaken and buzz with excitement. Back to school is a happy time for parents who are ready for the school year routine to kick in and the craze of summer to settle, but, it’s also a very important time for young adults preparing for college. Campuses nationwide will be welcoming a new class of freshmen as well as returning students who may be leaving the comfort of the dorms and living on their own for the first time. Making this major transition can be just as nerve-wracking as it is exhilarating, but with type 1 Diabetes, a whole new set of uncertainties come into play. Here are some helpful hints for managing diabetes at college that can take some of the stress and anxiety out of the anticipation so you can focus on the hard work ahead and the fun of meeting new friends.

Time for a check-up!

Before starting school it’s a great idea to meet with your primary care doctor or endocrinologist to come up with a care plan that addresses your specific needs. No two people are the same, so no two treatment plans will be the same. This is why it’s extremely important to make sure that you ask your doctor about what will work best for you. Please keep in mind that the tips here are just suggestions and they should not be considered medical advice! Always talk to your doctor before making changes to your treatment plan. If you’re moving out of state for school, do some research to find a trusted doctor or endocrinologist near your new area. Another important thing to consider is potential changes to your health insurance, your status as a college student can change your policy so it’s important to stay on top of extra expenses associated with Diabetes care.  

School Supplies

People tend to think of school supplies like notebooks and pencils, but there is another set of necessary school supplies for Diabetics. Although most remember to take their blood glucose meter, monitoring strips, alcohol wipes, insulin, it is easy to forget items that can easily be found at home like a sharps container or things that may not have been considered like urine ketone test strips. One of the quickest ways to put your mind at ease is to carry glucose gel in your bag. Transcend glucose gels have exactly 15 grams of glucose, which is the amount recommended by the American Diabetes Association for treating blood sugar lows without overrating. Glucose gels are a better choice than glucose tablets that are chalky and time-consuming to chew because the gel allows glucose to start to absorb into the gums instantly. Transcend Glucose Gels have a durable package so you can keep it in the bottom of your book bag without worrying about it spilling and getting all over everything. Our glucose gel formula isn’t compromised by heating or freezing and it has a long-lasting shelf life so you can keep pouches on you all year long with no worries. You can never be too prepared, so bring more supplies than you may think you actually need and you will be prepared for success. Other items to pack include Medic Alert identification, a copy of important contact phone numbers, and their insurance card. It’s a great idea to get a special medical cabinet so everything lives in one place that is easy to find.

Spread the Word

    It’s important, to be honest with new people that you meet, the difference could be life or death. It’s a good idea to find and connect with the disabilities office on campus. Reaching out to the campus disabilities office will also give you a chance to ask about any Diabetes support groups or philanthropy events that may be on campus.

    Talk to your professors on the first day about your Diabetes, by being up-front with your professors, they can be aware that your insulin pump may beep in class. It’s beneficial to talk to your professors before you have an incident so that it doesn’t seem like you are making excuses halfway into the semester.

    Tell your roommates so they know what things are and they have an idea of what to expect. If you’re going to a party with new friends, make sure at least one person knows about your Diabetes so you can have a helping hand in case of emergency.  

Don’t Slack

    We’re not talking about wandering onto Facebook in class here… it’s easy to get wrapped up in all the work that comes along with college (and of course the plethora of extracurricular activities available on campus) but it is vitally important to stay on top of managing your blood sugar and insulin levels. Always be cognizant of how you are feeling when studying because studying with highs and lows can negatively impact your grades. Time flies by when you are y keeping control you can study more effectively. Pay special attention to those moments when it starts to feel like you definitely need another cup of coffee. Do yourself a favor and get a three-ring notebook to make your own Blood Sugar Log and record your numbers. Consider it your first college assignment.

Fight the Freshman 15

    Fending off the freshman 15 is especially important for Diabetics! On-campus cafeterias will most likely have carb counts on meals, but if yours doesn’t there are some handy carb counting apps you can rely on for a good estimate. Find a workout buddy and keep each other accountable for being active. Make a plan to be at the gym and your bodies will thank you.


    Most importantly, relax because you totally got this. We’ve given you a LOT of tips to consider here because we know that it never hurts to be prepared, but just remember that you CAN DO IT! All you need is a little belief in yourself and the plan will fall into place. Remember that it is ok to make mistakes, as long as we learn something and grow. Keep a Glucose Gel so you can skip the life lessons the Type 1 Diabetics have learned in the past.

We couldn’t have done this without help from our amazing sources! Check them out for more tips and insight on going to college with Type 1 Diabetes.


Looking for the perfect snack when you’re on the go? Try our Transcend Glucose Gels!

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