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Did Having T1D Affect Your College Selection?

Discussion in 'Diabetes and College' started by Aimee729, Sep 25, 2009.

  1. Aimee729

    Aimee729 Approved members

    Aug 9, 2009
    Our daughter was diagnosed 6 months and as a HS junior. We are beginning to seriously narrow down her college choices. My question is: did you choose to apply to colleges closer to home because of your diabetes or are you going away far from home?

    We are thinking of looking in a 2 hour radius of our home. Does that make sense? As college students or parents of college students- is it more convenient to attend college close to home? Do you have an endo in your college town? Or do you keep your endo appts. with your home doctor?

    As a parent, have you ever had to drive to school to take care of your child in an emergency situation or when they have been ill?

    Lots of questions. Thanks for your input.

    Worried Mom.:eek:
  2. RomeoEcho

    RomeoEcho Approved members

    Dec 22, 2008
    I am not a parent, so I may think very different than you. However, I suspect that your daughter is more capable of taking care of herself than you think. I have been living alone for years now, and while my control has not always been "perfect" it's ranged between excellent and "close enough." sometimes there are times in college where her priorities will shift, her A1cs may (or may not) increase. My endo's goal for me in college was to do everything that comes with college, including moving away from home, pulling all nighters to get that project done, varsity sports, and even party. I made some choices that a parent probably wouldn't have made, but I also made a lot of good ones and I did learn from my mistakes. I had a couple A1cs jump up in the upper 8s and low 9s, but even though we would rather not see those numbers long term, they aren't immediately life threatening either. My endo encouraged me to do what I could, but told me that there was still plenty of time for lower A1cs after college. I am now back in the 6s, safe, healthy and happy.

    I don't think she should be limited at all in where she goes to college based on her diabetes. Realistically, you aren't going to be any more involved in her care if she is two hours away than if she is eight hours away. The daily decisions will still be up to her. As for the endo, I think it depends on how much you both like her current one. I love mine and have stayed with him even as I moved several times. I only see him two to three times a year, it's worth it to travel. If you like her doc, you make appointments around holidays and breaks. If not, or if she chooses a school in a larger city with more options than you currently have, maybe consider finding a new one.

    I think her willingness to be open with her friends is going to be more important than her proximity to you. It doesn't need to be the first thing she tells people, but she also shouldn't be ashamed of it. Hiding diabetes can lead to lack of testing or skipping insulin. Being open with friends leads to support and someone who cares about your daughter and lives with her looking out for her. It will be hard for both of you, much more you than her, but don't let diabetes be the reason to choose a college because she can be healthy and successful at any school. Good luck to both of you.
  3. bgallini

    bgallini Approved members

    Feb 23, 2008
    I don't want to scare you but after applying to and visiting a number of colleges in state, Alex ended up going to a college all the way across the country! Mostly he went b/c that's where his gf wanted to go :rolleyes: But I imagine part of it was a way to get farther from me.:(:eek::cwds:

    We did look for an endo out there but could only find one even remotely close to his college and then realized that the way the semesters are, he could probably only fit 2 endo visits in each year if he used one out there. So, we found a new, adult endo here in VA and he sees him 3x a year. Once over Christmas Break, then right when he gets home in May and then right before he goes back in Aug.

    RomeoEcho is right that unless she lives at home, she is going to be totally responsible for her day to day care, so 2 hrs or 8 hrs isn't going to make much dif. And she will do a good job of it most likely. She can always call or text with questions if she wants (Alex rarely calls with D questions.)

    I don't think that any issues I've had would have been better if Alex was in state. Things like getting him the flu shot and getting him to send back his recalled minimed quicksets. I suppose if he was in state, I could drive there and do these things for him but he's an adult and should be able to handle them himself. (and if he doesn't deal with the quicksets by Parent's Weekend, then I'll do that for him.)

    I think I would leave this up to your daughter. Certainly encourage in state, closer to home but don't push too hard.
  4. Liongirl4

    Liongirl4 Approved members

    Aug 14, 2007
    We are doing the college visits now. So far the ones Samantha is interested are within 2 hours from home. And I wanted that!! But I have come to realize that this is HER life and is she wants to go 5 or 6 hours away, I will let her. She is very smart and has so much potential, I cant let diabetes stand in the way of that.
    But, I will admit, that I NEVER forget about it as we look at the dorm rooms, or walk across campus or check out the dining options..I always ask what kind of health services are available..and I would like her to keep her endo depending on where she goes.
    I know of kids who did well away, and I know of one or two who ended up coming back home to live..there is always that option.
    Our kids with diabetes still need to spread their wings and fly!!
    (And I am tearing up as I write this)
  5. s0ccerfreak

    s0ccerfreak Approved members

    Mar 17, 2007
    yes and no. I didn't limit my search to within a 2 hour radius. I happend to find a school I loved that is only 40 minutes from home- yes my parents love this.

    My current endo is about 30 minutes from my school. I can call anytime or email during hours if I need help. I will be switching endos at the end of this month because I'm "too old." My new endo will be closer to home so a 35-40 minute drive from school. My pedi strongly suggested this endo and since I loved my pedi I figured I'ld give this endo a chance. I also know where I can go for medical care near school should I need it and I know I can count on my friends to drive me there.

    I am the one who has to deal with d everyday and has to decide what to do when something comes up. Sure I can call my mom or the endo office, but I have to make the first decision. I have a whole plastic drawer cart dedicated to my d supplies. I make sure I have lots of juice, tabs, or other sugar source on hand. My room is stocked with food for lows, sick days, or just to eat as a meal.

    Your daughter is going to amaze you. You have taught her what she needs to know. She has it in there somewhere and will use it when she has to. You give her the tools she needs and then you have to let her go. So the next 1.5 years you need to continue to teach her and prepare her for living on her own. I have little "cheat sheets" for exercise, highs, lows, and sick days. I also have lists of carb counts for typical snacks or meals. These are wonderful! I log and analyze my numbers twice a week. It was something my mom and np got me started on when i was younger and it stuck. Get her into the habit of logging her numbers- do it together twice a week.

    Stress the importance of talking to roommates, friends (when the time seems right), ra's, campus safety, and professors about her diabetes. If something happens it is important for somebody to know that she has d. She might even find other people with d by doing this. So far I have found 4 connections: I have a prof with t1, a fellow student with t1, a friends brother with t1, and my school president has 2 sons with t1. My school even had a team of 50+ at the jdrf walk!

    Check into disability services at the schools she is looking at. My school has been wonderful about accomodations. My np wrote a letter and I told them what i wanted/needed. Of course it is different for every place that is why you need to look into it now. the disability services then wrote a letter to my professors. I took it to them so they could ask questions. They signed 1 copy which I took back to ds and they kept one copy for their records. Now I don't have to worry about lows or highs during tests- I can rescedule. I can make-up anything I miss (for d reasons). I can eat or drink in class. I have someone to take notes for me if I'm not in class (for d reasons). The teachers know to call 911 if I pass out or seize and that it happens because of low blood sugar. I am so happy that I talked to them and have this all worked out. It is less of a worry for me.
  6. Ronin1966

    Ronin1966 Approved members

    Feb 18, 2010
    Hello Aimee729:

    Ancient thread but a good topic worth discussion....

    As a young woman, your daughter will be making all kinds of choices in her life of every possible kind. As she is already. But as a college student SHE will need to make them, not you and not her father.... HER

    You cannot hold her hand not matter how well intentioned. She will blow lots of things and make bad choices like everyone else. She'll learn from them....

    Last time I checked every college, university any place on the planet has electricity, heating, food and a health service too. While nice to have a "safety net" (you in walking distance) it is massive over protection on your part.

    If she had a problem they will call you. If she needs you there, there are trains, planes and driving if required. If you are truly worried about the medical care she might get then push her towards someplace urban. Boston comes to mind?

    You are the reason that she's made it this far, openly or behind the scenes. Now its time to watch her fly.... you've done your job, now let her do hers :)
  7. Scribe

    Scribe Approved members

    May 26, 2009
    i agree with most of the sentiments here -- by the time you enter college you're an adult and you attend the college that's best for you academic needs. D should not even be in the equation. after all, D is a well known disease and relatively easy to treat. there are hospitals and health centers everywhere with staff perfectly qualified to deal with any issue that might arise.
    i went to college in the '70s at a school 600 miles from my home. this was before pumps, before cell phones and when the regimen was one-shot-per-day of NPH. i never had a problem.
    i also i told no one about my D - not the school, not my roommates, not even my girlfriend at the time. i dealt with it myself and all went well. in fact, college was one of the best experiences of my life.
  8. lifeofadiabetic

    lifeofadiabetic New Member

    Apr 6, 2010
    Not At All

    I was attending college 90 minutes from my home when I was diagnosed. I was diagnosed 3 weeks before finals and missed the last 3 weeks of school so I had to miss a lot of time. I had problems with the school giving me credits, so I decided to leave that school.

    Instead of staying closer to home and being around people that I trust, I decided that it was time to leave and I moved from Pennsylvania to Florida with nobody but myself. I knew nobody down here. As soon as I met my roommates, I explained diabetes, showed them all of my supplies and what each one does. I showed them how to use a glucagon kit, what the signs were and if they noticed them, what they should do.

    I don't think that diabetes should affect your college selection at all. All campuses pretty much have a pharmacy or nurse right on campus.

    Don't let diabetes affect anything in your life, because then you are letting it win.
  9. lisalotsamom

    lisalotsamom Approved members

    Sep 18, 2006
    As we've sent our older kids off to college, it's made me wonder what the process would be like for Tessa. She was dx almost 6 years ago, and we figured we had a decade to work everything out.
    Then, *WHAM*, our 22yo, college senior was dx in March. He's at a univ that is a 7 hour drive from our home, and not very good airline access. I was in a panic trying to think of everything that he'd need to do and know, in a short amount of time.
    After staying home a week after his dx, I went up with him to school and stayed 4 days, helping him get settled, being his safety net during that time. It was incredibly hard driving away, leaving him there, newly diagnosed. He had his first low as I was driving home.
    The good thing was that Kevin had a big group of close friends, and a girlfriend that were all willing and happy to help out. They all learned the symptoms of lows and how to use Glucagon if needed, we found out that CVS can pull up prescriptions at any of their locations. Even though we put them into the system here, Kevin could refill and pick them up near his university. We also found out which ER is the best for him to go to in town, which ones to avoid for endo care. The university health center won't be doing anything with his diabetes, so didn't even bother with them. He wears his medicalert dog tag 24/7, and that gives me comfort.
    So, in the end, the distance isn't really making much of a difference. It would be nice to be closer, so visiting him or having him come home more often would be an option, but he loves his university, and this is his life.
  10. Mody_Jess_Pony

    Mody_Jess_Pony Approved members

    Jun 14, 2008
    No, D did not effect my decision of where I went to college. I applied to American colleges and Cdn. and ended up going four hours away from home. NOT once did I think about my D and college choices. I don't really see how D effects my college choice at all. I went where I wanted to go.
    Honestly it shouldn't even be a factor. I did all my own D care, and when I needed help my mom was only a phone call away and I met amazing friends.
    I went where my heart and grades wanted me to go. Mount Allison University is by far the best thing thats ever happened to me.
    and as hard as it is to think, someday your kids will be doing all there on D care, thats the reality of it and where they are won't matter, unfortunately like Diabetes there is no cure for growing up. I hate to sound harsh, but I was glad my parents let me take the intiative and stood by the belief that diabetes was not a factor nor a deciding factor for what and where I wanted to do with the rest of my life including university/college .
    Check into disability services. I know where I go to school they are fantastic about it all and have an amazing health center.
    so no, Diabetes wasn't a deciding factor.

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