Back to School 2020 – T1D Exchange and CDN

School is back in session… sort of? Whether you’re sitting at a desk at home in your pajamas, rushing out the door to a class in person, or figuring out a combination of both, it’s a strange year filled with continued shifts, and adaptations – just like life with diabetes. 

If you are a young adult already physically on campus, your support network is probably shifting. You’re on your own, possibly for the first time in your life, so certain aspects of managing T1D now rest mostly or solely on your shoulders.

Maybe you’re filling your prescription for the first time or are dealing with late night lows solo. You may be looking for a friend who understands how tricky it can be to manage a chronic illness on top of everything else.

Meet the College Diabetes Network (CDN). CDN is a non-profit organization whose mission is singularly focused on providing young adults with T1D the peer connections they value, and expert resources they need to successfully manage the challenging transition to young adulthood at college and beyond.

The founder of CDN, Christina Roth, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 14. While in college, she felt isolated because her peers didn’t understand how difficult it was to juggle classes, T1D, extracurriculars, and a social life. Regardless of whether your “new normal” means transitioning to online coursework, or dealing with a hybrid model, peer support is now more important than ever. 

Over the past 10 years, CDN has helped young adults with T1D through programs and resources, including almost 150 campus-based Chapters. However, students report having trouble negotiating accommodations, finding coordinated support across campus departments, and working with staff to better understand their illness. The burden to advocate for themselves on campus is often heavy. 

CDN wants to ensure that as many campuses and clinicians as possible are prepared to meet the needs of  students living with T1D, and prepared to meet their needs. We offer a vast number of resources inclusive of information around transitioning to school, work, or handling a new diagnosis available for free. Whether you’re a student craving for that peer support on campus and what to start or get involved with a CDN Chapter, or just looking to feel less alone, we are here to help.

Devon Constable, recent graduate of Towson University says that “arriving on campus I felt alone, so alone, but after realizing what CDN was all about and starting my own Chapter, the connections and understanding made my entire college experience that much better. Knowing people around me just get it just matters.” 

 In light of the pandemic, they have also created a COVID specific tip sheet for students and caregivers to have handy focusing on preparedness, communication, and education in case of an emergency.  

Despite the unique challenges ahead for both first year and returning students, peer support and the need for connectivity, regardless of your living or learning environment is critical. Reach out to see how CDN can help you – info@collegediabetesnetwork.org

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