Let’s start off by being 100% real. School is difficult and Type 1 Diabetes is even more difficult. Both T1D and school are two very important things that can’t be avoided. We need to take care of our Diabetes in order to live and we need to go to school in order to be educated and help change the world. Most students are able to go about life only having school to worry about at the time, but add Type 1 Diabetes to the mix and things just got a whole lot more complicated! Don’t stress out though! As scary as it can be, you are not alone. Millions of Diabetics have gone through school, work, and all that life has to offer, all while maintaining their Diabetes, so just like they did all that, so can you!
No matter what school you go to, what educational status you are in, or what classes you take, the simple reality is that we all go through it someway or another. When you have Diabetes added to your educational journey, it can be hard to stay focused and motivated to work hard and learn as much as possible. Even though you may have many more responsibilities other than getting your school work done, if there is a will, there is a way! And with that will, you can do anything you put your mind to.
I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when I was in the 6th grade and let me tell you, it was not easy at all! Having to adjust to a chronic disease at the same time you are trying to fit in with your friends, transition into your teenage years, and maintain good grades is a lot of hard work, but, I must give it up to my amazing school, teachers, nurses, and parents for helping me out as much as possible in providing a safe place for me to learn and feel protected, no matter what Diabetes decided to do to me at any given moment. I remember how I wasn’t all that sure on Diabetes at the time, so I didn’t really know whether or not I could just play for hours on end without having to worry about going low during recess or if I could eat anything I wanted at class parties without having to inject first, however, after several good and bad moments, I have found a stable way of living in which I can cope with all school events and still take care of my health! Fast forward a few years and I am now in college, halfway done with my undergraduate degree and full of so many amazing opportunities that are shaping my future in the most amazing way possible! If I can do it, so can you!
Let me break down some tips and tricks that have helped me as a student who also lives with Type 1 Diabetes:
1) Scheduling is key! When you plan ahead and make a schedule of all the things that need to get done, making a set time to eat snacks to keep your blood sugar at a healthy level and knowing how your body works throughout the day so that you can help prevent lows and highs is a huge help as a student.
2) Talk to your teachers. When your teachers are aware of your Diabetes, it gives both you and the teacher peace of mind in knowing that you can do the things you love and there is someone there to help in case of any unexpected emergencies. Educating your teachers is an essential part in being a student with T1D. This way, you never have to worry about going low or high in class and if for any given reason you don’t feel well during a test or quiz, your teacher will hopefully allow you to take it another time, when you are feeling better!
3) Breathe! It’s okay. We’re all in this together, we may not all be at the same school, but around the world, there are plenty of Diabetic students that are proving stereotypes wrong and getting an education. You will get there, if you haven’t already, but through it all, take time to just breathe. Do things that you love to keep you in line and healthy. Too much stress isn’t good for you, so don’t stress a thing! As long as you have a plan of action to go by, you can do school however you like!
So go get that education and own it, because there is nothing more inspiring than knowing that you were able to do school, work, and life with T1D like a pro! Don’t stress yourself out and don’t worry, because it will all work out and T1D is just a part of your everyday life. It shouldn’t stop you from following your dreams and goals one bit!