Diabetic in the Dorm


Moving away from home for the first time is scary and exciting at the same time. Saying goodbye to family and friends and moving into your dorm at college brings up mixed emotions and being type 1 can only add to all of the challenges. If you stay positive and plan ahead, type 1 doesn’t have to stop you from having the best move-in transition possible.

When planning your room set-up, make sure you remember to bring a medium sized fridge large enough to store your insulin and your favorite type 1 friendly foods. I like to have milk and juice available at all times. Before bed, I sometimes have a small glass of milk to help my blood sugars stay steady through the night. I also keep lemonade on hand in case I have a low.

Unfortunately, colleges are not known for their healthy options when it comes to food-so keep some snacks in your fridge. My favorite healthy choices are apples and peanut butter and veggies and hummus.

During the first few days of moving in, I noticed that my blood sugars were on the lower side so I kept adjusting my basal rates on the pump so I would not get too low. Usually my mom is there to remind me, but now I needed to learn to adjust things on my own. I realized that my schedule in college is going to be very different than my usual schedule at home. I need to adjust to a new sleep schedule and eating schedule to make sure that my blood sugars stay in check.


When packing for college, I also bought a hard sided vanity case to store all of my diabetes supplies. Make sure to have enough glucose tablets, pens, insertion sets, needles, tester strips, lancets etc. It is always packed and organized so I can grab and go anytime. I even have an extra pump in case mine malfunctions. If you need any special services related to diabetes, every college has a disability office to help you.

Emotionally, it is important to be open and honest with your new friends about your condition. Don’t be afraid to tell people, chances are they know someone with type 1 or in my case I met someone in my major who is a fellow type 1. If you are confident and forthcoming about having type 1, you might actually empower other students who are afraid to talk about it.

Staying organized by using the calendar on your computer or phone is key too. I keep track of site change dates by making a calendar event. Also, if you need supplies or prescriptions, put those in your calendar so you don’t get stuck without your insulin or tester strips. I also keep an extra pack of supplies in my car just in case.

Most of all, maintaining your health and controlling your type 1 diabetes will help you have the best possible experience in college. So get organized and have fun!

More for type 1 college students here

WRITTEN BY Claire Nordstrom, POSTED 08/23/15, UPDATED 09/19/22

Claire was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in May of 2011. She currently attends the University of Southern California and loves the ocean, playing beach volleyball, skiing, hanging out with her family and traveling. Since being diagnosed, Claire has been very open about her condition and has tried to support others with type 1. She stays healthy by eating right and being active. Claire is a classically trained vocalist and songwriter who also plays ukulele. When she was 13, she got to sing the National Anthem at a Seattle Seahawks game! Her music can be found on iTunes and Soundcloud.com/Claire-Nordstrom.