Home from College/University


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Coming home for the holidays or summer gives your college/university student the chance to exhale after a busy term. Your student may be looking forward to home-cooked meals, seeing their friends, playing with the family dog and having no exams to worry about for a month. For a parent of T1D, watching their child leave the comfort of home to enter the world of college can be a scary concept, so their return is something to look forward to as well. It’s helpful to keep in mind that a transition to college/university may change mindsets for both student and parent, so effective communication is important to ensure that your holidays will run smoothly and successfully.

Acknowledge changes

As you might imagine, a semester of classes, tests, parties and drinking will leave your child looking for a stay-cation in their house with no responsibilities. As a parent, prepare for the idea that you might not receive all of the quality family time that you have been looking forward to. Your child has been exposed to being out in the world on his own schedule, doing his own thing and managing his own time. Don’t be surprised if they have separate agendas and don’t rely on you for as much. They will probably do things at their own time and make their own routine while they are back home and sleep, a lot.

Set house rules

Nonetheless, you still have the right to set your own house rules in relations to curfew, drinking and other things that college students may not think twice about at school. Giving your college student these boundaries can make sure that you start off your break on the right foot and avoid any arguments. For example, acknowledge that he or she maybe used to going out late and arriving home in the early morning, but you prefer they arrive home by an agreed upon time so as not to disrupt the house or that if they will not be home for family meals they let you know in advance. Communication and setting expectations is key.

Schedule the endo visit

For your T1D student, it is important to set up your endocrinologist appointment for the holidays, especially if he or she is at a university far from home. That way, you can breathe easy knowing that your child is checking in with a doctor to clear up any college illnesses or insulin adjustments. While there set up the next appointment for the following school break to ensure maintaining a regular care schedule.

Discuss lifestyle changes

There is no secret that a lack of sleep, drinking and stress can impact blood sugar levels. Take time to check in with your student to see how he is doing with time management, the stress of academics and the pressures of social life in addition to managing their type 1.

Stock-up on supplies

Check the inventory and make sure  your home is stocked with the same supplies (that aren’t expired!) you had in house when they were living at home. Don’t forget to refill the low box in his or her room with everything needed for a low or an emergency. When holiday break is over, consider having supplies on hand to give to your child or refilling prescriptions and sending them back with a full arsenal.

One of the most important things to give a student coming home from college is the appropriate balance of support and independence. Offer your help when needed, but trust your student that they are learning how to become an adult who is also navigating type 1!

Check out our other college/university resources.

WRITTEN BY BT1 Editorial Team, POSTED 12/06/16, UPDATED 12/26/22

This piece was authored collaboratively by the Beyond Type 1 Editorial Team.