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Back to school with T1...

Discussion in 'Type 1 Diabetes' started by WhimsicalWays, Sep 11, 2009.

  1. WhimsicalWays

    WhimsicalWays · Active Member

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    So, I have recently figured out what I want to do with my life (after two degrees, I will now go back for my third - a Bachelor of Education...), and so am heading back to school to get some prerequisite courses. I am taking courses which, while far less complicated than what I'm used to, are a fair bit of work - lots of reading, loads of memorization (ow my brain, haven't memorized like this for years!), and also looots of surprise quizzes. I am looking for tips from those T1s who have attended university or college... How did you manage the long days, 3 hour classes (wherein you have to think on the spot etc.), and surprise quizzes?

    My blood sugars are pretty good, but I do struggle with lows (a couple a day usually...). While when I was doing my Master's degree or working as a researcher at home this wasn't a big problem (no quizzes in the Master's classes, and working at home I could take my blood a million times a day, take a break to eat a snack etc.) now I have to worry about in-class exercises, and quizzes about twice a week. So, any advice? I hate over-eating (and then experiencing spikes) when I get nervous about going low during class, but I also stress all class about dropping and not mentally functioning at my optimal level (yes I am a control freak, but I also failed a few tests in high school b/c of sudden lows)... I do have a CGM and am just waiting for my training session, so hopefully this will help, but any advice from those of you who balance T1 and stressful classes? Do you discretely take your blood throughout classes? What snacks do you eat? Have you ever chatted with a prof re: the small chance you could bomb a surprise quiz b/c you're low?

    Sorry if this is a silly question, I guess that (while I'm now a grown woman) some of my old anxieties and insecurities are resurfacing. So thanks for any help!
  2. Verve09

    Verve09 · Member

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    No, it's not a silly question/worry at all. Well done for all your academic success so far and good luck with the teaching career! I've just recently completed quite a stressful UG degree and hopefully I'll be able to offer some useful advice.

    When I first went to Uni, it was quite overwhelming with all the change, work and socialising and my diabetes control suffered a bit. Thankfully, seeing as you've done the degree lark before, you'll already have some experience of dealing with this, so hopefully it won't be such a shock.

    I actually had the opposite problem to you - the stress of being put on the spot in tutorials made my bloods shoot up, not done, but still, this wasn't ideal. One thing that really helped me was to inform my tutors and lecturers of my condition so they were able to make allowances. It was nice as well that some of them would just check up on me (not in a patronising way), even if I was fine - it just showed that they appreciated that it's a little bit harder for us diabetics. Maybe you could ask them not to land surprise tests on you and explain why this is detrimental to your health.

    In lectures, I would occasionally test my blood sugar, but luckily I can feel my hypo warning signs quite accurately, so I'd often just pop 3-4 jelly babies. Most of my classmates and friends were too busy concentrating on the lecturer, they had no idea I was eating anything.

    The only thing I used to really worry about was going low in exams. My university (as most) are super-strict about exam regulations, so I had to request for a certificate from the Proctors to allow me to take some sugary sweets into the examination hall. If you have exams for the Bach ED, maybe ask them if you could have extra time to test your blood, if needed.

    I hope some of that is useful. I would say that doing a degree made hard work of my diabetes control. Often my days weren't structured the same, i.e. I wasn't working a 9-5, I could be doing any number of hours, either in the library or in tutorials. So don't beat yourself up if you're going low and feel like it's a bit tough.

    All the best.
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