Taking a Medical Condition to College?

Posted by Judy Anne Cavey on Aug 29, 2011 in , , | No Comments

Enter college without added stress by being organized.

Thousands of students enter college with minor–and major–medical conditions that usually require monitoring by a doctor, medication, and/or some attention to diet. But you can put any fears to rest by doing a few simple things described below.

Two College Grads Help

Brothers Spike and Bo Loy, authors of Getting A Grip On Diabetes, were college bound with type 1 diabetes. They decided to write the book to help others in their position deal with a serious, but manageable illness. Spike graduated from Stanford University, while Bo graduated from USC, both were very active, thanks to smart preparation. Below are a few of their tips to assist you in making your transition as smooth as possible:

  • It takes a little organization and planning, so take time to do so before the hectic pace begins.
  • Mark “handicapped” or “chronically ill” boxes on your applications. This lets the school know that you have a condition that may require special attention. It’ll make life easier.
  • Register at the disabilities office. Registering will ensure you get the support you need when you need it and will help you get preferred housing too.
  • Get housing that has an open kitchen or that is near a 24-hour food source on campus. Medication or certain food that needs refrigeration you’ll want nearby.
  • Put a small refrigerator in your room. Diabetics can put insulin, ice packs, glucagon kits and food in one for example.
  • Get a meal plan that has no absolute limit. It might cost a little more, but you’ll have easy access to food.
  • Don’t be afraid to use special resources that your new school may offer. For example: note-takers can be provided if your illness prevents you from attending class one day.
  • Let trusted people around you know about your medical condition. This is especially important with diabetes. Giving them symptoms of something gone wrong could save your life. Resident assistants and other staff (including professors) should be alerted in writing too.

More Good Advice

“As you go through college you’ll figure out what works best for you, before long you’ll have your routine down…”, advise the brothers.

And the Loy’s mother wrote a book for parents, Real Life Parenting of Kids With Diabetes, which devotes an entire chapter to going off to college, including tips for both students and parents.

No matter what your medical condition is, take this last tip from the Loy’s, “…you can do anything…you just have to be a little bit smarter and more prepared than your friends.”


*Quotes taken from an interview with Diabetes Forecast magazine.


Note: Don’t miss Wednesday’s “Quick Tips” featuring helpful apps to keep you healthy!


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