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Going to college when you have type 1 diabetes

Going to college is a big change. You may have a new home, new routine, new friends, and be away from your support network.

There's a lot to think about and plan, but you can still enjoy your time at college and do the things everyone else does.

Tell people about your diabetes

You should tell the people in your course, your housemates and new friends that you have type 1 diabetes. Especially if you're storing your insulin in a shared fridge or drinking alcohol with them.

Tell them what type 1 diabetes means and what they should do if you have a hypo.

Treating a hypo

You should also tell:

  • the manager at your student accommodation
  • your course coordinator
  • the student health department
  • your lecturers and tutors

Keep your insulin cool

You need to store your insulin at the correct temperature in your fridge.

Store insulin that is not in use in the fridge between 2 to 8 degrees Celsius.

Store insulin that you are using at room temperature (between 8 and 25 degrees) for up to 30 days.

Test your blood glucose more often

Feeling nervous about starting college and making new friends, moving and exam stress can all raise your blood glucose.

Check your blood glucose more at first, particularly if you're drinking alcohol.

Alcohol and type 1 diabetes

You can still drink alcohol. But drinking too much can impact your glucose levels, and cause you to a have a hypo. A hypo can happen up to 24 hours after drinking.

A hypo can also make you look like you're drunk, so it's important your friends know about your diabetes and the signs to look out for.

Check your blood glucose regularly while you are drinking and before you go to sleep.

What to do if you're going to drink alcohol

Drugs and type 1 diabetes

It's best not to use drugs at all. If you do use them, speak to your diabetes team about the best ways to stay safe and manage your diabetes.

Make sure someone you're with knows about your diabetes and how to recognise and treat a hypo.

Drugs and type 1 diabetes

Drug and alcohol information and support -

Page last reviewed: 17 October 2023
Next review due: 17 October 2026

This project has received funding from the Government of Ireland’s Sláintecare Integration Fund 2019 under Grant Agreement Number 9.