The Effects of Peer Pressure on Diabetes
When you go to college, you are suddenly surrounded by a large group of people who don’t know right off the bat that you have diabetes. They didn’t grow up with you. They didn’t watch you check your blood sugar and give yourself insulin shots. They don’t know that you can’t stay up all night and do careless or unhealthy things that they simply consider “having fun.”
And in college, it isn’t rare to make new friends every month or semester because classes change or you go to a campus event and you meet new faces in the crowd. And with each new friend you may encounter something like this:
“Ohhh, c’mon, don’t be so good, stay out longer!”
And it’s hard sometimes to explain to these people that it isn’t about being a “good student” or being a “party pooper” or whatever they want to call it. For you, as a diabetic, staying out all night can quite possibly have severe consequences on your health. It’s hard to explain to them that you have different rules to follow. You have different standards for how you treat your body in order to be healthy.
Learning how to say, “No thank you,” as a diabetic in college is crucial. It isn’t just once or twice you might encounter these situations—it could be all the time. It could be every weekend or every Thursday. But the trick is knowing your limits and most importantly, knowing your priorities.
When I find myself arguing with a new friend over the fact that I’m done for the night and I’m going home to sleep, I’ve learned that all I have to say is, “I am diabetic. You won’t win at pressuring me into doing things that are clearly dangerous to my health.”
And that pretty much solves the problem. It’s just that people tend to forget—especially people who don’t spend a large part of their day maintaining their health—and when you remind them that you are literally living with a very serious chronic illness, they back off.
I could easily be pressured into going white-water rafting or eating something gross like the eyes on a lobster (my brothers ate those once…), but when it comes to endangering my diabetes, try all you will but at the end of the day, I do what I need to and I make my own choices.