Last year, one of the units I was studying at uni was, well, really badly organised. The major assignment for the semester was due within a week of the topic it was based on being taught.
I absolutely love studying as a fully online student for the convenience it offers me, but for the most part it’s an isolating experience because you’re left to work largely on your own. Not too dissimilar to living with diabetes. The support often isn’t there in the same way that on campus students get, but I do acknowledge that this is the path I have chosen.
I posted something on the message board for this unit, joining other students who were expressing similar frustrations over this assessment. Later that very night, I received a message from an old friend from high school, asking me how my assignment was going.
‘How do you know that!?’
As spooky as it sounded, his girlfriend was doing the exact same unit as I was. He must have seen my post on the message board, and he’d probably heard just about every complaint I’d ever had with this particular unit throughout the semester.
We’ve been in touch a bit over the past few months. He’s been asking me about the units I’m doing, how my exams went and those all important results. Pretty similar to our days studying accounting together in year 12, without the rivalry over who got the better test result (it was usually him, with what looked like about half the effort that I put in).
A week or so ago, I ran into this friend in person. He introduced me to his girlfriend, who was doing the same course that I was. As I was expecting to start talking about uni, he said something else.
‘She’s got diabetes, too! he said to me. ‘Go on, show him your pump!’ he gestured to her.
While I thought that was really cool, I told her that she did not have to fish out her pump on my account, as he urged her on.
My friend knows that I have diabetes, and that I do a lot in diabetes advocacy. I just thought it was so cool, that in all those months of messages, his girlfriend’s diabetes hadn’t come up once.
As much as I devote my online life to oversharing about diabetes, as happy as I am to wear diabetes as a badge of honour for the sake of raising awareness, there is so much more that defines us than just living with diabetes.