Guest Posty by Dhanu Thiyagajan, College student and founder of Gluten Free Campus.
The following is a guest post by Dhanu Thiyagarajan, a sophomore at University of Pittsburgh and founder of Gluten Free My Campus, the university’s gluten-free student group. Dhanu is studying bioengineering and hopes to go to medical school to become an OB/GYN doctor. She has been gluten-free since December 2010.
Applying to college is a hard decision on its own, but it’s even harder being a college student on a gluten-free diet. These are five things that I found to be really important regarding the gluten-free diet when applying to colleges.
- On-Campus DiningThe dining halls and areas on campus should have safe gluten-free options available for you. It is very important to know that those who are cooking your food know how important it is to avoid cross-contamination. If the college can’t offer this for you, make sure you can cancel your meal plan.
Ask if there’s a gluten-free student group on campus.
- Student Health CenterTalking to the dietitian is helpful, so they can help with your diet and can inform you accordingly of any updates regarding the gluten-free options on your campus. Make sure the health center accepts your insurance and can help you in case you get sick from accidental gluten ingestion or in general.
- Living in a DormIt is good to know what appliances are allowed in your dorm room. A fridge with a freezer is your best friend!
- Campus SupportHaving a gluten-free club on campus is wonderful because you know there is support on campus, and people to help you with this adjustment. Also, knowing if there is a decent amount of people on a gluten-free diet will allow you to be more confident that gluten-free living there is possible.
- Off-campus restaurantsSocializing with friends is a huge part of a college lifestyle and a lot of that is done during meals. It is good to make sure that there are restaurants around where you can go, eat and socialize safely.
Different people have different needs for college, so it is important to prioritize your needs and choose your colleges accordingly.