This was my submission to the 2013 Students with Diabetes Photo Challenge: I am an engineering student. I like math. I like formulas. I like believing that correct calculations lead to desired results. When I was diagnosed with diabetes about a year and a half ago, my brain immediately started planning, devising a strategy based on calculations before emotionally registering the changes that were about to take place. I thought it would be easy as I did my meal math in my head before the nurses finished on their calculators. I believed that if I tried hard enough and followed my formulas, highs and lows could be avoided. I had three days in the hospital to master diabetes before going back to college for my second semester, three days to memorize the math before being dropped off to learn how the disease really works, three days until I began to realize I was alone with a sometimes unpredictable problem, three days before I learned the formulas didn’t always work. At first my control was fantastic. I rarely tested above 130. But after a few hospital visits for an extended hypoglycemic state, I began to fear diabetes and hate the changes it put into place. I, like so many ignorant others, thought that diabetes was simply a matter of food. But schoolwork and exercise kept me lower than expected, and even when I factored these into my equations, the results were far from perfect. I wanted my control back. I wanted my life back. And I despised diabetes and what it did to me. I did not have any diabetic friends at school, and I felt isolated with a problem that my doctors could not fix. My numbers and symptoms did not improve, and I almost had to go home for emergency care before the semester ended. I conducted research myself, hoping to find something that could help explain my problems, but instead I found online diabetic communities. I read about others who had gone through similar problems, but more importantly, I found people who understood. I discovered people who knew what lows felt like and knew the constant fear. I discovered a passion to turn the energy going toward my hatred of diabetes to fighting the disease. I switched my major, formulated a dream of designing insulin pumps, and discovered the Students with Diabetes group and Internship Program. Diabetes has been a thorn, or multiple syringes, in my side, and what I dislike about it most is the feeling that I cannot ever control it or know what to expect. Sometimes I feel like even with my careful calculations, I am just throwing darts at a dartboard, hoping that I am on target. This picture shows how futile precision can seem at times, and just as archery takes practice, knowing how my blood sugar changes with certain activities come with experience. The setting is also important; the forest represents an idea of separation as well as freedom. Although I have diabetes, it is not all of me, and I can still be free of its pain even if I cannot get rid of the disease itself. The light emulates hope as I persevere towards better control and treatment and see the positive outcomes that have come in the short period since I was diagnosed. I have a greater sense of purpose and determination to help other diabetics, and no matter what this disease throws at me, I am resolved to not lose sight of a greater goal. Sometimes, the woods seem deserted and lonely. It is easy to get lost. But if you take time to look, you see life and beauty among danger and pain. I have found others who have been through the same pain, and those connections bring joy and understanding. The color that is often used to represent diabetes is blue, but this color has also been used to portray freedom. For a long time, these two seemed like opposites, but since the changes I have made because of diabetes, I have created more freedom for myself than before I was diagnosed. Ultimately, diabetes is a challenge to me, and it has knocked me down multiple times. However, as I have tried to exhibit in this simple picture, accuracy is possible even if perfection is not, and precision takes time and experience.