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purplekitty2303

775d

I am a freshman in college, who recently got diagnosed with ADHD. I was an extremely good student throughout high school. I always completed my assignments on time, did well on tests without having to study much, was always on honor roll and was part of National Honor Society. While my ADHD definitely manifested itself in different areas of my life, it never seemed like school was much of an issue. However, my first semester of college was an extreme challenge for me academically. I have had a really hard time figuring out how to manage my time effectively and focusing. I know college and high school are very different experiences, but the sudden academic struggle has been very overwhelming for me. I don’t understand what changed so quickly, and I don’t know how to fix it. I love to learn, and I want my academic performance to reflect that. Any current or former college students with ADHD have any advice on how to succeed in college? Anything advice— big or small— helps! Thanks! :)

Top reply
    • ElleG

      775d

      Yes! I got my BA and MA before being diagnosed with ADHD. Reflecting back, there were a few things that helped me manage something I didn’t even know I was managing. First, dopamine ain’t kidding. The more you can genuinely focus your studies on something you love learning about, the better. Allow yourself to go down a rabbit hole — just set a timer so you’re aware of time passing! Second, I would sort of look at every assignment as a puzzle to solve to prove myself. Not, “how can I get a good grade” but, “how can I really demonstrate my learning”? And approach it like a puzzle. Do sorting and organizing and re-organizing. Spend time in the information, messing with it, kneading it, being immersed. And even if you HATE the subject, I honestly found it motivating to work hard on something I didn’t like but had to do just so that I could say, “I actually do know what I’m talking about and I’m not interested in it” LOL. A bit combative, but it kept me motivated in subjects/classes I didn’t enjoy. Third, I would knit in class. All. The. Time. Even in grad school. I would approach my prof at the beginning of a semester and ask for permission, and tell them why. I would say that it helped me stay awake when I was otherwise sitting still, that it helped me focus on the world around me, that it helped me not to doodle and fidget and distract myself. And this was before I got diagnosed! I found that none of my professors minded because I was a really active participant in class. I showed that what I said knitting would do for me, it did do — namely help me be a better and more attentive student. And profs can tell when students are doodling or zoning out or on Facebook — I had a prof in grad school tell me actually that he loved my knitting because he could see what I was doing and could see that I was paying attention, vs. a sea of laptops. Anyway, those are what worked for me! And it was super hard sometimes. But finding a way to manufacture motivation and manufacture novelty is going to be important because sometimes … you just gotta do the essay.

    • Lizzle

      773d

      I’m well out of college now and didn’t know I had it in college or in law school or in grad school. I find that if I give myself a block of time where I do only one thing I can get it done. But I’m talking 15-30 minute blocks. It’s surprising how much one can get done when it’s the only thing they’re doing. Look at things in pieces rather than as a whole. If you struggle with figuring out how to break things down, talk to a TA if you have one. I was trash at writing papers in parts. I basically just brain dumped and turned it in.

    • Ellammk

      774d

      * Following * I am in a similar situation!

    • ElleG

      774d

      +1 to @wasplord re: crochet — the good thing about knitting and crochet is that they also have a fairly rabid internet fanbase lol so patterns, training vids, etc. are all super easy to come by, the tools are fairly cheap, and you can do more patterns than you think with an entry-level skill set. I just had a little kit— just a makeup bag — and it just traveled with me.

    • wasplord

      774d

      I'm in my second year of college, but other than that difference I'm in the same boat. @ElleG mentioned knitting in class, and I actually do the same but with crochet! In high school before I learned to crochet I made friendship bracelets. For me it's the perfect balance of stimulating enough to keep myself from going insane/pulling out my phone without being distracting from the lecture. Like people are mentioning, keeping a notebook to write down literally everything helps a lot, but I'm not good at it yet. I managed high school undiagnosed, but college was an absolute nightmare before I got medicated. I personally cannot function without medication, but even with it I still need coping mechanisms. Maybe look into meds if you're still struggling after trying everything you can think of

    • ManicMedusa

      774d

      I keep a to do list of assignments on my laptop's desktop so I always see it when I open my laptop and I update it asap after getting a new assignment. Work on getting accommodations! School got so much easier after I did. Ask your profs/TAs for extensions! Most will be understanding. Similarly, befriend your profs and TAs and they'll be way more sympathetic when you need help in the future

    • ManicMedusa

      774d

      I was diagnosed junior year of college. I was told that it's really common because our old coping mechanisms to succeed in highschool don't work with the rigor of college. I was also told I must be really smart to have made it that far undiagnosed lol

    • ElleG

      775d

      Yes! I got my BA and MA before being diagnosed with ADHD. Reflecting back, there were a few things that helped me manage something I didn’t even know I was managing. First, dopamine ain’t kidding. The more you can genuinely focus your studies on something you love learning about, the better. Allow yourself to go down a rabbit hole — just set a timer so you’re aware of time passing! Second, I would sort of look at every assignment as a puzzle to solve to prove myself. Not, “how can I get a good grade” but, “how can I really demonstrate my learning”? And approach it like a puzzle. Do sorting and organizing and re-organizing. Spend time in the information, messing with it, kneading it, being immersed. And even if you HATE the subject, I honestly found it motivating to work hard on something I didn’t like but had to do just so that I could say, “I actually do know what I’m talking about and I’m not interested in it” LOL. A bit combative, but it kept me motivated in subjects/classes I didn’t enjoy. Third, I would knit in class. All. The. Time. Even in grad school. I would approach my prof at the beginning of a semester and ask for permission, and tell them why. I would say that it helped me stay awake when I was otherwise sitting still, that it helped me focus on the world around me, that it helped me not to doodle and fidget and distract myself. And this was before I got diagnosed! I found that none of my professors minded because I was a really active participant in class. I showed that what I said knitting would do for me, it did do — namely help me be a better and more attentive student. And profs can tell when students are doodling or zoning out or on Facebook — I had a prof in grad school tell me actually that he loved my knitting because he could see what I was doing and could see that I was paying attention, vs. a sea of laptops. Anyway, those are what worked for me! And it was super hard sometimes. But finding a way to manufacture motivation and manufacture novelty is going to be important because sometimes … you just gotta do the essay.

    • hotgirlstomachissues

      775d

      i’m in the same exact situation like EXACT!! i’m still figuring it out but personally the biggest struggle for me is staying motivated because i feel overwhelmed and like i have too many things to do and i can’t get a grasp on them. i carry around a little pocket sized notebook where i write everything i need to have done for the day. i cross everything off when i get to it and each day i start a new page. Idk why but I have never been able to make myself use an actual planner, but I love this!! also this sounds kind of dumb but i write EVERYTHING in there. like eat breakfast, shower, etc. i’ve never personally struggled with completing these kinds of things and i’ve found that adding stuff like that means i can cross off more things with less effort (i’d be doing them anyways) so it makes me feel more productive and more motivated. obviously that doesn’t fix everything but maybe we can figure it out together? :)

☝ This content is generated by our users and it is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision

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