View Full Version : Anyone else in sciences?


tinybike
01-27-15, 06:56 PM
Hi all!

I'm working on my undergrad in earth sciences after a few years of hairdressing/serving/general career navelgazing. It wasn't until second year (last semester!), by which time I'd somehow amassed 3 fails and 3 after-date withdrawals over 3 semesters that I realized maybe I needed some help. That started the ADHD diagnosis ball rolling.

I'm just wondering how y'all manage to succeed, especially in the laboratory setting. It is the hardest part of my day. I consistently take about twice as long as my colleagues to complete assignments, either due to careless error or going off-task (talking, etc). If I could just do my assignments alone I'd be fine! One class in particular is in a small room operating at full capacity, and I just find it impossible to work steadily. The only thing that has changed since before my treatment started is that now I DO complete the labs (they aren't graded, but are examinable during finals) instead of just getting frustrated and leaving.

My lectures are all scheduled early in the day and are not particularly interactive; meds and sitting in the very front row with only a pen and a notebook keep me on task well enough. My labs are always in the afternoons/evenings, though, right as I'm coming off the effectual part of my medication. :( This leaves me pretty useless for evening homework, too. We are still ironing out the kinks for my meds, but they can't be the be-all/end-all for this.

Any tips?

michaelaisabell
01-27-15, 10:20 PM
I struggle with being slow in labs too. It just takes me longer to process things I guess.
I suggest finding a classroom buddy who is good at it and teaming up when possible.
Ask your professor for help! That's what you pay them for.

Have you gone to disability dept to get acvomidations set up?
You could get time and a half on tests and exam
You could also request time and a half for your labs.
I have time and a half on test / exams plus permission to get up and take a break.
You can get preferential seating so you don't get stuck in the back if the class.

You can request a note taker. This is someone who attends the class and takes notes for you so you can focus less on the nite taking and more on the learning.

I use a smart pen for math which is my most useful accommodation by far!!! It's called a livescribe pen and the disabilities department provided it for me. When you go to class it records audio of your whole lecture and it also records everything that you write down on the paper. It syncs your notes to the audio in time so that when you get home you can go back and click on any part of your notes and it'll play exactly what your teacher was saying at that time that you wrote the note.

For your science books English books any books that are difficult to read you can use a program the school usually provide you software and you can download it so that it reads your books to you and it highlights the section that it's reading word by word or sentence by sentence, you can change the settings and it really helps keep your focus because you're listening to it and you're following the highlighted area around the screen so it's a little bit more stimulating than just staring at a textbook. When I use mine I put headphones on that plug into my computer because I tend to get up and walk around and just get randomly distracted, so putting headphones on makes me realize when I'm getting up because I feel the tug from headphones and then it pulls me back so I know to get back to my work.

Some people also get accommodations where they can turn in work up to a week or two weeks late without getting penalized.

Anyway long story short ( if there is such a thing for somebody with ADHD!) if you haven't already go to the disabilities department and set up your accommodations. They will request documentation from your doctor.

Don't expect then to offer all the acvomidations you need right away. Many times they offer you one or two accommodations and that's it. So you will probably have to ask for certain accommodations specifically.

For example when I first went to the disabilities department they offered me the computer software that reads my books to me and time and a half on my test and exams. At that time I told her that I needed a break during my exam so she went ahead and gave me that as well( this was in the middle of the semester if not further into the semester than the middle).

This semester I went back to set up my accommodations again and I got the same thing time and a half on my quizzes on my exams permission to take a break during my quizzes and my exams also got permission to take a break from class if I needed and I got a smart pen. I had to specifically request the smart pen it was not offered to me. But when I asked for it she gave it to me right away I had to do was sign a paper to check it out and the guy give me a quick five-minute tutorial how to work it and I was on my way.

So don't be scared to ask for what you need if they don't offer it to you that doesn't mean they won't give it to you.

Some other things to think about requesting would be
Tests/exams in private room or room with only a couple other test takers in it.
Priority registration ( you can register for your classes before the general school population is able to)
I know there's other useful things but I can't think right now if you Google ADHD accommodations for college students and just search through the different websites and find the diff rent ideas it'll be really useful.
Oh i remember! Private or small group tutoring!

Ok next issue- what meds are you on? Xr ir? What time(s) do you dose?
If your meds are wearing off around your afternoon classes you might consider adding a booster dose about that time .

Sorry this is long, my meds have long worn off. Sorry for typos and horrible grammar I'm mobile and used talk to text.

michaelaisabell
01-27-15, 10:21 PM
Omg! I just saw my post! It's waaaaaaay long! Sorry again!

tinybike
01-29-15, 12:48 AM
That's actually really helpful!

My school offers all of those things, I think, except probably the extensions (which is probably for the best, I'd just put it off longer).

I am starting to come around to the idea of accessibilities. I was told about the pen and I guess I didn't quite understand it until you explained it here. Is it subtle? I don't know if I like the idea of my peers being able to tell at a glance that I have something special... I'm in a small cohort so most of them know that I'm medicated already.. it's feels like I'm weird enough (gotta get over that!!). Still kinda see myself as an "able" person who is just lazy & it's hard to be kind to me.

Prefrential seating would be amazing. I wonder if they do that at my school, or would do it for me. I lose my mind if I have to sit anywhere farther than second row.

The textbook reader sounds really awesome!! But at least for our version you have to scan the book in and I feel like that's a little cumbersome for me. When I read novels in HS (and even for fun) I used to read along with an audiobook. I never realized I was coping with symptoms at the time!

I would never have thought about priority registration but that is so smart!! I was supposed to have a meeting yesterday with accessibility and my psychologist to help me fill out forms and decide what I would like to ask for, but the eastern seaboard got that snowstorm and well :( Snow day, anyway.

Thank you so much, this has been SO helpful!! I think hearing it from someone who uses these tools is so important to me, it's not patronizing like when the boss people talk to me.

I am on Vyvanse 40mg right now. It's good from about 9-2, tapers until it's totally bust around 4, which is plenty of hours for most days but definitely that one lab kills me and it's in the afternoon. I don't want to raise my dose yet but maybe I will make an appt to ask for a booster in a week if I can't schedule around it!

(omg wow my post is so long too, I always have this problem!! it's 12:43am and my meds are definitely useless now haha!)

TygerSan
01-29-15, 11:12 AM
My husband use the pen to take notes during meetings. It's pretty unobtrusive, definitely bigger than the average pen but still easy to write with. If I remember right, you have to remember to press a button and start writing in a particular page of the special notebook in order for your notes to be synced with the lecture.

Overall, I think it would work well for taking notes in a lecture class, especially one that is math and symbol heavy. Otherwise, I would tend to want to take notes using either a laptop or a tablet. I know somebody who's in school right now for computer science and I believe all of their notes they take on a tablet with a very nice stylus. One of the software packages you can use to do that is one note. Of course, it really depends on what works best for you.

I always was very slow in labs also. I'm pretty clumsy and not always good at measuring out reagents. I did tend to get stuff done eventually though. For a situation like yours, I would almost wonder about asking for an evening booster on the days that you have lab. Of course, the potential downside of that is not being able to sleep at night. Clearly, it really depends on the individual.

tinybike
01-29-15, 12:58 PM
I have tried taking notes on my computer, but I think I'm quite particular about formatting & it's not as "kinetic" for me. I haven't thought about the tablet, though! I have an older model Microsoft tablet with a stylus, I could try that. I use the same medium-sized notebooks every year - they're small enough that I keep it neat but large enough that I can get a substantial amount of writing in before I have to flip pages. I have a good system, I think! I'm just not always fast enough (is anyone?)

I had a chemistry lab yesterday and I had to measure out my reagents 6 times. I kept spilling my solution when I was mixing it, and then I overpoured 2x and then once I just forgot a funnel and my solution went all over the bench instead of into the flask. I must look like a mess :(

The sleeping thing is why my psychi said he doesn't like to prescribe boosters. My GP said that we don't have to follow his direction anymore, unless we get stumped - she's willing to try what I think will work for me. I don't want to be more medicated overall - my dose is bang-on except a couple days a week I need a liiiiittle more!

TygerSan
01-29-15, 02:02 PM
When's your lab? If it's before dinner, I would definitely see if you could get a small booster dose of something to last a bit longer. The rub may be I don't know if you can get IR (fast-acting) stimulants in Canada or not. I would be very hesitant to add a second dose of long-acting medication.

MrsNewton
01-30-15, 03:42 AM
I've taken several science classes as part of my pre-reqs for nursing. I always read over my lab material the day before, and write out the steps I'll need to take. I've always found lab to be easier than lecture in regards to performance.

For lecture, I've found the best thing for me is to try to really listen, and avoid too much note taking. To do this, I got a surface pro, so I can download all of the slides ahead of time and then I write anything pertinent directly on them.

I find when I study, I can recall the lecture more easily this way. I usually go back through all of the powerpoints and take more notes.

I also use quizlet, which I love.

tinybike
01-30-15, 10:08 AM
When's your lab? If it's before dinner, I would definitely see if you could get a small booster dose of something to last a bit longer. The rub may be I don't know if you can get IR (fast-acting) stimulants in Canada or not. I would be very hesitant to add a second dose of long-acting medication.

It's 2:30 to 5:30; the assignment is intended to be completed in 2h and most of my classmates leave by 5. I was there until 7pm this week. It's embarrassing and so draining to take 4h+ to complete half that much work! I have three lab classes on different days of the week, all during the 2:30-5:30 "crash" time. They are all difficult and frustrating but so far only one of them actually takes me that much longer.

We do have IR meds available! I think we have pretty much everything that the U.S. has, just maybe under a different name. My GP I think mentioned Dexedrine as a potential booster bc it's similar to my ER meds and I tolerate them well.

tinybike
01-30-15, 10:13 AM
I've taken several science classes as part of my pre-reqs for nursing. I always read over my lab material the day before, and write out the steps I'll need to take. I've always found lab to be easier than lecture in regards to performance.

For lecture, I've found the best thing for me is to try to really listen, and avoid too much note taking. To do this, I got a surface pro, so I can download all of the slides ahead of time and then I write anything pertinent directly on them.

I find when I study, I can recall the lecture more easily this way. I usually go back through all of the powerpoints and take more notes.

I also use quizlet, which I love.

Writing out the lab procedure beforehand is soooo helpful! Whenever it is available, I do that the day before.

I have a Surface RT! I find it isn't very fast and isn't the most intuitive (I'm spoiled by Apple's idiot proof platform), but I should look into that. I didn't realize I could write onto the slides with a stylus! None of my lectures are consistently available ahead of time - two are explicitly posted only after the lecture. I suppose I could ask accessibility to make that happen for me (when they finally start to be useful...).

I haven't heard of Quizlet! I will look into that.

michaelaisabell
01-31-15, 12:35 AM
That's actually really helpful!

My school offers all of those things, I think, except probably the extensions (which is probably for the best, I'd just put it off longer).

I am starting to come around to the idea of accessibilities. I was told about the pen and I guess I didn't quite understand it until you explained it here. Is it subtle? I don't know if I like the idea of my peers being able to tell at a glance that I have something special... I'm in a small cohort so most of them know that I'm medicated already.. it's feels like I'm weird enough (gotta get over that!!). Still kinda see myself as an "able" person who is just lazy & it's hard to be kind to me.

Prefrential seating would be amazing. I wonder if they do that at my school, or would do it for me. I lose my mind if I have to sit anywhere farther than second row.

The textbook reader sounds really awesome!! But at least for our version you have to scan the book in and I feel like that's a little cumbersome for me. When I read novels in HS (and even for fun) I used to read along with an audiobook. I never realized I was coping with symptoms at the time!

I would never have thought about priority registration but that is so smart!! I was supposed to have a meeting yesterday with accessibility and my psychologist to help me fill out forms and decide what I would like to ask for, but the eastern seaboard got that snowstorm and well :( Snow day, anyway.

Thank you so much, this has been SO helpful!! I think hearing it from someone who uses these tools is so important to me, it's not patronizing like when the boss people talk to me.

I am on Vyvanse 40mg right now. It's good from about 9-2, tapers until it's totally bust around 4, which is plenty of hours for most days but definitely that one lab kills me and it's in the afternoon. I don't want to raise my dose yet but maybe I will make an appt to ask for a booster in a week if I can't schedule around it!

(omg wow my post is so long too, I always have this problem!! it's 12:43am and my meds are definitely useless now haha!)

Ya if your med us effective those first fee hours it'd probably be best to ask for an Ir booster of dex for the afternoon so you can do your lab and homework.

With the reading program I have the thing that sucks is you buy the book and give it to the disabilities dept. they have someone scan it in but the have to rip the pages out :/ so I only do it for really difficult reading.

The pen is larger than a normal pen and it has an LCD display on it.
But it's not huge and you can adjust the light on the display so that it's not so noticeable. I kept mine in mute while in class so that I don't accedently do something weird and it starts talking or beeping or something. That's never happened but I keep it in mute just to be safe. Lol.

Idk if I can upload a pic or not.

I'll try to figure it out. It's not huge or anything.
I honestly wouldn't notice it if I didn't know what it was.

A girl in my math class has one too.
I think even if someone sees it with the LCD they would probably just think it has a clock on it or something. I don't think most ppl would see it and be like " oh he has a smart pen he must be disabled."

Must people don't even know what a smart pen is.

michaelaisabell
01-31-15, 12:38 AM
Oh about the tablets and such .
Livesctibe has a pen that you use with your tablet to take notes instead of paper.
I Beleive it's called the livescribe 3 but most school only provide the regular livescribe and the livesctibe 3 is pretty expensive.

What country are you in?

michaelaisabell
01-31-15, 01:00 AM
It won't let me post pics from my phone.

tinybike
01-31-15, 09:51 AM
Oh about the tablets and such .
Livesctibe has a pen that you use with your tablet to take notes instead of paper.
I Beleive it's called the livescribe 3 but most school only provide the regular livescribe and the livesctibe 3 is pretty expensive.

What country are you in?

Thanks so much for all this info! I can find pictures on Google, dunno why I never thought of that before. I'm in Canada. :)

Aerowyn
02-02-15, 02:45 PM
I am going into Sciences at university next semester (Fall 2015) and am currently in an upgrading program to get my required high school grades. I find in math and chem in particular, I am slower than a lot of people to grasp a subject, but once I get it I usually am pretty decent with it.

In labs though I am not slow or inattentive unless it is a slow or boring lab. Then, predictably, I lose interest or I start getting distracted and looking around, which can mess up my experiment lol. For example last week I was doing a titration lab which required me to swirl my sample in a flask for nearly five minutes, watching it for a subtle colour change. After a minute or two I found it really difficult to keep watching the swirling liquid because absolutely nothing was happening and my eyes kept wandering, looking at the burrette, my lab partner, other people in the class, etc, even while I mentally chided myself and kept yelling at myself internally to pay attention lol. Of course it caused me to overshoot the amount of liquid that should have gone in the flask because I missed the initial colour change while looking around. *facepalm*

tinybike
02-03-15, 09:30 AM
I am going into Sciences at university next semester (Fall 2015) and am currently in an upgrading program to get my required high school grades. I find in math and chem in particular, I am slower than a lot of people to grasp a subject, but once I get it I usually am pretty decent with it.

In labs though I am not slow or inattentive unless it is a slow or boring lab.

Congratulations! I have similar difficulties with math-heavy subjects.

The lab I'm having trouble with is actually a petrography lab - I have to sit for a couple of hours and document minute details in thin sections of rock. Some of the thin sections are ones I've seen dozens of times before (looking at different minerals). It's not so boring when it's the most stimulating thing in the room, but that only happens when I have the room to myself. My class is completely full and everyone talks so loudly and much, since my classmates are such good multi-taskers.

I do the same in chemistry. Titrations are usually okay but weighing things out, measuring quantitatively etc all take me sooooo long.

Sickle
02-04-15, 11:02 AM
my next masters will be a science degree. MS in Mediation and Conflict Analysis. I found I needed more breaks because I am hyperactive and used to also have exams in some classes in a different room because I was always in a rush to go and would manage to drop and spill folders etc. I left my computer on and just recorded when I left.

I also found that with essays, I tend to go on a major rampage at first and cut out what isn't needed. I also work in different sections in no order either. My undergrad was double major in German and International Relations and my MA was in International Relations.

The only subject I was lost in was accounting. After bookkeeping, with the debit/credit confusion that I barely grasped, I dropped that class. Debates were rough too because I ended up being the student who with one sentence could set the class off into a rampage.

tinybike
02-17-15, 05:16 PM
I got my accommodations request in. They don't do early registration, preferential seating, extensions or anything like that. I do have the option to get extra time (time and a quarter) on exams and write in a separate room. I am allowed to record lectures (audio only) but I need to use my own device. It's a start!

Separate application for assistive tech; it's a grant program external to the school - I am applying for a couple of things, hoping they will fund me on them because I certainly can't do it out of pocket.

Amtram
02-22-15, 11:47 PM
Honestly, I would recommend setting yourself up with a twitter account and probing the minds of some of the many, many academic scientists there who are dealing with the same or similar issues. I can't tell you how much useful advice I've gotten from them regarding coping with the demands of studying and politics and various neurological/psychiatric issues.

tinybike
03-09-15, 07:57 PM
Just a wee update!

I have received grades for my first three midterm exams now. I have one grade left.
I failed the first one by a couple of points, but wrote it before my accommodations went through. I had my second midterm test for that course this past week and wrote by myself in a little room with earplugs and a big desk to myself! It was much better and I think it will show. My other two grades were 98 and 85 respectively - an A+ and a A! Working with my coach was the most useful, and really creating a routine for myself. Being allowed to write in my own room and with extra time is just the icing on the cake so I can be my best self!

rickymooston
03-09-15, 08:34 PM
I'm just wondering how y'all manage to succeed, especially in the laboratory setting. It is the hardest part of my day. I consistently take about twice as long as my colleagues to complete assignments, either due to careless error or going off-task (talking, etc).


Well, i sucked in labs but I was kind of a klutz too.

You have to be deeply interested.

I sucked at statistics. Lots of grungy calculations which I suck at but moderately interesting thoery.

I excel at computer science which is also detail related but I was more interested. However, I struggled quite a lot with deadlines

With practice and lots of interest, sacrificing other areas of life, I succeeded, mostly.

So, love it.

InvitroCanibal
03-12-15, 02:31 AM
Op,

Always remember, our adhd brains only store what we use, if it has no use, *poof* its gone. You have to come up with new ways to use the information presented.

It was hard for me too at first. I failed a lot but then I realized it was because I was trying to ignore how I naturally learned and tried to learn like everyone else.

You know, slow, steady, high lighting, taking notes, flash cards, blah blah blah. It was all crap for me. In one ear out the other.

It was only when I instead read through it as fast as possible so that I first understood what the chapter as a whole was about and the basic structures.

So I started out with capturing the big idea. Then I stopped reading for a few minutes, closed the book, and meditated on what I just read. I either wrote down or asked questions to myself about the system. I used compare and contrast "how do neuroglial cells differentiate to neurons, what do neuroglial cells even do." Ya you can tell me all about the many types of neuroglial cells and then in the last part of the chapter lightly focus on what they do as if it were an after thought, but I wont remember the names just for memories sake.

For NT's this is how they learn or can learn I guess, but not for me.

So I dug deep and scoured for my answers, I found myself reading ahead, learning how other systems worked just to know how one system worked. I read fast and then took my time with questions I had.

My overall objective was to simply answer this one great question, "What do I not know?"

When I know how a system as a whole works, then I will know the terms that go along with it. So that boring flashcards and note taking are a waste of time.

A better way to take notes, I found, was to instead write down questions as the professor talked. Doing this ensured that I listened and I enjoyed trying to find the hardest questions I could ask.

I didnt write down the answers my professors gave because if I had asked it honestly curious, than my brain would store it.

Another way to think about learning is to look at what you do every day, you probably know atleast a moderate amount of pop culture events that happened in a tv series. Why do we absorb pop culture,like sponges without even trying and find school so hard?

With a tv series and pop culture, people are always asking questions. We know about celebrities because we are curious who they are off camera, what their day is like. We know tv series because we wonder each episode what will happen next? Was our hypothesis correct was x the killer or will b get away with cheating on her husband?

When you ask questions as you are reading, you will become more and more interested because adhd are engaged by what we do not know. Cramming facts without any relation in your head is like running information through a paper shredder and then trying to reassemble the pieces come test time or lab time.

My overall point is this, study yourself before you study, try to figure out how YOU learn and retain information. Does reading slower help you? Or does reading faster? Are you trailing off while reading? Why?

Also, always remember that science tells a story. Sometimes I would write a short story based on the terms and tell it like it was a society or far off land. "Once upon a time there was the land of brain, and it was a democratic society but specific duties were allotted to different councils. There were the medullas, who were quick to anger and were unreasonable....etc"


I have also written it as if it were an office sitcom. The executive is the executive function, whose secretary is Ms Thalamus and she decides what information goes to the executive etc

Other times I'd draw it out. Other times, I simply wrote down the very basics of it like chinese dolls I break it down into layers.

I also would write down explanations for the systems as if I were taking the test or explanations for the steps to the lab in the simplest way possible but i'd always ask why.



"A gram stain requires taking the sample and dropong iodine with safarin and then drying quickly over a flame." Then I would write, why? Why do it that way, why do we need to stain bacteria at all, why is it called a gram stain, why do we need to dry it, how do gram positive or gram negative bacteria relate to eukaryotic cells, what impact do they have on the body," Essentially, why do I need to know this, why is it important, and what is the overall objective of this lab trying to teach me, beyond "do this, remove this, cut this, saw that, stab those etc"


I hope this helps, don't be afraid to trust yourself and how you learn. As soon as I started answering the why and not the "what is blank" I found learning much more fun and I retained the information by doing a once over with this approach.

Good luck

tinybike
03-16-15, 09:16 AM
Thank you, InvitroCannibal!

I started, before my most recent round of midterms, to fold my note paper in half before beginning my notes. In one column, I write "what" notes - this is, this isn't, etc. In the other column, I write the "why". Why do I need to know this? To what does this relate? How can I connect it to another thing I know? I adapt the same approach for practice questions (such as for chemistry). What do I know and what is the question asking me to do? How am I going to get there?

Rewriting the steps and formulae for these problems over and over has changed the game for me. After all, if I can't remember the steps in complete order in practice, how can I expect to do them properly in exam? I netted an A on my last midterm. I have never even PASSED a chemistry midterm before (thank goodness for finals and labs).

Labs continue to be tricky but my instructors know what's up, and I come into lab with a well-prepared set of my own directions for myself.

This semester has been worlds away in terms of how I feel and how much I am learning, be it the material or just getting to know myself! Life is so much easier now that I know I CAN succeed.

tinybike
06-12-15, 01:46 PM
A little update/brag I guess.

My GPA coming out of this (last, now) semester was 3.9! Holy crow, who knew that having one's disability recognized and accommodated, plus the validation that comes with that, could make such a difference.