View Full Version : Struggling at College

10-19-15, 06:02 AM
I don't know where my laziness ends and my ADD begins.

I spend hours staring at my computer screen trying to will myself to work but I just can't. Sometimes I don't sleep because I stay up all night thinking that maybe I'll eventually start to work but I never do. I forget to eat and sometimes, if I get off to a slow start, never muster the motivation to leave my room.

Things are all piling up, and I'm doing very poorly in school and not turning in assignments, despite my teachers saying I have potential.

I'm totally at a loss, I want to do well so badly Yet, despite my parents spending money to send me here I just feel like I can'twork hard. I want to be a good student for their sake.

Am I lazy? Am I just using ADD as an excuse?

Please, if anyone has similar experiences, any help you can provide would be immensely appreciated. I feel like my inability to focus is running my life.

10-19-15, 05:08 PM
Hi, and welcome to ADDF!

College tends to be a tough time for many people with ADHD, because the structure you likely had in high school -- both in terms of class schedules and assignments, and also at home -- disappears. Suddenly you have more time during the day than you know what to do with, and all kinds of distractions, and a fast internet connection, and no one to tell you to go to bed or wake up or eat... In any case, you're not alone in struggling with college.

I'm guessing that laziness doesn't have as much to do with it as you're worried it does. ADHD-related time-management problems, distractibility, difficulty pacing yourself on tasks, and generally having trouble creating for yourself the structure you need, may play into your school difficulties in a big way, though. Making yourself stare at a screen all night in the hopes that you'll muster the focus to work clearly isn't working for you -- and that's pretty common.

The good news is that there are strategies you can try and changes you can make to work around/through these challenges.

A few questions so forum members can give better advice:

- How far along in college are you (frosh/soph, or upperclassman)?

- Do you have a major in mind yet, and are you getting to take classes you enjoy?

- Do you have any kind of treatment plan in place for your ADHD at the moment (whether meds or psychotherapy or something else, or some combination)?

- Have you been in touch with your school's office of disability services? (In addition to handling any formal accommodations you may need, they may also be able to tell you about additional support services.

10-19-15, 05:18 PM
Hi jackw908,

I recently started attending college again after a 15-year 'break' and have struggled to motivate myself to be the best student and utilize my own potential. I found that every time I went to school for someone else, be it, my family or friends, I failed miserably. You have to want to go to school for yourself and not for others. This is the one time that being selfish is alright, in my opinion.

I'm totally at a loss, I want to do well so badly Yet, despite my parents spending money to send me here I just feel like I can'twork hard. I want to be a good student for their sake.

If it was me, I would decide why I'm going to school in the first place. To me, it sounds like you like the idea of school but not so much the work involved. Try to get back to the basics and work your way up from there.
Start with a few honest questions and answer them with brutal honesty:

Is it for you or your parents/loved ones?
What is stopping you from being a 'good' student/working hard?

I believe that you can do it if you put your mind to it:)

Best Wishes

10-19-15, 05:48 PM
Hi, Jack908--

My sympathy to you, you sound very unhappy. This kind of problem can be very tough.

I think you may be asking the wrong question here, though. It doesn't really matter why you can't do what you need to at school, it just matters that you can't. Or rather, it matters whether or not you can build successful strategies that help you with the problems you described. Even your very hard problems can be solved.

Complete inability to do the stuff that one needs to do can be related to ADHD, to depression, to learning disabilities, or to many other causes. I doubt that laziness is one of them, however. If you were just lazy, you'd probably feel that it was less trouble to do the work than to feel this bad about it! So stop beating yourself up about that.

If you have been diagnosed with ADHD, go to the disability office at your school and ask them for support. They are there to help you. Depending on your diagnosis, they may offer you different kinds of accommodations for your assignments. This could make a big difference for you, and could give you a way to open conversations with your professors about your situation.

I suggest you meet with each professor to talk about your desire to do well and learn in each course--and about the fact that you are having trouble. Ask them to help you. They will want you to succeed if you are willing to try. Depending on the course, they may be able to offer advice or guidance about breaking down assignments into more manageable chunks, getting organizational help from a learning center, getting coaching from a counseling center, etc.

Are you taking medication for your ADHD? If not, you might want to talk to a doctor about this. I have seen people go from being unmedicated and staring at the computer, like you, to being medicated and being able to initiate and complete all kinds of projects. Meds can make a big difference.

Sometimes things that we think should be easy are actually very hard. In those cases, the smart thing to do is to ask for help. Just being upset that you can't do it and spending hours staring at the computer aren't likely to help. Teachers, therapists, medications, counselors, tutors can help. Also, many studies show that students often thrive better in learning if they work in groups--can you study with others?

My advice above assumes that you also want to be in school for yourself, not just to please your parents. But if you really, really are only there for them, maybe you need to have an honest conversation with them and tell them that you aren't ready to be in college right now and that you think you'd be able to use the opportunity better some other time ... or possibly there's something you'd prefer to do than be in college. It's not for everyone. If college IS for you, and your ADHD is getting in the way, that's a problem you should be able to solve with some help.

Wishing you all the best--

10-19-15, 07:07 PM
You're not lazy, nor are you using your ADHD as an excuse. What you're experiencing is NOT your fault.

Are you medicated by any chance? Medication definitely helped me succeed in college.

10-20-15, 02:20 AM
Are you on medication? Have you been diagnosed since childhood? Like someone else said if you have a diagnosis then you have a right to certain accommodations that can help you. Like someone else also said, not everyone is ready for college. We have all been raised to think its the next natural step post high school but not everyone is ready for the stress and intensity of college.

01-17-16, 04:13 PM
I completely agree with every single thing you said. I'm in my third year of college, but ever since I started, I've been behind on everything. I start my assignments (that should take weeks to finish) the day before I have to hand them in. It's horrible. I often don't go to class because we had to finish something but I'm too scared to go because I, obviously, didn't do what I was supposed to do.

My teachers and classmates have the wrong impression of me, because they don't understand that I do really want to do my assignments, the problem is just that I can't. It's so hard to explain to people. My friends are family are like ''Just do your school work!'' I kind of just stopped replying to people because they don't believe me when I say that I can't. But the fact that people say this so often, makes me wonder, am I really not just lazy?

Ever since I started taking ritalin it's been going a bit better. I'm more excited about things and it's a bit easier to focus, but the problems aren't gone. As I'm typing this right now I should be doing school work.. I have SO much work to do and I'm so stressed out but the way I deal with stress is by just pretending like everything is okay and ignoring it.

So no, you're definitely not the only one. If anyone has any tips, I'd be happy to read them.

01-21-16, 12:57 AM
College is very hard, and the reason is that you're all on your own and able to make the decision on if you want to fail or not. It sounds like you don't want to fail which is a great thing, I mean I would hope you wouldn't since it's so expensive! But I do think that it might be the ADD because I know that it's hard to sit down and actually focus on something.