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  #1  
Old 08-04-08, 08:46 AM
starvingstudent starvingstudent is offline
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Anybody interested in studying or researching ADHD?

Hey yall! Im a 21 year old rising senior in college majoring in Psychology. However, i just changed my major last year (from Sociology). Now I am interested in Neuroscience, but my school has a lot of biology requirements for neuroscience, and I simply dont have room in my schedule to take them.

I regret that I do not have a better Neural Science/Biology foundation, but I can't imagine me having studied it in any different order -- Sociology, Psychology, Neuroscience/Biology (from macro to micro). That's just the way I think, anyone else feel like that?

Anyway, I after learning more about psych, I decided to confront my long time struggle with reading. I had LD tests before, but did fine on them (but that's because I can decode language fine, and pay attention to people talking to me or asking questions, but I do not read long text very well). This summer, I was diagnosed with ADD (and he also said perhaps OCD, but frankly that surprised me) and prescribed me adderall.

I hate to say it, but adderall has really changed everything. I used to have to sacrifice my social life to keep up with school, and it wasn't worth it. Now I can read and research more efficiently. I can tune out anxiety and distractions (internal and external ones).

I feel like I could totally see myself being a neuroscience nerd now. However, its so hard throwing together a plan this late in my academic career. I am from CA, and want to move back home and take classes at a state or UC school since the tuition will be more affordable than the pricey private school i go to back east. However, none of them seem to have terminal master's programs related to neuroscience (only PHD programs).

I had very little foundation in biology and neural science, so I don't feel ready for a PHD program. Also, my interests are still too broad and ideas too half baked. I can't see myself being a research assistant or lab manager yet, because I don't think I would find the methods and administrative part relevant without having enough frame of reference to formulate my own questions. I don't have a career goal in mind, and the labs seem so specialized. Like im interested in ADHD, but psych labs on attention seem to focus on eye movements, and psychiatry labs on medication -- i don't know what direction to go in yet!

I just wanna take classes and learn how the brain works. I know that is typical regretful college kid talk, but i have finally found something i can see myself doing passionately, and obviously confronting my adhd is a major turning point for me, and i don't want to give up or just concede "maybe next lifetime" just because i am a few years behind most people who go in these fields.

is there any middle ground? anyway to cost efficient way to take more classes on neuroscience? what are the practical logistics of career options that i should keep in mind instead of just "wanting to study how the brain works"?
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  #2  
Old 11-21-08, 01:38 AM
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Re: Anybody interested in studying or researching ADHD?

Waddup potential neuroscience geek! Since being diagnosed with severe ADHD (then again, don't we all have severe ADHD) I have thrown myself headfirst into investigating all things brain related. Gotta stick up for the people who can't stick up for themselves, right?

Anyways, superhero mentality aside, lets go over everything layer by layer. First, I am kind of curiours why the field of biopsych is something you hadn't looked at. They are normally for psychology students who want to understand the biological basis for everything that you learned with your psychology degree.

Also, have you heard of the MIT open courseware site? MIT basically is putting a bunch of classes online, for free, for self studiers to learn about anything that they feel like. Link here: http://ocw.mit.edu/OcwWeb/web/home/home/index.htm

They do have some neuroscience classes on that site. Take a look!

Now, I noticed that you seem to not be interested in working in various labs because you don't feel confident. No one feels confident when working in a lab, because anything an undergrad is going to do is mind numbingly boring. The point is to start doing the boring, uninteresting work, make observations seen in the work done by the lab, and then gradually learn as much as you can. If you have trouble finding a lab you may be interested in working with, ask yourself why. Is it the ADHD causing you to not be stimulated ? You gotta start somewhere and any undergrad researcher will tell you that you gotta start at the botttooommmmmmm.

That being said, have you started looking at neuroscience articles/research/studies/whatever you want to call it? Try to spend as much time reading up on everything, and try to make your own observations/theories. Ask professors at your school who are involved in neuroscience research about any questions you may have. Make sure you tell them that you are a psych student who is interested in pursing neuroscience, and you have a few general questions. Go over articles you read, and be inquisitive.

Consider neuroscience your new hobby for the time period, and spread your knowledge about the various fields that are involved with neuroscience. See what you like and don't like, and then pursue as appropriate.
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  #3  
Old 11-24-08, 07:10 PM
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Re: Anybody interested in studying or researching ADHD?

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Originally Posted by starvingstudent View Post
Hey yall! Im a 21 year old rising senior in college majoring in Psychology. However, i just changed my major last year (from Sociology). Now I am interested in Neuroscience, but my school has a lot of biology requirements for neuroscience, and I simply dont have room in my schedule to take them.I regret that I do not have a better Neural Science/Biology foundation, but I can't imagine me having studied it in any different order -- Sociology, Psychology, Neuroscience/Biology (from macro to micro). That's just the way I think, anyone else feel like that?Anyway, I after learning more about psych, I decided to confront my long time struggle with reading. I had LD tests before, but did fine on them (but that's because I can decode language fine, and pay attention to people talking to me or asking questions, but I do not read long text very well). This summer, I was diagnosed with ADD (and he also said perhaps OCD, but frankly that surprised me) and prescribed me adderall.I hate to say it, but adderall has really changed everything. I used to have to sacrifice my social life to keep up with school, and it wasn't worth it. Now I can read and research more efficiently. I can tune out anxiety and distractions (internal and external ones). I feel like I could totally see myself being a neuroscience nerd now. However, its so hard throwing together a plan this late in my academic career. I am from CA, and want to move back home and take classes at a state or UC school since the tuition will be more affordable than the pricey private school i go to back east. However, none of them seem to have terminal master's programs related to neuroscience (only PHD programs). I had very little foundation in biology and neural science, so I don't feel ready for a PHD program. Also, my interests are still too broad and ideas too half baked. I can't see myself being a research assistant or lab manager yet, because I don't think I would find the methods and administrative part relevant without having enough frame of reference to formulate my own questions. I don't have a career goal in mind, and the labs seem so specialized. Like im interested in ADHD, but psych labs on attention seem to focus on eye movements, and psychiatry labs on medication -- i don't know what direction to go in yet!I just wanna take classes and learn how the brain works. I know that is typical regretful college kid talk, but i have finally found something i can see myself doing passionately, and obviously confronting my adhd is a major turning point for me, and i don't want to give up or just concede "maybe next lifetime" just because i am a few years behind most people who go in these fields. is there any middle ground? anyway to cost efficient way to take more classes on neuroscience? what are the practical logistics of career options that i should keep in mind instead of just "wanting to study how the brain works"?
May I suggest Neuropsychology. Their are terminal MS programs in this and you will do almost the same thing as neuroscience except from a practical viewpoint. You will take the same classes and then some more on applying the theories of neurobiological function to testing people with brain dysfunction, disorders, etc. Look into it. You might find it whets your appetite for neuro.
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Old 11-27-08, 11:54 PM
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Re: Anybody interested in studying or researching ADHD?

I've just finished my PhD in neuroscience and am currently a PostDoc in a research lab. Is there any chance of you being able to work in a research lab for a semester over your senior year? Any type of research experience is beneficial. At your stage, you don't really have to worry so much about formulating your own questions if you are working as a lab technician or research assistant, and it looks good on a CV. It also gives you some experience deciding what you like to do and what you hate to do!

I suggest that b/c it becomes a bit harder once you're out of school to convince a lab to hire you if you don't have much in the way of research experience, and you need that experience to understand what part of neuroscience you like and why.

Not being a neuroscience major isn't necessarily a problem. One of the beautiful thing about the field is that there's such a diverse field of experience to draw on. I was a psych major, and many of the programs I applied to accepted that, as long as you had some sort of basic chemistry and biology coursework. You could also possibly work through a more clinical psychology program and still do ADHD research, but more from a counselling/clinical perspective. (though it sounds that this might not be the direction you're heading in).

Whatever you decide to do, I wish you luck. Welcome to the club!
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Old 11-30-08, 09:42 AM
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Re: Anybody interested in studying or researching ADHD?

Thanks, I hadn't checked this thread in a while, and I was surprised to see several very informative replies.

I am interning this semester at a lab whose research was pretty much perfect for me. Unfortunately, I have been so busy with classes that I was not able to get as involved as I wanted to. So I definitely got more than nothing out of the experience, but I flip flop from seeing the glass as half full or half empty.

This may sound counterintuitive, but I am looking forward to finishing school (this is my last semester) because I feel like I can finally learn about neuroscience full throttle once I am out of school. Some of my classes this term are really frustrating -- I am taking a very tedious course on writing psychology papers more or less, and it frustrates me because it is so tedious and time consuming that I don't have time to learn about the science since a bulk of my weekly assignments are about the form and conventions of the field! I know this is important, but I have been given tons of great articles on the neuroscience of ADHD and dyslexia, and I don't have time to read them because I am busy reading about the proper indentation or pronoun choices for APA format! you can see an ADHD kid's frustration...

I am going to try and take bio and chem this spring at a local college near home, then I will decide what to take over the summer and in the fall. I will apply for PHD neuro/experimental psych/and biopsych programs in the fall. I am interested in adhd and dyslexia, so my application is definitely interest driven and not exactly method or field driven. However, I am definitely more interested in the neurobiology of it, but I also like a lot of the cog neuro research (so, experimental psych labs) that I am encountering. I will decide on my summer and fall classes later, but probably something like organic chemistry and more advanced bio.

I am hoping the lighter class load (2 per semester) will enable me to just immerse myself in articles and literature about my interests. Its funny, but I really feel being in school is compromising that for me, because I have to conform to this standardize curriculum and I simply don't have time to delve into the areas I am interested in. It's frustrating to explain to people that I am very passionate, but I just don't have the time to figure everything out without totally neglecting my studies -- even though my classes sometimes feel irrelevant, I know I still need to "save face" and put up decent numbers in them. But I must say, it can be demoralizing at times. But I decided not to apply for grad school this fall, which was a good decision -- I want to do it thoroughly and be fully prepared, even though I know eventually that this is my "calling"

My interest is VERY strong, but of course I do have limitations because of my dyslexia and ADHD. It is a dilemma, because this difficulties drive my motivation, but they also of course limit or inflect how I work and figure all this out. I've met a lot of dumb people in academic experimental psych, so I don't think being dyslexic or ADHD disqualifies anyone. I am not trying to overcompensate or whatever for these difficulties, but I just know that not all of it is a quantitative linear limitation, but somethings I just do differently but just as well. And if i do have limitations, why not just take it as far as I can go?

Well I'm excited, and I have confidence that this is my "calling" or whatever, but I just don't have time right now to figure everything out! So in sum, I am relieved that I have decided to apply next fall, and I relish the idea of living at home and have the next 10-12 months pretty free from school obligations to be a little mad scientist on my own and let my interests guide my learnign and not standardized curriculums.
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Old 12-17-09, 12:36 AM
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Re: Anybody interested in studying or researching ADHD?

It's never too late to take the prerequisites. It's definitely worth the while if you are passionate it about it.
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Old 12-17-09, 10:06 PM
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Re: Anybody interested in studying or researching ADHD?

I have a Bachelors Degree in Pure Mathematics. Last year there I decided it was not for me and that I wanted to study literature.

I focused my last year on getting as many classes as I could from the literature side, which was barely enough for a mish-mash pseudo minor. I made it clear in my application I did not have the formal education, but I was interested. Seemed to work as I was accepted into a Masters program in Comparative Literature.

About being done with school so you can focus more on your interests, what will you be doing then? Can you afford to take some time off to study? Work seems like a worse alternative than school, at least for me. I worked for a year and a half before going for my PhD and that took a lot more time and brain drained me a lot more than I expected.
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Old 12-18-09, 10:14 AM
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Re: Anybody interested in studying or researching ADHD?

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It's never too late to take the prerequisites. It's definitely worth the while if you are passionate it about it.

I agree you are very young! I didn't even start college until I was 26 so look how far ahead of me you are! My husband didn't go back until he was 28 I think?? Graduated around 33-34? I forgot now he is 39 and will have his masters by the end of next semester! Talk about a late education. Take the courses if you hate it you can always move onto something else.

I know I didn't quite touch any of the questions you asked but thought maybe my .02 would help?
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Old 12-18-09, 11:03 AM
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Re: Anybody interested in studying or researching ADHD?

Quote:
Also, my interests are still too broad and ideas too half baked.
You sound intuitive. Think about whether anything you've learned can be used to 'connect the dots'.
Quote:
Sociology, Psychology, Neuroscience/Biology
Sociology would at least seem like a valuable background for researching such a controversial issue, given it's sociological implications (might look good on a resume). Psychology makes broad speculations in any case, it has to. Real progress scientific progress is often made 'by accident', your ideas don't need to be completely sound to be effective. I'm 22 and plan on going back, the best advice is "don't give up".
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