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Old 12-08-05, 12:18 PM
reh3 reh3 is offline
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Helpful tips for College Folk with ADHD

Hey Everyone,

I'm 28, and went through a good bulk of my life without ever being diagnosed as ADHD. I was diagnosed about 7 months ago, (highly ADHD, inattentive, impulsive, the works) and since then everything about my life, and my fathers kinda makes sense. Below are some of my experiences through undergrad, and grad school, and some of my experiences may help anyone in college with ADHD. As an undergrad, I finished with a 2.49 GPA, and changed my major 20 some odd times. After a three year tour in the business world, I went back to grad school and finished with a 3.875. Now I work as a university administrator, and get to give advice to students on a daily basis. There is hope!

College is an extremely difficult time for anyone, but has its own interesting nuances for folks with ADHD. Moving from a class structure mostly dictated to someone, to an environment completely self directed, many students may get lost in the new found cornicopia of new and exciting experiences. I found myself impulisvely signing up for classes based solely on how interesting I foudn them. I changed my major from Psychology, to Fine Arts, to Theater, to Biology, Neuroscience, Philosophy, oh, and cant forget Theology. I was also involved in numerous campus activities, and by the time I graduated, I had a resume on par with most people who had been in the working force for 2 years. So on to some practical wisdom I've collected over the years.

1) To Thyne Own Self Be True
My first peice of advice is, don't try to be something you're not. All too often I hear students say, "I want to be a lawyer, because I want to make enough money to have a good living." BEEP! Wrong answer! The idea of working a 40 hours work week is a myth, if you are going to have to work for 70% of your waking hours in life, do something you love. If you do something you love to do, you will put more energy into it, be able to focus on it more, and therefore be successful at it.

A great quote to consider is: "The place God calls you to is where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet." - Frederick Buechne

If you are lucky enough to find that sweet spot, it will continue to be a place that will give you energy, focus and drive.

A link to an outstanding college program helping students find their "calling" is located here http://www.luc.edu/orgs/evoke/index.html. Also, a good book I'd recommend is (very quick read) "How to find the Work you Love" by Laurence G Boldt.

In addition, make early efforts to find out more about yourself, your learning style, personality style, how you handle conflict etc. The more you learn about this, the easiser your life will be inside and outside the classroom. Seek out on your college campus and try to utlize the following instruments:

Myers Briggs Personality Test http://www.teamtechnology.co.uk/tt/t...l/mb-simpl.htm
Strong Interest Inventory http://www.careers-by-design.com/str..._inventory.asp

Most campuses will have these tests available for a min cost. Sometimes they may be tied to a career development course. If they are available, take advantage of them.

2) Understand your Ideal Learning Environment

Become familiar with what type of learner you are. I ask you to think back about your high school, and/or current college career. Think about classes you did well in, as well as classes you did poorly in. Ask yourself what was it about the classes and the professors that attributed to your success or challenge in the courses. Do you do some projects with more ease than others. Are you a test taker, paper writer, or oreinted towards group projects?

Consider some of these questions, and upon entering a class, be prepared to identify where your strengths and challenges will be throughout the course. Read through the syllabus with a fine tooth comb, identify projects that will give you trouble, and be sure to chat with them with the professor.

Many professors will shoot me on the spot for saying this, but the syllabus is a written contract between the students and the class over the material that will be covered. Like any written contract, it's negotiable! Be aware of potential issues, and make sure that you notify your professors of forseeable challenges, and ask them what support they will provide for your success over those challenges.

3) Reflect!

Like some of my fellow compatriotates out there, I was a very accident prone child. Years of finding myself in bad situations has fine tuned my ability to reflect and learn from my expereinces. One of the key components of my success in graduate school was the emphasis on reflection and group work. Seek out classes and projects that emphasize reflection. Reflective journaling excercises are outstanding ways that we ADHDs can summarize and qualify our learning experiences. Even if keeping a journal is not part of the syllabus, ask your professor if you can keep one as part of the grading component. If not, I'd still suggest you keep one for yourself to help collect your thoughts and it will help serve as a foundation to help bring you back to the lessons you learn in the class.

4) Use your strengths, get involved

If you're anything like I am, you always feel the need to be busy. In college, there are a plethora of ways you can get involved in college life. Get involved; you'll have fun, learn valuable lessons, build a great resume...and keep yourself occupied in a positive manner.

Student Government, Activities Programming Board, Fraternities, Sororitites, Residence Hall Associations are all outstanding ways of taking that energy excess and putting them towards a constructive end.

Also, having diversions such as these will help avoid the x-box, playstation and online gaming blackholes that can completely consume one if went unchecked.

5) Do your research on ADHD

If I had known about this aspect of my life while in college, and did some reasearch about it, college would've been a hell of a lot smoother.
Learning about challenges we face will help you be a better student, relative, worker, and relationship partner.

Well I can go on for a little longer, but have to get back to work. I hope some of the info helps some of you out there.
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Old 12-08-05, 08:12 PM
Mystic_Oracle Mystic_Oracle is offline
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Hmmm...well, some of this stuff depends on when you were diagnosed with ADD. I, for example, wasn't diagnosed and treated until the end of my sophomore year of college, so it's almost like up until that point, I didn't really know who I was (probably because my attention span was too short to even think about it). Since my diagnosis, I've been learning who I am, slowly but surely. Plus my dad is, and probably always will be somewhat, in denial about it. He thinks it's really allergies and that if I get diagnosed and treated for allergies, everything will be better. He thinks I should get off Adderall and get treated for the allergies. But, that is not the case; all the stuff I've had to deal with throughout my life is more than just allergies. So yeah, I'm learning more about myself now that I can finally see things clearer. It's just that it takes time, and I'm not exactly the most patient person around...
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Old 12-08-05, 08:26 PM
Mystic_Oracle Mystic_Oracle is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reh3
Many professors will shoot me on the spot for saying this, but the syllabus is a written contract between the students and the class over the material that will be covered. Like any written contract, it's negotiable!
I just thought I'd add my $0.02 to this...

In most of the classes I've taken, the professors don't *really* go by the syllabus. At least not 100%. They do list all these rules and attendance policies and stuff, but that's just because every professor is required to turn in a syllabus to whatever dept. he or she belongs to. So, for example, if the syllabus says something like "NO LATE ASSIGNMENTS ACCEPTED," and you happen to fall behind on one or two assignments, ask the professor if you can turn them in anyway. You might be pleasantly surprised. You usually don't even have to explain that you have ADD or anything like that, just turn them in. Now having said that, I'll also say, professors might not strictly adhere to their attendance policy, but GO TO CLASS EVERY TIME. Unless you're EXTREMELY sick. Teachers really truly appreciate students who go to class all the time. Attendance might save you in the end. (Says the fifth-year senior who finally FINALLY realized this like, last year.)
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