You Can Take It with You

What to bring along when you take your ADD to college.

ADHD teen brings all of her stuff to college

I want all students who have AD/HD to repeat with me now: 'I swear I will never put off my work ever again. And this time, I mean it.'

Christine Brady, college student

I recently achieved a milestone in my life: going off to college. For me, this meant going about five miles from home and moving into a residence hall with a bunch of complete strangers. Hey, you've got to start somewhere.

Those who think "You can't take it with you" should now hear this: With AD/HD, you can take it with you. Preparing myself for a new environment, I packed the usual essentials (sheets, clothes, etc.). However, I also packed some things that, in retrospect, seem absurd to the point of psychosis (a bubble machine, for instance?).

Don't ask what I was thinking. I don't know. I do know that I didn't plan for some of the most crucial requirements of college. I have compiled a list for anyone who may choose to follow in my footsteps.

STUFF YOU'LL NEED

  • Laundry detergent. You mean I have to do my own laundry?
  • A dust mop. If you have a tile floor, this is a necessity. My dorm room could have a dirt floor and still not be any dustier.
  • Fabric freshener. Trust me on this one.
  • Food. Between classes or late at night, there will be times when you really need something that is filling or tastes great - or both.
  • Medicine. Midol, Advil, Tums, Claritin, AD/HD medication. You name it, you'll need it.
  • Movies. I don't know if they serve as a useful distraction or are just distracting, but in-room flicks are a necessary evil for sure. I know that there are times when you need to "veg out."
  • Daily planner. I'm a strong advocate of planners to keep things organized. I would no sooner take my AD/HD to college without a planner than I would try to belch without a soda.

I realized I had brought my AD/HD with me to college in my first class - and in every class thereafter. Some things to keep in mind:

HABITS TO KEEP

  • Get your schedule and keep it current. I know what you're thinking. No, you can't rely on only your memory.
  • Set your alarm clock before bed. If you're attention-challenged like me, post a reminder where you'll see it (on the mirror, computer, above the bed) to avoid forgetting.
  • Prepare for classes the night before. Gather together all your books and notebooks so you won't risk forgetting them in the morning (you know, before your Adderall kicks in).
  • Keep ahead of the game in your classes. No cramming. I've said this before, and I want all students who have AD/HD to repeat with me now: "I swear I will never put off my work ever again. And this time, I mean it." Yes, I know that procrastination is part of human nature. If you have AD/HD, however, it's second nature. You need to do what doesn't come naturally, and work on things ahead of time - as sick as that might sound.
  • Finally, enjoy the good things that come with AD/HD. Remember, you're the light in other people's lives, even if they think you're the headlight of an oncoming train.
 

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