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.


  • 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:


  • 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.

TAGS: ADHD and College, Deadlines and Procrastination,

Share your comments, find support and solutions on ADDConnect!
ADDitude's free community site offers free support groups for adults with ADHD, plus medication reviews and much more. Check it out today.

Copyright © 1998 - 2016 New Hope Media LLC. All rights reserved. Your use of this site is governed by our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.
ADDitude does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The material on this web site is provided for educational purposes only. See additional information.
New Hope Media, 108 West 39th Street, Suite 805, New York, NY 10018