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.