Reply To: Doctoral Student with ADHD

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Dear LD,

I have ADHD and graduated with my Ph.D. about a year and a half ago. I also wasn’t diagnosed until I was an adult and am also now in my 40’s. If I have learned nothing else from all of my life experiences, you have to advocate for yourself because no one is going to do it for you. This means that it doesn’t matter if a professor/etc. likes, understands, or even agrees with your documented accommodations; but, by law, they are required to abide by them! So you may have to fight for them, but you will receive the accommodations that you have a legal right to have for ANY examination including your qualifying exams! At this point, you (as are the rest of us who have struggled with ADHD) have fought your whole life to get where you are and this is no different. You are worth the fight, just like anyone else and you can do this! Don’t let anyone bully you into not getting what you need! Having ADHD can be a hurdle at times, but it doesn’t define you. No one at your job interview some day is going to ask you if you needed accommodations through graduate school. All they are going to want to know is that you are competent enough to conduct the job and that is all they will care about. Take heart my friend, have confidence, and know that you are just as valuable as anyone else including your professors! AND they don’t have to agree with this for it to be true! Do what you need to do in order to get through this and move forward. I know that it is easier said than done, but you will get through this. Keep putting one foot in front of the other and I promise you, you will reach the finish line even if it doesn’t feel like it right now.