March 9, 2018 at 9:01 am #78507
If ADHD was graded as a spectrum, 1 being the least affected and 10 the most, I’m a comfortable 9. I essentially failed every class from 6th grade through 10th when I was first diagnosed. shortly thereafter I dropped out recieved my GED, and joined the Marine Corps at 17. I received some technical training that ended with me working aloft on towers and poles. After 20+ years of far more than my share or turmoil in my personal life and by some mircle more than my share of stability in my professional life I was injured on the job. Somehow I had stumbled into a career that fit me well at 17. I was able to hold steady and reasonably lucrative employment in the same field for 20+ years without many transferable skills. After going through an indescribably horrific transition I decided to go back to school. This is my third quarter. I loved and excelled at the first. Bombed the second, mostly due to the teaching style of the course. (The letter of disapproval for false advertising and failing to live up to the schools mission statement could not have been as enjoyable to write as I found it to be.) The third semester I decided to take math because I had a glaring deficit in mathematical skills that was effecting my studies. I have enjoyed it and moved from the staplers being hurled at my head in 6th grade to college level algebra, and some trig, as well as physics. My problem is I’m behind the class, it takes me a minimum or 35 or 40 hours a week to complete my homework and the work product is substandard. I have some accommodations but they are only halfway adhered to and that seems to be systemic not specific to the course. They are particularly poor for the ones that accomidate my injury.
I love to learn. I love being back in school but it’s starting to take a serious toll on me physically, emotionally and motivationally. I don’t want to quit and have another halfway finished project in my life which is an easy way of saying, epic fail!!!!!! I need to.find my love of learning again and get my insatiable curiosity back in gear so that this overwhelmed worn out feeling can be once again replaced with a positive outlook and realistic hope.
Has anyone been in a similar situation later in adulthood that can offer some concrete advice on how to overcome this struggle and find some emotional drive? I have been a Marine, and a good one. I was an excellent employee. In addition with one child graduating from the UW in two weeks, another is at Stanford both with academic scholarships and my youngest is getting A’s in 8th grade. I would say I am a pretty successful single father of 12 years and that is my greatest achievement by far.
In academic settings my history has been one of abject failure. I’m more than intelligent enough. I want it so bad that even the thought of failing is intolerable in every way. The very idea is physically and emotionally excruciating.
The reality is that with slightly more than 2 years to go for a batchlors degree I’m flat out struggling and I’m not going to make it on my current trajectory.I could really use some good advice and some solutions to help me get me past my struggle and back to a place of motivation and the sense of certainty I had 6 months ago. I refuse to just quit and let this beat Me without at least an epic strugle so any advice will be greatly appreciated.
March 9, 2018 at 9:32 am #78513
A lot of universities offer tutoring to students (my daughter’s offers free tutoring in all subjects). Check into that — working with someone really skilled at math may help you get the work done in a little less time and with a lot less stress.
Also, be kind to yourself. Intelligence is not the sole measure of academic abilities. There’s so much more to it. Yes, you are “smart enough.” But, are you as focused and organized? Probably not since you have ADHD. You are going back to school later in life — something many of us don’t think we can do (even those of us without ADHD). You love learning and you are willing to put forth great effort to do so. These qualities put you leaps and bounds ahead.
Here are some strategies for going back to college when you have ADHD:
ADDitude Community Moderator, Author & Trainer on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism
March 10, 2018 at 5:01 pm #78670
Hi Andrew. I’m not sure if I can help but I’ll try. I’m likely not as high up the adhd band as you but I struggled in school. K-12 was rough. My last semester as a senior in high school I found a passion for math and science. It’s not that I really cared about the math or the science, but it was a giant puzzle and for whatever reason I learned that big puzzles are enticing to me. So I went to engineering school and did twice as much work as anyone else and did okay. It wasn’t just the puzzle, it was that I also found out I like being creative. I took classes not to learn the material, and certainly not to get a piece of paper, but to help me create. The harder the class the better I did, as long as I could somehow see using the material to create something. My senior project was to make a computer controlled NC mill, way before anyone else had thought of it.
No, I’m not saying creativity is what you should do, it’s what worked for me. But it worked because it was a trigger for me. You’re proud of being a Marine, and you should be. You’re proud of your work career. (And to be honest, 20 years in the same career is impressive for anyone.) So is there a way to tie your class work to that pride? Find an emotional connection between what you’re proud about to the course work you have left to complete. You want the degree to prove to others you can do it, and I really understand that because that was also motivation for me, but it’s a bit negative in a way. Don’t worry about proving the idiots wrong. Worry about finding the emotional spark that gets you going. You said you know what teaching styles work for you. Go talk to the profs and find out what their teaching style is. If they don’t like you talking to them then it’s likely that they are the wrong prof for you. I don’t know how to say this but my guess is marines know how to get crap done. So use that spirit to figure out who the best profs are. Most good profs really like to see students that are engaged and want to learn. That’s what you are. Make a connection with them. Ask them about their course. Ask them how they teach their course. Figure out questions that will give you an idea of their teaching styles. Talk to them often. If they know you really care about the subject, and you’ve said you love learning and want that spark back, then show them that you care. If you can connect with them then they will give you the benefit of the doubt. Most students are just trying to skate by and do the minimum. Profs hate those students. You have passion. Let it out so they can see it. The good profs will help you out. It might be advice. It might be extra help. It might just be giving you extra time. The good profs are also passionate about their subject. Believe me, they want to see the spark they have grow in a student. You have something that few other students have: passion. Use that.
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