I want to go to college but everybody is telling me I'm not ready

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    • #171271

      So I’m 18 and have ADHD. I got accepted into a 4 year college in which I had to write an essay for and I have never been good at writing papers for school but the fact that I actually got into the college and wrote an essay all by myself is a huge accomplishment. All I ever hear is you’re not ready or how are you gonna pay for it and it hurts me badly because I know I’m capable and I can’t seem to get them to see that I am. It hurts to be told that no matter how hard you try you’ll never be ready to go to college. I don’t want to go to a community college or take a gap year because I want to get started immediately, but my dad has to move for his job so no matter what it’ll be out of state. My dad expects me to pay for college and I have a $14,000 college fund but that’ll barely get me through my first semester and it’s like they are saying they’re not going to pay for any of it. My dad has ADHD and he made it through college. He grew up on a dairy farm so routine was practically all his life revolved around. I cleaned my room because you couldn’t even see the floor while my mom was out of town helping out with my cousin who was dying from cancer and she didn’t even look at it before telling me I didn’t do anything to it and that I hadn’t proved to her that I was capable of living on my own at college. I’m tired of being told I’m not ready when I know I am. How can I get them to see that?

    • #171319


      I’m a high school teacher (25 yrs) diagnosed with severe (inattentive) ADD 18 yrs ago at age 35. First off, this is a huge accomplishment! You should be duly proud of yourself- especially attaining it on your own. I also have 2 college-aged children (one starting next year). The teacher in me says ‘Go for it!’ You’ve put yourself in position to get into a school you dreamed about, so you’ve clearly put in the foundational work they require. That tells me that you are in a position to handle the higher-order levels of intellectual output that college demands.

      Do your parents think that you won’t be up for the higher degree of demands on your time/schedule? You will be responsible for your own time, and will need to be organized in a way you probably didn’t need to be before. You’ll also be on your own, needing to build your own coping strategies and support systems; that’s daunting for any college-aged kid, never mind someone who struggles with executive functioning like we do. I can certainly understand their apprehension as a parent.

      My one suggestion: would they, and you, be open to a formal contract? You would commit to doing EVERYTHING you need to do in order to stay on top of things at school – you an negotiate that. In turn, they agree to support you in the ways you need. If you don’t meet those, they have recourse to bring you home. This might also help with the mediation of a counselor/therapist. Are you in treatment? Lots of colleges have mental health centers – maybe agreeing to meet formally at school with someone who can help build those strategies/skills might allay their concerns.

      Sorry this is so long – but it’s kind of in my wheelhouse as a parent, teacher, and fellow ADDer. I hope this helps. Either way – you should be proud of yourself and this accomplishment! Let us know how things progress – I wish you all the positive vibes going forward…


    • #171354

      Yes, it is possible to do just fine in college with ADHD, my husband and I managed it (and did advanced degrees too). Will you manage astonishingly well? Maybe not, but plenty of people without ADHD don’t do so well either, because college is hard. It sounds to me like your family has problems of their own and are not able to solve yours right this moment, so your way to prove that you are ready is to move forward and attempt to solve them yourself. You have enough money for a semester, so that would give you some time to adjust. Make the preparations to go to college (accept etc.). Contact the financial aid office at the college for options, and ask how you can research if there any scholarships for people in your situation. If you have a formal ADHD diagnosis, contact the service for people with disabilities on campus and see what accommodations you have access to. Prepare to find a job the following summer, and check if the university facilitates a paid internship program (this is how I finished my Bachelor’s degree, by taking 16 months off to work in one of these programs, and I started college with $3000 in my pocket after the first semester fees). Contact other people that are starting or continuing their college journey and ask them what you should know. It’s particularly important for ADHD people to do things they are strongly motivated to do — that’s the only way they can learn, the only way the spirit is satisfied. And if you struggle and not succeed with college, you will still have learned a lot in the process to help you succeed at life.

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