Is anyone else coping with Adhd and enrolled in college?

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This topic contains 3 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Dr. Eric 1 year, 6 months ago.

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  • #105445

    adhdgal25
    Participant

    Hello all. My name is Emilee, I am 26 years old and got my diagnosis at 24 years old. I am currently attending online classes at Colorado Technical University and am studying psychology. I am going for bachelor’s degree. I just had to switch my major from criminal justice/human services to psychology due to failings class too many times. As an adult with adhd, I have horrible habits of procrastination, being lazy, and focusing on things that are not really important for school. I am two weeks behind in school and surprised to even have a C. I am not medicated because I do not like how the medication makes me feel. Any suggestions on how to improve my grade and stay motivated?

  • #105447

    Spaceboy 99
    Participant

    Hey there!

    I’m not currently enrolled in university, but I did manage to graduate from one, so I feel like I can offer at least some advice. Like you, I failed a bunch of classes and had to switch focus, too.

    Your taking online classes makes some of the advice I would give a little useless, but we’ll see if there’s anything I can do.

    The first thing I’d ask is where and when you’re taking your classes? If you’re taking them at home, I’d recommend finding somewhere, maybe a coffee shop or a library to take your classes. At home, all of your super-interesting, shiny things are immediately nearby. If you remove yourself from the distractions, and put yourself in an environment you don’t control, it can be easier to focus. Additionally, the action of ‘going to class’ can help prepare your mind for focus, instead of having to potentially divert from another task to do your classes. If you’re limited by a job, and HAVE to take your classes in the evening, after work, even taking a couple of turns around the block before class can help give you this benefit.

    Do you have anyone in your life who’d be willing to help you study, or be in the room with you (not being distracting) while you study the material? Having a second person nearby can make you feel accountable for getting distracted, and make you more likely to focus. This is one of the benefits of classroom learning over distance learning, to be honest.

    For the two weeks behind, I would recommend taking an extra class per week, until you’re caught up. It’s not good trying to catch up all at once, forgetting half the material, and just feeling more and more behind. When I switched courses, I had to take four additional courses, and rather than do them all at once, I spread them out over the remaining two years of my degree, one class per semester. It meant I had less time to work on my dissertation, but it also meant I had a good, strong foundation, instead of just trying to blaze a trail.

    Re: medication, which medication types have you tried? Because there are about 50 different medication options, not to mention variations in dosage, so it’s possible that there are medication options you haven’t tried. Stimulant medications can come as instant release and extended release, both of which have different effects on different people. There are also non-stimulant medications available. These medications do not all feel the same. As a general rule, if you’ve had a bad experience with medication, either the dosage is wrong, or the type of medication is wrong. It doesn’t mean that all meds are bad, and meds can make an ENORMOUS difference in your ability to focus and get things done. I managed to get through university without meds (I’m 27 and only just getting diagnosed), but I procrastinated like hell. Every essay was written the night before it was due, and I almost lost my chance at a degree altogether. Anything that can boost focus and motivation is a plus, to my mind.

    So, there’s my two cents. If you think, based on what I’ve said, that there may be medication options you haven’t tried, I urge you to have a word with your doctor and start experimenting. If not, I hope the more general study tips I’ve given you are of some help.

    Best of luck!

  • #107941

    MJ1981
    Participant

    I am not currently enrolled in school because I was able to graduate from a 4-year school and earn my Bachelor’s Degree. I’ve been where you are right now and my advice is this: Get yourself to a therapist or counselor and ask for help. They can help you figure out coping methods and tricks to help you get through school. Medication isn’t always the answer. I got through school w/out my medication and I haven’t taken medication since I turned 18 and I’m 37 now. You know that you need help so you should find it.

    Another piece of advice is that maybe online school isn’t right for you; some people thrive better in a classroom setting where they can get individual attention from the teacher and where they can get support from academic advisers. You just gotta find what is right for you. Maybe try community college for awhile, maybe take fewer classes each semester. It will take you longer to graduate but maybe it’s better for you in the long-run to have fewer classes to juggle.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 6 months ago by  MJ1981.
  • #108588

    Dr. Eric
    Participant

    Not enrolled anymore, but I was diagnosed as an undergrad after transferring out of my first school.

    As soon as I was diagnosed and treated, but gpa jumped to a 3.7.

    The things that helped.
    1 – Transferred to a school that seemed to care more about my needs. (UMass Amherst).
    2 – Meds – Literally a 6 times jump in productivity.
    3 – Help – not just from counseling department, but from audiobooks and other folks with ADHD.
    4 – Athletics – I started with crew and switch to cheer. In addition to the benefits of exercise, my job and cheer preventing me from procrastinating. I had a sense of urgency to get my work done in the one window per day that I had. Time was managed for me.
    5 – Utilizing support services. Swallowing my pride and asking for help was harder than dealing with the professors.

    I have since gotten my Masters from Northeastern U. and my Doctor of Education from UCLA.

    Looking at the website, I am a little worried that a for profit is going to provide the support services that a public or private/nonprofit will.

    I would also address your medication concerns with an MD to see if there is a way to get the benefit without the negatives. It is not a yes/no or good/bad decision. Everyone is different and the issue is far more complicated and nuanced.

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