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  • #88307

    Post count: 14413

    I’m a few months away from finishing my first year of college. I’m in the second semester and we just finished our first set of midterms. I passed all the exams but barely and my marks have fallen from the first semester from getting around 70% to barely getting over 60% now. I’m taking my meds, I’m attending all my classes and I’ve been studying the same. I’m the only guy in the class and the other girls have done well on exams while I have struggled and they have they found the exams easier then last semester while i’ve found them harder. I’m just at a lose on what to do about it now. If anyone has had the same experience or could get me some advice that would be great.


    Patte Rosebank
    Post count: 1517

    College is always a big transition, and it usually takes about a semester before it really hits you. It took about a semester for it to really hit me, though I’d felt totally out of my depth from day one. That was a long time ago, before anyone knew of a disorder called ADD. For me, we just thought it was major depression. And it didn’t help that I was in a shoebox of a dorm, which I shared with another girl, who kept bringing a half dozen friends into the shoebox, where they’d all babble away in Chinese. Finally, I snapped, and my parents had to pull me out of the dorm, and we had to make special arrangements with my profs, because (surprise, surprise), I’d left all my assignments ’til the last minute and was completely overwhelmed by the fact that they were all due in the same week. Several years later, I used the experience to write a song parody called “The Last Night ‘Til It’s Due”, so at least I could laugh about it…eventually…after I’d graduated…

    The biggest adjustment I made for my own sake was that I decided to study part-time and take 5 years to earn a 3-year B.A. This meant that instead of being swamped by a full course load, I could participate in student drama groups, and work part-time in a theatre. Even so, I was clearly in the wrong program—English, which my parents had insisted I study, as a more sensible degree than Theatre, even though everyone else who knew me could see that I ate, slept, and breathed theatre, especially comedy. Somehow, I managed to just barely get that B.A. in English, and to go on to discover that there’s a reason why there’s a song called “What Do You Do With a B.A. in English?”.

    But that’s enough about me.

    Since you have been diagnosed with ADD, and you are taking your medication, but still struggling in this new situation, I’d suggest a meeting with a counsellor at your college. He or she can help you assess your situation, and may be able to help you approach your profs and TAs for special accommodations or extra help—like having someone else take notes for you, so you can focus on absorbing what the prof is actually saying. You should also meet with your psych/ADD specialist, as you may need an adjustment to your medications or some behaviour modification therapy, in response to this new environment.

    Most of all, remember that it’s not just you. College is a huge and overwhelming place. It has a very different approach to learning than elementary or high schools. And most people have some trouble adjusting to it…and that’s the “normal” ones. People with ADD, when faced with having to sit through long lectures, in which the prof talks AT you, while you try to absorb what’s being said, AND take organized notes, will find it particularly tough.

    Good luck! We’re all pulling for you.


    Post count: 44

    I am almost 29 (tomorrow), and I have been in post-secondary education on-and-off since I was 19. This year will be my first 100% successful year *ever*. For me, the biggest things have been:

    – Being on medication, and paying attention to its effectiveness, and taking action when I think things might need to be changed

    – Seeing a counsellor for a “check up” almost every week – sometimes we don’t even really talk about me (we talk news or politics or my school program in general), but I find it really helpful

    – Having a reduced course load has probably been #1 MOST helpful. My program (health sciencey stuff – is this you too?) is designed to be full-time, but I sat down and worked out a schedule for myself to complete it in 3 years instead of two – it means I take 3 or 4 courses each semester, and 1 during the summer, rather than 7+ courses/semester. I think that even with my other modifications to my life (meds, counsellor), I would probably be failing out *again* if it were not for the reduced course load.

    Some things to consider:

    – Are you on a reduced course load? If you want to try, and if they try to tell you that your program can’t be done part-time, don’t take no for an answer :)

    – Different people find different types of school work more challenging. I tend to find lab work more challenging, because there’s just so much going *on* (and I find I need to take notes to remember anything), so I can have a tougher time with that than my classmates. Or, are there more essays this semester? More multiple choice tests? Don’t feel badly if you’re encountering challenges that others are not, but do try to figure out if that is the case, and if so, what can you do about it (request extra time? maybe alternate assignment formats?)

    – Are you registered with your school’s centre for students with disabilities? I have found the CSD people to be very helpful, and also to be pretty awesome cheerleaders when I need cheering on.

    – Do you work part-time? Have you upped your work hours? I find that even 2-3 added hours of “stuff” each week (work or school) can make a big difference to my stress levels and ability to function.

    – Do you think you might need to change your meds dosage? Do they feel as effective as they were in first semester?

    Good luck with everything! :)


    Post count: 14413

    What is it that you are taking and why? I assume it is because you like it but is it stimulating in an ADD way. I had a messed up experience in that I changed my major and carreer path from law to economics as an undergraduate. I had to take 3 years of highschool math 2 of university and 8 economics courses in my last two years to finish on time. My third year I had only 4 courses (calculus/algebra, macroeconomics, microeconomics and econometrics) and an average of 72. In my last year I had 6 courses (one of which was a thesis) and had an 86 average. My point is that interest and motivation played a big role, I found I couldn’t screw around on facebook in my last year (I actually gave it up) for example simply because I needed to succeed. Now that said I had an awesome thesis instructor that refused to let me wander and was not afraid to put me in my place. My other professors also took an interest in me and would allow me to ask some really off topic questions, so they were great supports. I was diagnosed after I graduated and am just now medicated. So my advice:

    -know your strengths and weaknesses and bend the world to you. That is all I have ever done if people don’t like it tough.

    -If the drugs help use them, if not talk to your doctor.

    -Don’t study where there is a distraction. I had a cone of silence in the library and would purposely take up surrounding spaces.

    -Use your classmates. If you’re stuck ask someone they might have the same problem. Also the smart kids love to share their knowlege and will pick your brain when they get stumped (btw i’m not implying you’re not smart just that there is always an over achiever waiting to show how smart they are)

    – ask questions and don’t be afraid to look foolish. it is better to look foolish and get your answer then it is to flunk a test due to an ego.

    – realize that it is a test or a paper and it is not you. don’t get down on yourself cause that will destroy you. I would stop studying 6 to 8 hours before and then clear my mind: try to look out the back of your head you’ll be empty in no time I know I am. Then I would say to myself “let me do what I know” as I was about to write.

    -Don’t panic if it doesn’t come to you, it might later but if you fret then you’ll blank on the rest of the stuff as well.

    This is what I did and I succeeded but I’m not you and you will have to tinker to develope your own way of doing it.


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