Dr. Umesh Jain
is now exclusively responsible
for TotallyADD.com
and its content
Dr. Umesh Jain is now exclusively responsible for TotallyADD.com and its content

The Forums Forums I Just Found Out! My Story Did anyone else actually do well in school?

Viewing 15 posts - 16 through 30 (of 48 total)
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  • sdwa


    Yeah, I think the high-IQ factor has a lot to do with it.  I’m not going to brag about how smart I am (although I’d like to) but I think my ability to size up the essentials of a situation helped me a lot.

    On the other hand, my husband’s IQ is 156. He’s smarter than I am – but did lousy in school because he “didn’t apply himself” – getting Cs until his senior year of high school when he decided to make an effort. And then in college came very close to graduating at the top of his class. So motivation clearly has a lot to do with academic success – but how do you create that level of motivation where it doesn’t exist?


    @ RitaFaye   “I’m insanely curious about almost every topic,[….] My problems in school were purely social, [….] I still panic about meeting new people. But academic/coping problems came later, starting with no idea of what I wanted to do with my life.”   BINGO.

    @kc5jck   “The fact is that these “refused-to-be-diagnosed-as-ADHD-by-their-doctors” individuals performed at acceptable levels because they had IQs of 130+.”    “Can I get a witness?”  -AMEN

    Yes, they tested me once in school and said that I had “potential for high achievement” based on IQ. What I learned in real life is that being “smart” doesn’t necessarily get you any where. I was pretty crushed when I was kicked out into reality and found out that nobody actually cares how smart you are if you can’t function within their societal guidelines.

    I used to be smug about my “high intelligence” but now I just laugh about it. Fat lot of good that did me.

    Testing well doesn’t mean diddly in the real world. Too bad you can’t just “test” for a job instead of having to interview. That would be awesome.


    Hmmmm…..Now I’m curious to know just what my IQ is. But I’m certain it can’t be that high. And I really didn’t do that well in school.

    @wanderquest  I have always been a bit of an intellectual snob myself. Which is funny because I have also always felt like I was stupid. Stupid, but smarter than the average idiot I guess.

    But like you said, intelligence doesn’t get you anywhere in this world. Which I find really irritating. Especially when I am smarter than the people in charge and they won’t listen to me. And the really annoying thing is when it turns out I was right and I still don’t get any credit. They just happen to change their minds about it.

    @sdwa “but how do you create that level of motivation where it doesn’t exist?”

    That is the $64,000 question, isn’t it? For me, it has to be practically life and death before I get motivated to do something I really don’t want to do.

    @RitaFaye, you are so right about that word OR.They seem to never think that it is possible to do well in one area and be a complete disaster in another. I have the exact same social problems, only for me the bullying never came to a stop. And it is an either or situation with everything else. I can either do well at work and let everything else fall apart, or I can take care of things at home and let myself slip at work. And I never can really do well in anything. At best, I keep my head above water.

    I did the same thing with not researching the career options for art. And I found out many years later when I went to an art exhibit at the college and got chatting with one of the students that there is a complete business course included in the fine arts course, so that they know how to start their own business when they’re finished.


    Wow, this is me – still, more than a year after diagnosis – or is it two years? (wow, I’ve totally lost track)

    “I did well in school.”

    I did well in school – honor roll, 99th percentile on all those weird standardized number 2 pencil tests. In the smart-kid classes, calculus, AP history, college prep all the way. Good SATs, I got into a top college, from which I graduated on time with a good GPA. Yep. I did well.

    BUT –

    Good God, were there some bumps in that road.
    The form “Warning Notice” sent home by my 7th grade math teacher. I forget my grade – not horrific, but it was dangling precariously close to failing. In the comment section was written only this: “She seems to be in her own world much of the time.”

    The year we were not required to turn in any science lab write-ups until the end of the year, at which time we were expected to have handed in a total of 30. My total one month from the end of the year: Seven. Somehow the rest of them happened by June, but it wasn’t pretty.

    The calculus course I dropped three-quarters of the way through senior year, because I was failing it so spectacularly. I’d already gotten into college, so it was quietly wiped off my record and therefore it didn’t kill my GPA. I’m pretty sure there were doctor’s notes involved, because at that time I was being treated for major depression.

    The college English final exam I missed because I wrote the date in the margin of a notebook that I never looked at again. They let me take the makeup exam.

    The countless all-nighters for writing papers and studying for exams. That horrible moment when the black window hovering above your typewriter suddenly becomes purple, and the realization that it is dawn snaps your neck so hard that you nearly topple backward.

    Those printed notes that you couldn’t bear to read from the career center you couldn’t bear to visit: What Will You Do After Graduation?

    Still trying to figure that one out. I’m 48.

    But, yeah, I did well in school.


    I’ve spent the past 6-weeks reading articles and listening to podcasts and I began to wonder at my abysmal academic history compared to so many highly educated people, doctors even, writing these articles, and books, and speaking publicly about ADHD they suffer themselves. I began to wonder the same thing as you, wanderquest, but from an opposite position.

    The OP, along with the varying replies to it gave me relief. I am not the only one doubting myself. And while yes there are many success stories, the paths travelled to them are many and different and each in it’s own way, gruelling. And not all succeed.

    Myself, I know from my mother that I began scholarly pursuit with ejection from pre-school. I went into a rage the teachers couldn’t handle and they sat me in the hallway until my mother returned to take me home, permanently for that year. Mom also told me that in my early elementary school years the teachers where convinced that I was mentally retarded and would never be able to attend a regular school, nor read or write. I have only a few memories of the time. Hiding under a teachers desk listening to music to calm myself. Becoming lost because I couldn’t pay attention to bus stops. Just glimpses of a confused and lost boy with a foggy brain.

    While the fog never lifted I did eventually graduate grade 8, but only because the R.C. school system doesn’t fail anyone. And I did read and write just fine.

    From there I tried secondary school but I didn’t fit. Eventually I just stopped going to classes.

    In 1981 I attended, for a time, a (boarding style) school. A really good teacher noted I worked better when off to the library for research on my own. I was given permission to work apart from the class and to move at my own pace, which was much faster than the other students. I excelled. I earned my only secondary school credits there and I was named the school’s top junior student.

    Home again I was enrolled back in my old high school. I was again lost, and although my mother pushed me until I turned 16 and left school to find work, I never completed another secondary school class.

    I realise I’m late to the post party but I really wanted to say thank you, to the OP and to those who responded, for sharing your experiences.


    I didn’t do very well in school as well and it was a struggle most of the time.Not because I’m not smart or anything just couldn’t focus or care to study.

    In pre-school my mom and the school had me do an IQ test and It showed my mind was a little behind everyone else.Then later in 3rd grade I came really close to failing it all together.My mom then had me put on adderall and every Wednesdays I would go to  sylvan learning center.That really helped me bring up my grades and my mom told me I said to her that I could finally remember things and felt smarter.Also in elementary school I was put in special ED classes.In the 5th grade I had gotten taken out of special ED because I ended up to smart for it,lol.So then I was put back into regular classes.In 6th grade i stopped taking adderall because it started to make me feel depressed the older I got.Then high school I didn’t take any meds at all and I know now if i was taking vyvanse I would have had better grades because I would have been more focused and would have liked studying more.

    Now the only challenge is trying to do college,lol.


    @Hadley, Welcome. There is no such thing as “late to the post party” around here. Most of us probably don’t even look at the date on the posts.

    It made me cringe when I read that they said you were mentally retarded. So many kids get mislabeled because no one takes the time to figure out what’s really going on. I was lucky enough to just get stuck with the “lazy” lable. That was bad enough because they assumed that I just wasn’t trying hard enough when I really was struggling. So I never got the help I needed. I did okay but I could have done much better.

    @angelicdemon, Three years old is much too young for an IQ test. They couldn’t possibly have gotten accurate results. Every child develops at their own pace and some take a little longer than others. And IQ tests can be inaccurate at any age because they aren’t designed to take into account differences such as background and learning style and processing speed.

    I have never been officially tested but I have done a few tests on my own. And I always score below normal too, overall.  But when you look at the individual areas, I’m way above average in some of them. And in the ones where I score below average I could score higher if I had more time to figure out the answers. Not much higher, but a little.

    When you go to college be sure to register as a student with special needs. And talk to the counsellors and instructors and tell them what you need.  And don’t put too much pressure on yourself. You can do it if you just take it easy and don’t worry about it too much.


    @blackdog I should have added the fact that during that time I was like 4yrs old when the IQ test happend.I’m a pre-school drop out which to me now i laugh because it’s not something you hear a lot,lol.Why I had to was when I was like 3yrs old I ended up getting pneumonia and after that just kept being to sick so I ended up having to stop going.Then she let me try again which since I was 4yrs old I’m able to remember some memories from when I was in pre-school.The teacher said I was a demon child,lol. I remember being sent to the corner and punished and the one reason i remember.It was story time and we would sit around on this big rug and I had this idea wondering how fast i could spin my hands around each other.So I did it and the teacher got on to me and said i was going to hurt someone.Then the other times I remember her dragging me to the car and going like “Did you know what your daughter did today?!”

    I don’t know about anyone else but honestly seems like the SAT and ACT are 100% not ADHD/ADD friendly,lol. Since it’s like a 4 hour long test,like 60 questions in each subject,and having like 1hr or something minute to answer each.

    Well the number one thing I hate about doing college is some that say you have to do these core classes that have nothing to do with what career your going for.



    That preschool teacher should not be allowed to teach preschool if she behaved like that. She was the one with the problem, not you.

    I don’t know anything about the SAT and I don’t know what the ACT is. I never had to write a test that long so I don’t know how I would do. But 4 hours is a long time. I think the longest I was ever in an exam room was 1.5 hrs, maybe 2. I always took the maximum time to finish and sometimes didn’t finish. Which probably was partly because I was fidgeting and thinking about other things but mostly because it took me a long time to figure out what to write.

    Is there any kind of accommodation for people with special needs? Like having you write the 4 sections separately, so it would only be 1 hour at a time?

    I have never understood why they make you take courses that have nothing to do with what you are there for. It seems like a huge waste of time and energy.  That’s one of the reasons I am thinking about taking online courses.


    I somehow did very well in school until about Grade 10 – despite never ever having my homework completed, and my assignments constantly being handed in late.  Parental pressure was a big factor; it was expected that I do well – though it probably took me three times longer to do projects than it took everyone else.  Don’t even ask about grades 11 or 12, however – my home structure broke down, and I went from honor roll student to barely graduating.

    Now I am 32, and been working on one degree for probably about 8 years lol, and still a year to go.  I still do well in courses when I am interested, but I really struggle with the self-direction required..  and as for the “boring” classes, omg..


    (OK..this is the longest post ever…my first time online, sorry, it;s really more sort of an essay! ) YES and it’s not only diagnosis that gets tricky: does anyone else find that having some history of past success also blurs the personal decision/risk for taking a serious medication??? …(I have serious ADHD related marital.career.depression issues now but does it merit future permanent medication dependency to “feel normal” considering past success?). I was a top performer at school/university and also in my early (then still interesting) career, but ironically, I think success was partly because of ADHD including lengthy reasons below. I think there is clearly a wide spectrum of mental traits that get affected- some ADHDers are unlucky in that some symptoms which dominate in them might become serious or destructive early on, while others of us can compensate with certain strengths, in my case curiosity. My ADHD success was possible because:

    1) Hyperfocus- it’s amazing! I was so fascinated by a sci fi book’s pictures around 3 yrs apparently I demanded my “smart/organized” sister teach me to read it-my reading skills were years ahead by the time i got to school. What a big confidence boost it was when Good (or lazy ?haha) Teacher routinely let me read to other kids in class 1… early success is always an exponential spring board for more success..if only every kid got lucky breaks early in life so…

    2) GOOD LUCK: yes, high IQ (i had one, it seems to have gone on a loooong vacation tho :o) and/or the right environment/people really help you learn strategies.. I could see when i was getting into trouble and irritating the hell out of people or family so i tried to find solutions despite the difficulties of constantly adapting (hmm…is that where depression starts…why can’t i just be my dizzy scattered crazy self.)

    3) CURIOSITY- another adhd skill- with motivation and curiosity peaked, hyperfocus kicks in… i loved to learn about “a million” things, anything new, so school was a big  candy jar. (despite being told i was “odd/quirky kid”, dizzy, no common sense, constantly bullied, Space cadet and put in the naughty corner for talking too much, drifting off, acting before thinking etc.)  Where else can you do 10 different things in a day as diverse as acting, singing, painting and science- if only adult life could be like this, would we ADHDers be so much happier! who wants to do one sucky job all day, every day, all week… OMG its hurts just thinking about it…I digress..hahahaha..

    4) Good schools- enthusiastic encouraging observant teachers! : it only takes a couple of teachers to point out your strengths and encourage you/build you interest. I was working class/uneducated family but very lucky to end up in a decent public school…

    5) Keep ADHDers busy–my Fabulous mum (of 5 kids!) helped my interests and arranged my sports activities, music classes etc every day…i never stopped and loved it…i was constantly stimulated and heavily involved in physical activity like sports, acting, performing etc yet luckily didn;’t have to ORGANIZE any of it.

    5b) I had a REALLY strong self-motivating factor to do well at school-pleasing above mentioned super mum

    6) School and college are usually broken up into structured short periods of activity…and the beauty is you walk from class to class, constantly physically moving between classes and outside for recess/Phys ed with some much needed laughter –all good things for adhd yes, not like a grotty office or lab job where you sit locked in 1 place most of day!

    7) So I’m saying if the adhd kid is interested in the first place, lucky and encouraged, yes success is very possible in some.

    PS> since this post isn’t long enough already..Good doctors get down into the nitty gritty of who you REALLY are, not just who you’ve learned to be to survive…i went into science where I was forced to be methodical, pay attention to detail etc…my intrinsically adhd personality is now completely SPLIT-subsequently my career coach says i am the most complicated individual she’s ever coached…an artist in a labcoat and completely confused.  SO Glad to be diagnosed and to get such a good laugh on this website- thank you for the info/wonderful sense of humor TOTALLY ADD!






    Glad you’re enjoying the site and getting something helpful from it. And glad to see you contributing. I’m not sure you broke the record for “longest post ever” though. There’s a few doozies around here.

    I will have to be brief tonight because I’m not very well. You are right about everything. A lot of factors make the difference between struggling and finding success. It depends a lot on personality too. Those who are more outgoing and extroverted I think have an easier time. And that early confidence boost that you mentioned makes a huge difference.

    As for medication, the dependancy issue has been greatly exaggerated in the media, as have the risks of taking stimulants.  But you have to weigh the pros and cons and if you feel like you’re doing well enough without it then by all means continue without it. It may not be that bad for you but it  isn’t that good for you either.


    Blackdog- thank you for your helpful words, I hope you are feeling better soon. 🙂

    I agree entirely!  thinking more on this,  2 summary points:

    1) Yes -personality is everything. I think severity and type of symptoms also affect personality and have MUCH more to do with level of success at school than any iq measure  (iq means diddly squat in the working world too). One of my older sisters was as “smart” as i was but she had a terrible time at school because thinking on it, she likely has (undiagnosed) adhd too; her symptoms started early and were severe! She had clumsy and impulsive emotional outbursts that became violent, and she unintentionally marginalized herself from friends and family very early in life–school was subsequently unhappy for her and her life was much tougher. (as adults, i now see a lot of her in me/vice versa but in childhood I tried to avoid being anything like her: teachers would even say “you better not be anything like that sister of yours”). Kudos to my sister for ever getting through it all! (emotionally she is mellowing at 50)

    2) Medication- I think its time to try it: i’m just scared as i don’t even use tylenol, but the current alternative risks losing my husband and career! If my leg hurt, i’d use a crutch so time to apply the same thinking to mental state perhaps…I am so happy to hear it has changed the life of many people here for the better. Best of luck everyone! I better go see a doctor…..(yoga, fresh food etc already helping part of my life)




    Thank you, I’m much better now. Just went through a nasty bit of stomach upset from something, not sure what. But it’s slowly returning to normal.

    Definitely talk to your doctor about the medication. And read up on yourself as much as you can too. A lot of doctors are not really familiar with ADHD meds and don’t know all the options or what the best way to prescribe them is. Ask lots of questions and be sure you are choosing one that you will be comfortable with. There are some non-stimulant/non-narcotic options that you may want to try first.

    I only started medication myself a few months ago, not counting a brief stint on Ritalin many years ago. My life had pretty much fallen apart at the seams over the last few years and I decided it was time to do something about it. Things change over time and sometimes you just need a little extra boost. Now I have to work on the yoga and fresh food and all that.


    Well TRASHMAN I can relate to you. I wanted to go on in high school but was told by a teacher I addmired not to return, too hard for you. Best you get a job. Always strugled but was tenasiouse. so to work always believing I was doumb.found I had a brain at colledge going back at 24. Child care coarse.did well learnt I had a brain but woked really hard!since upgraded and struggle with interpretations of the written word on papper . Recently diagnosed at 55 un medicated yet. Psycoligist said learnind disability due to history of writting is hard to keep tidy, reading diff and spelling never realy kicked in. Yet he says I have an above average inteligence. I did do a lot for him as in answering questions on computer. I dont get it. I know I love learning in my time at my pace. For this I LOVE the internet. I too went through school in the 70s  trashman. They didnt have any idea. I look back too and recognise two boys who were bullied by teacher and I know now they had teoretts syndrome.

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