It’s August and school is just around the corner. For lots of students this time of year is filled with anxiety. You know the feeling – that nagging feeling that something’s just not right. Or you are having dreams about showing up in class in your underwear and there’s a big test already underway that you’ve totally forgotten about. Going back to is a big adjustment for anyone, but when you have ADHD there are a few extra steps you can take to make sure the year ahead is everything you hope it will be.
ADHD and college: a challenge you can handle
There are lots of great articles out there about the skills you need to survive at college. (We’ve listed a few of our favorites at the end of this post.) Successful students usually have four main qualities that help them achieve their goals:
- Sticking with things even when the going gets tough (a.k.a. perseverance),
- Ability to delay gratification and focus on the big picture,
- Time management and organizational skills, and
- Striking the right balance between fun and work.
However, these particular skills don’t come easily to student with ADHD. Organizational problems, impulsivity and time management issues are actually the hallmarks of living with ADHD. You think, “If I just get this special planner, I’ll become efficient and never forget anything again.” Or you promise yourself, “Next time I’m going to start working on my class reading at the beginning of the term instead of cramming it in right before finals.” It’s so easy to think, “If I just make myself do this…” it’ll be fine.” But what if we tell you’ve been going about this totally backwards? What if making yourself be motivated or organized isn’t the solution, but figuring out how to master yourself is?
Self Mastery is the key to achieving your dreams
Self mastery: identifying and using the tools and skills that work with your personal strengths to achieve your goals and be successful.
College is often the time where you need a new set of skills – or maybe just a tune up – to cope with ADHD. Why now? In your life before college, high school and your parents together gave you built-in structure and accountability. But in college you have a lot of unstructured time and you are totally in charge of making all of your decisions. Want to stay up late partying? No problem. It’s a beautiful day and you want to skip classes to go play. No problem. You are head of your sorority’s social committee and in the marching band and have a job so you can keep your financial aid. No problem, that is, until you are just too tired or simply run out of time to finish the big paper that’s due. There’s no one, except yourself, to tell you where your responsibilities lie. Without self-mastery, it’s easy to let poor time management and organizational skills drag you down; it’s easy to miss that right balance between fun and work; and it’s easy find yourself living out your nightmare of showing up to an important test totally unprepared.
For most college students with ADHD the problem is not so much in knowing what to do, but in getting it done. As one student said, “I know how to plan. My problem is very simple; I just don’t follow my plans. I need help making sure that I do what I say I am going to do instead of getting sidetracked.”
An ADHD Coach helps you get into your groove and keeps you on track
One thing you can always rely on with ADHD is that it is consistently inconsistent. That means there are days when everything goes great, and other days you can’t seem to get out of your own way.
Your friends or family probably get frustrated and say things like, “If you’re so smart, why can’t you just handle it?” And when for whatever reason you don’t, they say you are lazy, or unmotivated, or not living up to your potential. And maybe you begin to believe them.
But what if it’s not because you aren’t trying the right things? After all you are probably already trying pretty hard – or at least thought you were. What if the problem is having a brain that just works differently, and so you need a different approach, a different groove, to managing these every day responsibilities?
This is where an ADHD coach can help. ADHD coaches know that the same approach doesn’t work for everyone. As the old saying goes, if the shoe doesn’t fit, don’t blame the foot! ADHD coaches work with people just like you, every day, and help them find solutions that work for them – not for their parents or friends. They’ll help you:
- Work with your urge to procrastinate
- Be accountable
- Study smarter not harder
- Assess your time
- Stick to your plan!
Find a ADHD coach now, so you are ready to go in the fall
ADHD coaches bring amazing life experience to their coaching. They have a passion for working with young people who might have ADHD. Many coaches have ADHD themselves, or love someone who does, or both, so they really get it. They know what works, and what doesn’t. And they won’t try to make you fit into an organizational system that isn’t right for you!
One of the nice things about an ADHD coach is they all work on the phone. This takes transportation right out of the equation. You can start working with your coach right now, and because you don’t meet in an office, you can “take your coach with you” when you go off to college. You get to your appointments just by picking up the phone. Because there’s no commute, you can easily fit your appointments into your schedule. And, by virtue of a phone/email relationship, you stay in much closer touch with your coach than you would if you had to go to an office. This extra contact can make all the difference in being able to stay on top of things.
Think about getting started even before you leave for college. Those first few weeks are guaranteed to be overwhelming, and your coach can help you stay on track. The numbers show that in college it’s surprisingly easy for students with ADHD to fall behind. Getting your first term grades and finding you’ve tanked is a Christmas present no one wants to get. So, start thinking now about getting ready for the fall. If we’ve convinced you to look into getting an ADHD coach to help you keep it all together, we hope you’ll consider one trained by the Edge Foundation. All of our coaches have met the rigorous standards set by the Edge Foundation and completed training for working with students and young adults with ADHD
So, are you ready to learn more? Sign-up today and take the first step to getting your life under your control, and finding your edge!
Making the transition to college easier
- Learning Disabilities: Stepping Up to the Challenge
- 18 Critical Factors For Successful Post-Secondary Transition
ADHD self-mastery tips and skills
- Managing hyperfocus
- ADHD and sleep
- Fidgeting can help you focus
- ADHD and anxiety
- Treating ADHD and exercise