At the age of 7, I was diagnosed with ADHD. I went on medication for 10 years, and right before senior year of high school, I decided to come off of my medication. I learned how to better manage my ADHD, but I did not grow out of it. All 9 of the inattentive type ADHD symptoms are still present. This can make managing college very hard. Here are 10 things nobody realizes about having ADHD in college.
1. You're convinced that you're stupid.
Even the simplest math class can send you into a downward spiral of mental breakdowns every week. It's not because the math is hard, but because your executive function just decides to shut down on you those days.
2. You get easily overwhelmed.
When you have ADHD, you process every. single. noise. And because your brain tries to process a million noises at once, you get overwhelmed (and it probably results in crying or anger).
3. You can't drown noises out.
Because an ADHD brain processes every single noise, it is difficult to drown anything out. Taking an exam can be hard when you're trying to sort through your thoughts while also hearing every sniffle, pen scribble, eraser sound, foot shuffle, pencil tapping, chair adjusting, and the chirping birds outside.
4. The library is your frenemy.
The library can either be your best friend or your mortal enemy. Depending how your ADHD feels like behaving that day, you can be in a good state of hyperfocus where nothing can deter you from your work, or you can sit at the desk for 3 hours doing everything you can to prevent yourself from doing work. "Mama said ADHD is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get."
5. Your room is a mess because thinking about cleaning it stresses you out.
You room starts out clean and organized. Within the next 3 days it looks like a tornado blew threw it. You either haven't had time to clean it, or you think cleaning it is too big of a task even if it just means throwing a pile of clothes into a hamper. Little things seem like the most annoying tasks, so you avoid doing it altogether.
6. You lose important things.
You place something important in a spot you won't forget it, and suddenly you forget where you put it. It's most likely buried under a pile of random things, but you're too lazy to look underneath things.
7. It takes you way longer to study.
"Do you REALLY need 8 hours to study?!" Yes, I do. Trust me, I wish I can look at my notes for 3 hours and ace my exam, but sadly that is not how my brain works. My ADHD brain prevents me entirely from studying sometimes. It tells me to watch Youtube videos, do other homework, play with my pen for 20 minutes, or scroll through Facebook even if there's nothing new on my feed. My brain quite literally doesn't want me to study sometimes. It's awful.
8. You know you're not going to do well in math.
Math has been my mortal enemy since elementary school, and it did NOT become my friend in college. With ADHD comes the avoidance of anything that takes sustained mental effort. Math is one of those things. When I got accepted at my university, I had to take a placement exam. Everybody did. And on that placement exam were math problems I have literally never seen before. I didn't even try working the problems out because I knew it would result in crying, and I really didn't want to cry in front of 30 other students in the exam room. I just completely guessed on the questions. This resulted in me being placed in intermediate algebra. I ended up getting a B in the course, but it did NOT come easily. I had to work harder in this class than I did in any of my other classes. I cried over it almost every day.
9. You will tell yourself over and over again that you have to get things done, but your brain doesn't listen.
College is hard when you have ADHD because you KNOW you have to get things done, you repeatedly tell yourself you have to get things done, but your brain convinces you otherwise. You have a very hard time starting tasks, especially when they require a lot of mental effort like studying or doing tedious homework.
10. You can hyperfocus!
The cool thing about ADHD is that you can hyperfocus! Hyperfocusng is getting so stuck on a task that NOTHING can distract you (kind of contradicts the stereotype of ADHD, I know). It can be a good or a bad thing (sometimes I'll hyperfocus on something I'm not supposed to). But, if put in the right setting, I can focus on studying or doing homework until it's done. This is one thing I appreciate about having ADHD. However, it can be hard to get myself to hyperfocus. Once I do though, I'm in my zone and nothing can get me out of it. It's a nice little bonus of ADHD.