I have lived with ADHD my entire life. Just like many other people have, and I am sure they would tell you that it presents some obstacles. In elementary, middle, and high school I felt like I really owned my disability. I had it locked down. So naturally, I thought college would be different, but still a breeze when it came to cope with my ADHD.
I was wrong! College doesn't provide the schedule I was used to. The professors are amazing and willing to help, but they also have a ton of other students. Way more than my high school teachers had. My first semester was rough. I struggled to schedule my homework, class, work and social life. so here I will outline ten ways to be successful in college with a learning disability. However, these tips can help anyone!
1. Keep an organized planner
Keeping an organized planner is essential. In my planner, I plan far ahead in the calendar section. Stuff like test dates, quizzes, events, and projects. In the weekly section, I put all of my up and comings, like homework, when to do laundry, my workout schedule, and my work schedule. It helps a lot to see my week laid out. It keeps me responsible and on top of what I need to do.
2. Keep a clean living space
My first semester, I put organized living on the back burner. I didn't realize that it stressed me out subconsciously. I typically do my everyday homework in my room, so having a nice space is crucial. I usually dedicate about fifteen minutes a day to tidy up. Living in a dorm, my space tends to get messy within about a day, so doing the small things like making my bed every day and doing my dishes. Having a clean room to come home to is a great feeling and lessens my stress after a very busy day of classes.
3. Study for test outside of your room
Doing your homework inside your room is fine. However, tests are a different story. I find it really helpful to use a study room. The space doesn't have a lot of distractions and usually, I choose one near other resources that help with studying.
4. Study in a group
Sometimes you don't know all of the material that your peers do. Also, it helps to teach each other the material. It's been proven that teaching is the best way to learn material. Usually, I have classes with a few of my friends, so learning and teaching material with them is extremely beneficial.
5. Make a schedule that works best for you
Do not overcrowd your schedule. Your life will kind of revolve around your schedule. So, make sure it doesn't stress you out. I would highly recommend not taking classes early in the morning. You might think it will be easy for you to get up that early because we've been doing that all of high school. However, here you have to walk to classes. Sometimes your classes are far away. So, make sure you take that into account as well. Try to walk your classes and make sure you haven't scheduled them to close together.
Also, keep in mind that huge breaks between classes might not be a great idea. I tend to want to go home between classes if I can and sometimes that gives me an excuse not to go. Just do what you know you can handle, my best advice was don't be too ambitious with scheduling at the start, you can always add classes if you think you can handle more. Also for the video I linked above if you want some more information I'd skip to around three-minute mark.
6. Use your resourcesColleges have a lot of great resources for people with learning disabilities and a ton of other resources for everyone. I find tutoring extremely helpful, and you can find a lot of it online. So, if you have breaks in your day I would recommend going and getting some extra help.
7. Get ready the night before
Rushing to get ready and get all of your class supplies in the morning is no fun. However, a great way to get rid of some of that stress is to prepare the night before. I always lay out what I am going to wear the next day and pack my backpack before I go to sleep. I also recommend making it part of your nightly routine to plug in all of your technology. Nothing is worse than having a dead phone or computer when you have class all day.
8. Ask for help
I know sometimes I feel awkward when I don't understand whats going on, but I have learned to always reach out when I need help. Professors and TAs have office hours so use them! Most of the time if you are busy during their office hours they can set up another time to meet with you. Talking to an expert on the subject that's confusing you is extremely helpful. that being said, sometimes you can't get there with your schedule. Ask a classmate! they might not be as knowledgeable as your professor but they might have the answers you are looking for. You can always look into getting a tutor if you are struggling with the materials.
9. Make plans ahead of time
I love having a good time with friends but sometimes those plans can interfere with my school work if I don't watch out! If you make plans ahead of time then you can do your work early. Put it in your planner! I have to admit sometimes I grab dinner or go out last minute, but I always feel like I should be doing the work I haven't finished yet. when you make sure to have your work done before leaving for the night you feel so much better. Planning your nights might seem redundant or annoying to you and your friends but I promise it will get rid of a lot of stress. You won't be rushing to get work done and you won't be thinking about school work while you're having fun!
10. Learn to say no!
Sometimes I get stressed out because I have too much going on. So, if you feel that way start saying no to what you ca not handle at the moment. If you have too much homework and your friends want to go out then maybe you should stay in. It could also be telling yourself "no, when you want to stay up until 4 a.m to watch Netflix, when you have class at 8 in the morning! College is a great time, so you should try to involve yourself in as many opportunities as you can. However, if you feel as if you have been stretched too thin, say no for a while and cut back on what you can't handle.
I hope these tips help you out! I have found all of them extremely helpful in my everyday life. They might not all work for you, that's okay. Try them out and see which ones do! If I've learned one thing, it's to do what works best for you and your personal preferences.