College is an enormous chance for freedom and independence. But for the ADHD student, it presents daunting challenges as well. Gone is the very well structured existence at home and at school where the schedule was so easy to follow. At college, the major ADHD issue is to juggle so many things and that new structure and routine has to be created by YOU and FAST. Here are my top 10 tips to help you get through it and really enjoy the experience.
1. Contact the OSDS
The first thing to get in place is to make sure that you have visited the college accommodations office or equivalent. These usually go by the name of Office of Student Disability Services (OSDS). You will need a medical note to certify that you have ADHD and then you can request all sorts of assistance which helps to level the playing field for you. You are only asking for a basic right. You can get help with note taking, longer test times, reduction in the course load and also testing schedules can be changed to suit you better.
2. Get your hi tech hardware
Get all the high tech gadgets you will need. That means a MP3 player, tablet and smartphone. You may be allowed to record lectures and take photos of complicated graphics with a cell phone. Obviously you will need to have a decent tablet so that notes can be made at any time and also you can work on assignments whenever you get a chance. This means that you are not dependent on notes on pieces of paper which always get lost.
3. Use your gadgets to help organize your study time
Use the alarms, reminders and also turn off gadgets so that distractions are at a minimum.
4. Keep your room reasonably tidy.
This means de-cluttering and getting rid of stuff that you never use during a normal week. The once a week rule is useful here whereby anything not used during the week gets chucked.
5. Find out about study skills classes
This is essential because if you are floundering, you are going to need to learn new skills. The same goes for finding a study buddy so that you get help and share studying strategies.
6. Contact your tutor
Make sure you are in regular contact with your tutor and make sure that you know when your lecturer is due to give a review session and be there. Put a reminder on your phone.
7. Keep your ADHD meds with you
Don’t leave your meds lying around. There are unscrupulous students (who do not have ADHD) who want to take Adderall and stay up all night studying and gain unfair advantages. At least you are safe in the knowledge that they did not get their drugs from you. In any case these people are committing a felony so why do you need to get involved in this?
8. Break down study tasks
Break down study tasks so that you are not flitting from one thing to another. This is especially important when you have to do an assignment.
9. Build in breaks and rewards
Build in your breaks and also reward yourself with little prizes so that you can get to check your email or go for a walk or get coffee, or whatever. These breaks need to be frequent.
10. What are you eating?
What are you eating and what are your snack breaks like? Try to have regular meals and also frequent snacks. You should be going for high protein snacks such as hard-boiled eggs, nuts, yogurt, protein bars, dried fruit, apples and bananas. These are the things that make your brain function better so forget all that junk food. Looking after your diet is one of the best natural ADHD solutions out there.
Finally, you should be reaching out to find people who have similar interests and of course sports, gym and other social activities are going to play a significant role in college life. Success is just getting organized!
Robert Locke MBE, is an award winning author and has written extensively on ADHD and related child health problems. You can visit his blog on ADHD natural treatment to find out more.