I am a new college student who needs ... - CHADD's Adult ADH...

CHADD's Adult ADHD Support

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I am a new college student who needs help.

bebe11 profile image

I am on my first year of college and I am struggling! I have not been diagnosed with ADHD because of my fear of being told there is something wrong with me. But I already know I have it. This is because of all the symptoms I have struggled with but also my father and brother have been diagnosed and we all have struggled with the same thing. I have had a grasp on it for some time but I cant handle it anymore especially because I am in college and the work level tripled. I have so much to do and I am struggling to say the least. I can't handle any of it so finally made an appointment to see a specialist. But I also need help just form people who might have had the same problems. I write in a planer and stay organized and try really hard but I can't focus on doing work. I know I am smart but I can't seat and work for no more then 15 min. I have tried everything! But this is driving me crazy. I barely got through high school but college is taking me head on and I am falling. If you guys have any way of helping me it would mean the world.

11 Replies

Just finished with my girls in college, both at different places on the spectrum. Check to see what type of support you can get in your college program. One of my daughters was able to obtain adjustments for several scholastic parameters while taking tests.

The critical step is for you to get a diagnosis.

I believe that each ADD individual presents with common behaviors that are highly unique to each individual. Part of gaining a foothold with your ADHD will be to understand how your behaviors impact your life. Cognitive Therapy is highly recommended, your psychiatrist will work with you on meds if that's the path you choose.

Make it a priority to meet with someone that can get you to the right ADHD therapist. Escalate this to your highest priority; you need to be functioning optimally in your college life.

One aspect of ADHD that I can guarantee, ADHD is not "linear," in it's an organization, it is organic. You will have to educate yourself about your ADHD, yet the more significant challenge will be educating the people around you.

Diagnosis is just the beginning; understanding your ADHD and integrating coping skillsets is right around the proverbial corner.

Best of luck,

Advocate for yourself and be safe.


Hi there--

ADDitude magazine has a website with great resources, free webinars, and support and updated info about treatment without medications:



Check out fastbrain.com and book " Flipping ADHD on its Head" by Jim Poole MD

Anything by Edward Hallowell, MD, author of "Driven to Distraction"


Adult Executive Functioning WB by Fried/Mullin

The Executive Function Guidebook by Strosnider/Sharpe

ADHD Non-Medication Treatments & Skills for Children & Teens by Burdick ( book for clinicians and parents but can see it being helpful for college student self help strategies)

Get into the mindset that your unique brain can be your best asset not your disability!

: )

Thank you sooo much for reaching out. College is tough. Personally, I waited for awhile before going to college. First, because all of the stupid, immature, lug-heads from my high school were going to the same community college. (small rural community...don't ask) Plus, I had NO idea what "I wanted to be when I grow up!"

When I was in HS, I was maaaaybe a 2.0 student. 2.0-2.59 with my undergrad. Entering my masters, I was on probation for one year entering with a 2.59GPA (BTW the lowest they would accept) But in my masters program....holly smokes, I received high scores in all of my classes and tested out of a science class. So, for "us" it is all about the passion = concentration.

The first years of college SUCKssss!! Taking HS again? But once you grab onto a degree you are passionate about...goodness you'll be on fire. (maybe you already have...sorry to assume)

So, when I did go to college (this was waaayyy before I was diagnosed) I always found a group of friends that could hold me accountable and on track. Eventually, I had to take another break before going back for my masters. (not an English major/minor/ANYTHING...again, don't judge!)

Anyway....I again found that having a study buddy and group was the key. Also, if your roped into group projects, go first! Your little mind will help through out the whole process. But you will be less stressed and others in your group will love you for the input.

Exercise, therapy, diagnosis......you got this!

First step: college/ life is hard. Second step: keep your chin up.


I'm so sorry to hear of your struggles. Advocate for yourself. Find a tutor and perhaps an ADHD coach. Please know that you're not alone and you are smart. Think kind thoughts and use your creative mind to help you help yourself.

Hi I’m. In retrospect, I’m lucky ☺️ I was able to get thru college. However there is an aspect of ADHD that can help U with your studies. Hyperfocusing can be used

in a positive way. I used it as a paralegal

For over 5 years in organizing and analyzing and summarizing medical

records. The idea is not letting hyperfocusing go off the wrong tangent

and I.e.playing around on the computer fr

Hours at a time. Good luck 👍

I’m in your corner. Hugs 🤗 M

Don’t think you have to do all your studying sitting down. I went to college in the olden days. But I made flash cards or taped things to cabinet door or wall and wash my dish while try to memorize. Record yourself reading your text book or notes then listen to them. Walk etc while listening to them. Pause and repeat back stuff.

Hi bebe11, I’m twice your age and just found out I have ADHD along with my daughter. Now I know why college and my graduate certificates were such a struggle. But I made it through as an okay student. You’re not alone and you can do this by incorporating some strategies!! First and foremost, take very frequent breaks and move around frequently. You said you can focus for 15 minutes at a time. That makes sense: Russell Barkley, an ADHD expert, suggests that kids study for 10 minutes, then take 3 minute breaks. Study groups helped me in my hardest classes-with structure and accountability and to teach each other.

If you get a diagnosis, you can talk to your college’s disability services and find out what accommodations they may give you such as longer times and breaks for tests, allowing you to record lectures, etc. Make sure your course load is balanced with only 1-2 difficult classes if possible and without too many credit hours (18 is likely too much, 15 may be ok with the right balance, or maybe you need 12, at least for a few semesters until you figure out your rhythm, and at the end when courses are usually harder).

Be sure to utilize your college’s writing center and tutoring center! I so regret not doing this. You probably won’t be able to get extensions on assignments, but you could get the help of tutors with writing essays and to break down big assignments into much smaller pieces with shorter deadlines. Russell Barkley says that breaking down big assignments/projects into smaller pieces is critical for ADHDers.

Tutors can help you with organizing and keeping track of your assignments, but also I hear that ADHD coaches can be a huge help with that and all of the executive functions (planning, prioritizing, time management, emotional regulation, initiating tasks). Find an ADHD coach! Here’s a group that specializes in coaches for HS and college students: edgefoundation.org/

You can also look here: adhdcoaches.org/

Last but not least, reduce your sense of overwhelm by seeing a counselor, regular aerobic exercise, and practicing mindfulness or meditation. In fact, studies show that ADHDers are more able to focus right after aerobic exercise. So you could walk around, do burpees, jumping jacks, mountain climbers, squats, etc for even just two minutes during study breaks. I love the idea someone else said of moving around the room or walking while studying too.

Please get diagnosed! It is a chemical imbalance in the brain- There is nothing wrong- just different!. And once you get a diagnosis there are meds , groups , therapist and you are entitled to support at college under the Americans with Disability Act. I have ADHD and wish I had been diagnosed in college or grad school !

College is always a challenge. If you need some help, ask for some help. Use educational resources like writinguniverse.com/free-es... , Wikipedia etc. Ask your friends ti help. Find the communities you can meet guys who overcame the same thing

Deficient Emotional Self-Regulation: The Overlooked ADHD Symptom That Impacts Everything is a webinar on youtube by ADDitude magazine. You should also use what an earlier person here said about ADDitude mags. As Mrs. Klco said, School sucks. Especially at the beginning.

I was lucky when I was in college that I was very very interested in the program. I did computer science. And I love computers and programming. However, I had to take a lower course load. I didn't realize why I struggled until my 40s when I got diagnosed. I really wish I could go back now with the knowledge I have and the medicines.

Cognitive behavioral therapy has helped me a ton. Getting a diagnosis is empowering to me because it gives me a direction to address the struggles.

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