Returning to College after 15 year hi... - CHADD's Adult ADH...

CHADD's Adult ADHD Support

14,588 members3,794 posts

Returning to College after 15 year hiatus.

Khyson2019 profile image

After learning more about ADHD, and getting inspiration from YouTube, Ted talk and blogging, I have decided to pursue my dream of getting my degree.

When I worked in my career I earned much more than most people with a degree. Yes I had to fully commit myself to my career, coming in early, staying late, working weekends and neglecting my family, health and happiness but the thrill of solving problems, winning awards and the monthly bonuses made me feel it was all worth the sacrifice. Until the eventual burn out. Now I am home focusing on helping my children with online learning and making our health a priority. I thought it would be a good idea to take some online classes.

I never thought I could truly earn my degree because of my learning disability. I am starting out slow, only taking one class for now. I am wondering if anyone has suggestions on reading comprehension, and note taking suggestions for someone with a learning disability.

Also I would love to hear success stories of people who have earned their degree in spite of their learning disabilities.

Thank you all!

10 Replies

I’m going into the fifth year of my two-year degree. It’s been a rollercoaster, but I plan on going back full time and taking it all the way to grad school.

I’ve found audiobooks to be totally game changing. I always retain more by listening than I do reading, unless I’m just super into the book. I like to do chores while listening since moving around can help focus, plus it’s twice as productive!

My strategy for textbooks is to read chapters back to front, or at least skim backwards before reading. Then I can see where things are going and start thinking about them in advance, otherwise nothing will stick.

As for notes, I don’t have much to add. Definitely see what disability support services and accommodations your school offers though.

Just my two cents. Good luck, we’re here for you!

Khyson2019 profile image
Khyson2019 in reply to inbetween

Thank you so much inbetween!

I truly appreciate your support. I have never tried reading material back to front, I am excited to see how it will help my reading attention.

Keep going, am inspired by all the people who have ADHD but have not allowed it to stop them from their degree.

Thank you again!!


It took me 7 years to get my Associates Degree. I was working full time, 40+hours. Some people call it persistence. I call it Spite. As in, I don't care what anybody says or throws at me. I'm getting a piece of paper (my Degree) out of this place and nobody's going to stop me. FYI, my attitude of Spite, doesn't work every time nor for every situation. It can back fire on me.

I completely understand when you say spite! I was told I was too young to be a mother and I would fail, my sons get all A's in school they are respectful, I over do it on vacations and birthdays so they know they are special and loved. I was told I was too young to get married, while it wasn't always easy, out of spite I refuse to let my emotions make me jump to irrational decisions. I was told I wasn't good as others, I threw myself into working a steady career out earning all my cohorts. This was all before I found out I had ADHD. With the new diagnosis my confidence has changed but if I think of all the people who said I can't do something, spite/ego purples me into action.

If you care to hear how my spite/ego has gotten me into some questionable situations. Lol buying a dog on impulse, driving to the snow within snow chains, jumping out of a tree to prove I'm still young(36 year old), you guessed itI fell so hard I thought I broke my foot . This was all just this year. 😆🤣

I'm the type of person who is going 100 mph in the wrong direction. Lol

Just a little humor 😜

1) I'm not the only one! Thank you for the reply!

2) You are still young at Heart!

3) Was/is our 'Spite' one of our best Survival techniques? Unfortunately, as I've gotten older,,,,(God, I hate to say that!!), I can't say I've 'Mellowed' but, I'm not as Spiteful as I used to be. But I sure miss that part of me. He was A LOT of fun!! (And somebody you didn't want to PO).

Good things for you.

I'm in the mix of this at the moment, very similar situation other than not being diagnosed until after 3 semesters.


1. really good earplugs and noise canceling headphones... used in conjunction.

2. set you study space to face a wall... alone in room if possible.

3. have everything you need on your desk so you you can get into the zone with no interruptions.

4. make sure you have daylight or soft daylight lightbulbs, no cool tone. well lit but nothing direct.

5. physical books, digital resources are cheaper but the tactile experience is like no other.

6. use colors coded sticky tabs to track, themes, overviews, things to circle back to

7. find the times that you feel productive and dive in.

8. I love my ipad, but I still think handwritten notes is better in many cases. I take notes on graph paper in landscape format as it reduces how many times i need to change lines mid thought.

9. GET accommodations! if only to make sure that these programs are funded and expanded, make sure to get what you need.

10. communicate with your professors and self advocate, being shy helps nobody. I am always trying to explain challenges and hurdles I'm having.

You'll find specifics based on what you are studying, I try to group complimentary courses together to aid in a greater connectivity and understanding.

I try to really sit with the material and explore how my brain wants to discover it rather than forcing it down a path. Make school about a quest for knowledge rather, keeps it interesting and sacred in a way.

I respect everyone has their own experience, but I'd recommend not trying to multitask.

Thank you Radical_change, I really found facing the wall to be a practical recommendation that will benefit both my son and I. I appreciate your strategies for assisting my ADHD while in college. Thank you for advocating for all of us, I will be sure to speak up as well. 😀

Haha, yes, the spite. The driving force behind many of my achievements as well. Its nice to hear how you tackle your degrees and lifes in general or plan to do so now. Learning more about adhd every day, i start to have such an appreciation for our achievements.

I received my ADD diagnosis and treatment just before I started my nursing degree - at age 50. I was the oldest in all my classes.A good therapist along with ADHD medication is proven to be the best treatment for ADD/ADHD and show the best results. Dr Daniel Amen has written several great books regarding ADD. He and two of his children have ADHD. I find Dr. Amen to be one of the most knowledgeable regarding ADHD treatment.

ADHD is a valid medical diagnosis. Schools and colleges must make accomodations-- but you have to ask plus make sure ADHD is noted on your school record. A college should be able to tell you what accommodations they offer. Do not hesitate to use any or all accommodations. There is nothing bad or wrong with an ADD brain, it just works/processes differently. You will learn what works for you. Diet affects ADD. Eating high protein/low carb meals (especially breakfast) has shown higher test scores achieved for children and adults.

Khyson2019 profile image
Khyson2019 in reply to

Thank you Hidden, congratulations on the nursing program, I can't even imagine having to remember all of the medical terminology. I truly appreciate you sharing, it's been incredibly inspiring to know that others who are like me have found a way to succeed! Thank you 😊

You may also like...