College success with ADHD might sound like a rigged game. Distractions abound in any college environment. For a young adult, free from their parents for possibly the first time, the distractions get the better of too many college freshmen.
How can you be sure you’re not one of them? How can you find college success with ADHD?
Let’s start by looking at the greatest of all college activities: the team sport. From intramural sports to pick up volleyball games to Saturday morning football games, team sports dominate the college life.
Like college, success in team sports takes a lot of planning and preparation. Let’s look deeper at the different elements of that preparation and how they relate to college success with ADHD.
#1 Pick the Right Sport
Not everyone can shoot a basketball. Not everyone can throw a football, and that’s ok. There exists a variety of options for team sports because not everyone is built the same or has the same capabilities.
In regards to college success with ADHD, what we are saying is that not all colleges and universities are the same for everyone. When considering options after high school recognize there are options and plenty of them.
You can go to a large state university or a small local private school. Consider a technical or trade school or community college. Maybe going directly into college just isn’t the right option for you right now. Consider your tendencies and support structure. Weigh the pros and cons and pick the right path to take.
Before going off to school just because all your friends are doing it, be sure you know yourself, know your learning style, and have researched the school. Really do the research to find a college that meets your individual needs.
#2 Form Your Team
After picking the right school, the next step to finding college success with ADHD is building the right support. To play a team sport, you need to first have a team.
College success with ADHD starts with recognizing that life is a team sport. To many high school students, college means freedom and independence. What it shouldn’t mean, though, is cutting all ties and accountability.
We all depend on someone. In a new environment such as college, having someone to turn to and depend on is even more important. Build a network of friends and family that you can talk to and confide in. College can be difficult. Make sure you have a team you can depend on.
#3 Make a Game Plan
While having a team is important, it’s not everything. You could have the best players, but if all you do is show up on Saturday morning, let’s face it, no matter your competition, you’re probably going to lose. Why? Because you didn’t have an organizational game plan.
A great management tool for ADHD symptoms is building a routine that adds structure to your life. Being a new environment, college won’t come prepackaged with its own routine. No one tells you when to wake up, when to eat, or when to go to class.
This added freedom provides an opportunity to learn and grow. Unfortunately, it also allows for distractions which can disrupt your future college success. To avoid this, make sure you go in with a game plan to develop a new routine.
Know how the ADHD brain works. Be sure to build routine into your daily, weekly, and monthly cycles. Use a calendar and organizer. Build and follow to-do lists.
All these items should be a part of your game plan. Going in with a well-thought out game plan will greatly increase your chances for finding college success with ADHD.
#4 Show up to Play
Plans only serve one purpose: to be put into action. If you never use the plan, never play the game, the plan failed.
Don’t leave your game plan, calendar, and to do list on the shelf to gather dust. Put your accountability team into action by having them check in on how well you are doing building a routine. Once you face adversity, don’t give up, push back. Most of all, don’t doubt yourself. College can be difficult, but you planned ahead to succeed and can follow it through.
#5 Stay Inbounds
How does that old saying go? “Cheaters never win, and winners never cheat.” Taking the easy way out or seeking a quick fix might feel like the right solution in the moment, but you are ultimately just setting yourself up for failure later down the road.
More than anything, you need to avoid the temptation of using stimulants, particularly when they are not your prescription. The use of non-prescribed stimulants such as Adderall is sadly widespread in college. Studies show that up to 1 in 6 college students misuse ADHD drugs.
Instead of abusing prescription medication, try a natural remedy first, and if only partly successful, then seek a prescription from a psychiatrist. Don’t go out of bounds, though, and use any medicine that wasn’t prescribed for you.
Find College Success with ADHD
College students will find managing ADHD symptoms difficult. The wins will come, though, with relying on your team and following your game plan. Don’t let the distractions of college steal your success. You can succeed just like in your favorite team sport with the right preparation.