Tips and Tricks to manage ADD and ADHD in College

For any student, college life is stressful and can often feel overwhelming. For those of us with Attention Deficit Disorder, maintaining academics can prove to be especially challenging. ADD can present itself in many ways, whether it be through fidgeting, the inability to focus or impulsivity. Personally, I was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder in my Sophomore year of high school. This diagnosis not only validated my academic struggles but it also gave me a sense of self understanding. Though adjusting to college was initially difficult, I have learned to cope and better recognize my ADD. The following are the tips and tricks I use to manage my ADD on a college level. 

Apply for accommodations

If you were diagnosed by a physician it’s important to apply for accommodations. Though this may be a lengthy process, applying for accomodations can be beneficial. Some of the most common accommodations include recordings of class lectures, an assigned notetaker, extended time on assignments and private rooms for exams. If you're like me and were exposed to smaller classrooms in high school, large college lecture halls can be incredibly distracting. Though I opted out of accommodations my freshman year, I instantly realized how essential they are in the adjustment of high school to college. Become an advocate for yourself by reaching out to your dean to establish a plan. 

Maintain a routine 

Personally, I found that maintaining a routine allows me to better balance both my academics and extracurriculars. Structure can be especially important for students with ADD. Establishing a set bedtime and morning routine can help with time management and set you on track for the rest of the day.

Keep an agenda 

While it may seem tedious, keeping an agenda is incredibly helpful. ADD often hinders our ability to organize important dates and deadlines. By writing down all of the deadlines when you first receive your syllabus you'll be less likely to miss an assignment. Though it may have been easy to manage without an agenda in high school, college life is a bit more hectic. Additionally, living away from home means that you no longer have your parents around to guide you. I personally prefer to use an agenda with a weekly and monthly layout. This allows me to look at my life in advance and plan accordingly.

Avoid procrastinating

Procrastination is a major problem for people with ADD. We are often scared or intimidated by large tasks and cope by putting it off. The best way to face this problem is to take it step by step. In completing homework assignments, try to read through the assignment as it’s assigned. If it’s an essay, start by just writing an outline or an introduction paragraph. Once we face the task at hand the assignments will start to feel much less intimidating. 

Exercise

I've found that exercising daily not only makes me feel great but also clears my mind. Many students with ADD experience levels of hyperactivity which may make paying attention in class difficult. Hitting the gym first thing in the morning can put you in the right headspace and motivate you to stay productive for the rest of the day. If going to the gym isn't the thing for you an intramural or club sport can also be a great way to stay active and get your body moving.