The first semester in college is often the hardest for any student but even more so for the ADHD student. After four months of adjusting, the strain of a new environment, learning style, schedule, and budget, among other changes, begin to accumulate.
While the stress often shows in students’ grades, it is important they keep in mind that a rocky start is often natural. With the proper changes and support, an ADHD student can overcome these hurdles. All hope is not lost. ADHD students must understand they have the power to make changes in their lives. Their semester can run its course smoothly if they take the initiative and make some adjustments. Consider the following.
Start off Fresh
The last thing that an ADHD student wants is for their first-semester grades to haunt them. Before the new semester starts, students should clean out their desks. Removing those stacks of papers can help make room for the new course load and, most importantly, remove unnecessary clutter.
Get Course Information Early
A week or two before classes start, students should look through the syllabus. It helps to give them a sense of what they’re diving into. The purpose is for them to mentally prepare for the expectations of their new professors. Perhaps they might feel inclined to start on some reading early or plan for the first two weeks of classes.
Contacting those professors could also help students prepare. They should take this time to ask professors questions about the course load, the focus of the class, opportunities for office hours, and other topics. ADHD students often struggle with communication. Starting conversations early can help.
Plan and Schedule
As the new semester approaches, it is important for students with ADHD to set plans for studying and exams. Mark exam days and paper deadlines on the calendar. That way, he/she will have a better idea of when the workload accumulates and how long in advance they should prepare for certain assignments.
By making these plans, students are precluding themselves from procrastinating with projects as students will do. While some students ignore the assignment until less than a week before the due date and long after they first hear about it in class, planning and working ahead helps students avoid making the mistake of getting behind now and paying for it later when they can’t catch up.
Of course, nothing works better than good, old-fashioned planning. That’s why right before classes start, students should set up a study schedule for the week. Even if there’s little homework to start with, it helps students get back into the habit and gives them a chance to prepare for the following week. Taking one day to plan for the week can help students with ADHD keep themselves motivated to complete their assignments. It’s what stops an hour-long break after class from becoming a night behind on homework, which could easily turn into several nights behind on studying and a growing list of things do all at the same time. Planning helps students maintain control of their academic lives.
Success for the ADHD Student
By using these tips, students can begin the spring semester feeling ready for redemption. The fall is long gone and now students have a chance to start over. With a new outlook on school, they will be prepared to make that uphill climb to academic and personal success.