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  • Lynn Miner-Rosen

Happy Holidays! – Your Holiday Break is Over: Back to College for Students with ADHD

It’s January 1- Happy New Year! I don’t mean to be a killjoy, but the semester will be starting soon and it will be back to studying, reading, projects, and tests. You must get focused, and if you have challenges because of ADHD or Executive Functioning Deficits, it can make this time even more stressful and anxious.


As an ADHD Coach, I am happy to share some tips to get you back into the swing of things so you hit the ground running when school starts. You can do it!


1. Take a deep breath! You can do this!


2. Write down a list of things you need to pack and bring back to school.

Either write it on paper or use the notes app on your phone. Write down everything that pops into your mind NOW that you might need in school. Writing things down will help you stay organized and may help relieve the anxiety that comes with ADHD. Before you go back, purchase the school supplies that you might need, like paper, pens, pencils, binders, printer ink, etc. These are usually easier to find and less expensive near home. Do you need clothing for interviews, or a new LinkedIn photo for an internship? Now is the time to think of the things that you will need when you get back to school.


3. Print out the syllabus’ for each new class, yes PRINT!

Highlight all dates of assignments and projects then enter them in your planner NOW! Don’t wait.


4. Check if the professor requires special books, supplies or details before school starts.

Think about how much reading and study time each course will need. Envision your week and what it will be like when school starts. If you receive any type of accommodations at school check with the office and follow up to make sure that they have communicated with your professors.

Check now to make sure that your computer and printer are working well. Make sure you have everything you need for a successful school year BEFORE school starts! Ink, paper, cords, headphones, and updated apps. It is important that everything is running smoothly and that you don’t have any unneeded anxiety before school starts.


5. Buy water, snacks, gum and “fidgets”.

Stay healthy and hydrated during school. Buy a case of water and but it under your bed so that you always have a supply nearby. Keeping hydrated will help with focusing, studying and sleep. If you like to use “fidgets”, then get the type you like now (squishy balls, blanket, wristlets) – before school starts. Have healthy snacks nearby when you get hungry while studying. A healthy body is a major help against ADHD.


6. Renew your prescriptions!

If you are taking medications for ADHD, make sure you have the proper prescription and supply, in advance of leaving for school.


7. Choose a strong “wake-up” option!

Do you have a good alarm clock that is NOT your phone? Many of my ADHD college clients struggle with getting enough sleep and waking up in the morning to go to class. There are many products that you can buy that will help. I prefer a very loud alarm clock that you have to get out of bed to turn off. It is too easy to click snooze on your phone. Do you use a wake-up service, special alarm clock or creative device? Please comment below on what has worked best for you!


8. Clean your room!

Yup, I said it! Lol. You will be so much more productive at school if you clean and organize your college space the way YOU need it to be. Put aside an hour or two while listening to your favorite music on a headset to get this done. Don’t put it off, even if it is at the bottom of your “To Do” list. A good strategy for dealing with #ADHD and procrastination is to do the things you least like doing FIRST!


9. Update your Planner.

Write everything in your planner. Avoid using your phone for this step. Use a paper planner and write everything down in pen or pencil! (I prefer pencil). Write down your classes, the times they start and end, the name of your professor, sport activities, committees, groups, etc. Add any social events, home events, birthdays, holidays and doctor appointments. Think about and note the time that you will be using for studying and schoolwork. Plan time for meals and exercise! Time management is a key part of managing ADHD and using a planner can help.


10. Visit the Career Office about a summer internship. It is not too late to find out about upcoming summer internships. Many internships are not posted or advertised and only available to those students that are pro-active and ASK about what opportunities are out there.


Here are two great books that I recommend:

ADHD and the College Student: The Everything Guide to Your Most Urgent Questions by Dr. Patricia O. Quinn, MD


Making the Grade with ADD: A Student’s Guide to Succeeding in College with Attention Deficit Disorder by Dr. Stephanie Sarkis

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