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    #249291 - 10/25/21 11:44 PM Whiny ramble of a 2e college student!!
    MuddlePuddle Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 04/15/18
    Posts: 8
    I'm a 2e college student with quite intense ADHD, executive function challenges, 99.9th percentile verbal scores, a bunch of average scores, and then a few really low ones (math, working memory, etc.). I hope you don't mind if I ramble and intermittently ask questions. Particularly, I'm curious if anyone relates/has a kid who relates/if you have ideas for strategies or mindsets that could help me. Thanks so much!

    Okay! So according to the aptitude tests I took in high school, my reading comprehension is somewhere between 158 and 170...they weren't sure because of the test ceiling. BUT here's the catch! I have such challenges with reading for school. It takes me aaaaages to read. Sometimes I'll read a sentence over and over and over again, but can't process any content. My best strategy so far is this: team up with a tutor at my school's writing centre and read the text aloud, then stop to explain it to the tutor. I'm grateful to have this strategy and the nice people who are willing to help me. But god is it slow! Like I'm 100 pages behind in my textbook, but today I spent 1 hour reading this way and got through 4 and a half pages. And this is my fastest, most effective strategy so far! 🤦‍♀️ Does anyone have any other reading suggestions/strategies which are 2e/ADHD specific? Or words of sympathy! I've tried reading aloud by myself, filming myself at work, using Speechify/NaturalReaders/setting timers/alternating laps up a climbing wall and then laps of reading. They all take forever.

    I'm getting frustrated that my school work is taking so long to complete. I've recently been avoiding tasks because of how long they will take, so I end up falling far behind. But even when I do my work I end up falling behind too. So I guess I'm losing a bit of motivation at this point in the semester. I counted all of my overdue assignments yesterday, and I have TWENTY-EIGHT of them. Thankfully my professors have been really nice and flexible this semester, but I still feel overwhelmed by the fact that I'm so behind. I don't really know how I can force myself to get stuff done at this point in the semester when there is much more interesting stuff I can do, and I know that I can get extensions because of my accommodations anyway (this situation occurs almost every semester. Ultimately the adrenaline drives me to the finish line in the final week of the term. In fact, last year I managed to bring my grades up from Ds to straight As in the final week of school). But I don't want to live that way anymore. It's too stressful and I want to get my work done in the way that other people seem to be able to. I want to fix my work habits so that I can be more successful, have time to do more of what I love WITHOUT guilt, and I want to know that I could potentially survive and enjoy a more rigorous institution after undergrad.

    When I take my medication it sometimes helps, but other times the medication makes me hyperfocus but on the wrong thing (normally writing and recording music). Does this happen to anyone else? Any ideas or solutions?

    Is anyone else constantly frustrated by the gap between current performance and the knowledge of the much higher level you could be performing at?

    Anyway, I suppose my ultimate, broad question is "how can I change my habits/learning/working processes so that I actually reach this level?

    I'm not always like this, but at this particular hour I'm grumpy that my giftedness exceptionality is so weighed down by the LD exceptionality. Do you or your kids ever feel this way? Also, If I'm totally honest, I'm a little frustrated by the (often) non-gifted students at my school who are able to get more work done than me. And I'm also a little frustrated by my kind, amazing gifted friends who I met at the nearby Ivy League university. I hang out with them quite a bit, and I see how easy it is for them to sit down and just BE GIFTED. Only gifted! Imagine....without any other more challenging exceptionalities. I sort of feel like I belong with them. We're on the same intellectual/curiosity wavelength - a beautiful thing that is so unusual to find. And yet I feel like (because of my learning quirks) I am still an outlier - even among these kids who are outliers themselves. I don't know what to do about that.

    Except try to become more like them, I suppose? I'd love if I could get work done like them. But how?

    I mean, the brain is malleable. We're powerful beings. So how can I make it so that I can fit into an educational institution like them? Aren't there people who have ADHD who have figured out how to perform at extremely high levels where people would never guess that they have ADHD? How did they develop habits that overcome the ADHD? And how can I do the same? I'm willing to put in the work.

    I want to be able to do the following:

    1. Not fall behind in school due to my lack of discipline + attention span when I sit down to complete work.
    2. Not be so avoidant of boring work that needs to get done at some point anyway.
    3. Read more efficiently.
    4. I wish I could get work done in anticipation of the deadlines so that I never have to feel stressed about catching up like this.
    5. Go to bed between 10-11pm instead of 2am or 3am. I want to wake up early and have more time to work and exercise during the day, and then have the luxury of relaxing in the evening. But I enjoy being awake and find it hard to transition into bedtime mode.

    Speaking of's 2:42am now...and I should go to sleep!!

    Sorry for the ramble, I hope some wise sages can help me solve all my problems in this universe. 😛


    P.S: besides all this, I'm doing pretty great. I'm still a really happy person. I'm healthy and strong, I have an awesome family, lovely friends, and if you could see the work I'm doing, you would probably think I'm on a pretty good track. I'm making note of this in case some of you readers are the concerned parents of little 2e kids - concerned parents who want a sense of how their kid might do in college someday. Yep, these things I've outlined above are confusing challenges, so I wanted to rant for once. But just know, my life has gotten better and better, and I like to think that the same will be true for your kids.

    #249294 - 10/27/21 03:54 AM Re: Whiny ramble of a 2e college student!! [Re: MuddlePuddle]
    spaghetti Offline

    Registered: 05/05/15
    Posts: 463
    2E is tough. Try not to make assumptions about how others are able to achieve at a high level. That's something you don't know and it wastes energy pining for something you don't know. Instead, focus on you and what you can do to improve your situation. Would it help or hurt to take fewer credits--are you trying to do more than is reasonable and sort of trying to pretend you should be like everyone else that does not have a disability?
    Do you have some assumptions that aren't working for you? For example, do you think that you need to have certain experiences in college like attending sports games, being in clubs, going to school sponsored events, etc? Take a look at what you might be assuming needs to be done and get it out of the way.
    Do you have accommodations? If so, can you go to your disabilities coordinator and ask what supports are in place to help you learn to target your studying and get your work done more efficiently.

    Join a study group. Join a study group. Join a study group. If it's a good one, they will keep you accountable and speed up your work.

    And really if it's too much volume for you, cut down your workload by putting off a class. Re-take it in the summer-- save all you've done to get a head start in the more intense summer classes. Or if you can afford it, extend your graduation and keep your summers for internships, work, etc.

    You can do this. 2E can be hard in school and hopefully you are at a 2E friendly school. That's one of the major things we looked for in choosing a college.

    #249295 - 10/27/21 06:10 AM Re: Whiny ramble of a 2e college student!! [Re: MuddlePuddle]
    aeh Offline

    Registered: 04/26/14
    Posts: 3907
    I would very much echo everything spaghetti said.

    The main thought I would offer is to let go of the idea that you need to "fit in" to any arbitrary institution. You have struggles--don't we all? But you have (as you note!) many strengths and joys as well. And you are benefiting from one of the most valuable aspects of attending an elite institution--like-minded friends (and without paying the Ivy price tag!).

    Practical suggestions: I posted some to a similar question on taking AP tests that you asked when you were in high school, which I'll re-word slightly here:
    1. create mini-races or targets for yourself, to take advantage of that fact that you can "sprint". So instead of looking at the AP exam assignment as multiple hours of sustained attention, conceptualize it as a series of one-page mini-tests. So, for example, part I of the AP Physics exam consists of 50 multiple choice items in 80 minutes. Instead of thinking of it as 80 minutes of nonstop work, think of it as 4 20-minute intervals. In each 20-minute interval, you might target completion of 12 x number of items. Spend 18 minutes of focused time, trying to get as close to 12 items complete as possible, and then give your brain a 2 minute break. Or use 8 10-minute intervals: 9 minutes of focus, followed by 1 minute of break, working on 5-6 items at a time. I'd suggest trying this on a few practice tests, and seeing how it works for you, once you get used to the rhythm of it. You won't be able to use an audible timer in the real test session, of course, but you can use a watch, and just mark the fifth item with the target time. Use the break minute to stretch quietly in your seat, practice breathing, shake out your hands, do progressive relaxation through your body (to release tension), or whatever nondisruptive activity you can do in your seat that helps you refresh yourself. And then dive back in for another focused period.

    2. STUDY GROUP: I know spaghetti has already said this (a few times!), but I cannot emphasize enough how valuable this can be to your type of learner. You don't even have to read all of the chapters out loud yourself. I suspect that you will get quite a bit out of the discussion, with specific gaps in your knowledge or understanding that might emerge in conversation acting as directions, sending you back to the text for more focused close reading.

    3. One thing at a time: it's easy to get overwhelmed by the amount of work you need to complete before semester's end. So don't try to tackle it all at once. Chunk or group them into smaller, more manageable lists, so you can (physically) check them off, with that nice feeling that comes when you complete a list (a short list, please).

    4. Create artificial deadlines: e.g., make an appointment with someone to do something fun, but only on the condition that you have completed x,y, or z task by then, so you'll have to call them up and cancel if you're not done. Sometimes, not wanting to disappoint someone else can be a productive motivator.

    5. Set up your own behavioral mod/positive reinforcement schedule/gamification of necessary tasks: you can reward yourself with something small but fun for every x number of minutes on task, or for every task (or section of a task) completed. Or earn points towards treating yourself with something medium sized at the end of the week, or bigger at the end of the semester.

    Keep in mind that the purpose of these suggestions is not only to help get you through any given semester, but also to help you identify and practice to fluency executive function strategies that work for you.

    If you have the resources for it, you can also consider hiring an executive function coach. There are several in your area who specifically work with college students. BeyondBookSmart is one of the bigger ones, but there are lots of smaller providers too. You may also be able to find some referral suggestions at your university's learning center.

    And fwiw, I never practiced my instrument so much as when I was supposedly studying for graduate school exams (not in music)! I've also made a conscious decision to place myself in a profession with constant deadlines of a magnitude that works for my particular level of procrastination and sustained attention. I appreciate your encouragement to parents of younger 2e learners--my encouragement to you is that there are those of us even further along on the journey who have learned how to manage ourselves and our environments more effectively. You will too, but it will take time, and it won't look exactly like anyone else's way of doing it.
    ...pronounced like the long vowel and first letter of the alphabet...

    #249297 - 10/28/21 09:19 AM Re: Whiny ramble of a 2e college student!! [Re: MuddlePuddle]
    sunnyday Offline

    Registered: 11/08/14
    Posts: 79
    I love your self-awareness, and your willingness to seek out accommodations and supports! I only wish I had been able to access this kind of information about myself in college.

    But I absolutely relate to the inability to meet deadlines, the challenges of reading uninteresting material, the stress/anxiety of falling behind, and the allure of putting off bedtime! My hyperfocus was to do with raising and breeding animals. Oh, the hours I spent reading research articles on mouse coat color genetics, when I should have been working on a physics project, LOL.

    I only reached self-awareness about the nature of these issues in my 30s, and subsequently spent that decade helping myself to develop the supports and strategies I needed to overcome them. I can share some things that have helped.

    Like...learning to listen to my body. Lately I've been learning about natural movement and intuitive eating. This knowledge about alignment and muscles and hunger and nutrition helps me to cue in to my body's other signs, like how it feels when I exercise and get to sleep on time and drink less alcohol. That feedback is more powerful than any self-shaming or external accountability about "you really should be doing..."

    Learning to rely on written reminders instead of remembering tasks and deadlines. I have kept a Bullet Journal ( for nearly 8 years. It has truly changed my life. It's been a long and evolving process, and it still isn't perfect (if I want to procrastinate a task, by gosh I will!) but it gives me just enough of an artificial "deadline" boost to motivate getting things done, without being meaningless and numbing like a long to-do list or a pre-printed planner. It also gives me a reason to look at my digital calendar and not forget appointments! My daily task list lets me focus on a small number of achievable next actions, and still trust that all the bigger projects and things to be done another day are captured securely in other parts of the system. Again, the feeling of success and positive feedback when I follow through and live up to expectations around a project or deadline, is MUCH more powerful motivation than is self-shaming or external accountability, at least for me.

    How to Read a Book by Mortimer Adler. ( Okay, I didn't read the whole thing -- it's a thick book! But the core chapters helped me to bridge the gap from being a "good reader" (good verbal scores, a high reading level from a young age, able to move fast through high-interest material and draw connections) to having the reading SKILLS to tackle difficult works. Concepts like taking advantage of the clues the book gives you in the table of contents; doing an "x-ray" speed read without pausing to worry about comprehension; then doing a closer read and taking notes -- these things have helped me to tackle much dryer works than I've ever been able to read before, and unpacking the knowledge within is so satisfying!

    Good luck! Keep loving yourself and giving yourself grace, and being aware of all the good in your life. You're on a great track! Enjoy the adventure that is adulthood. wink

    #249322 - 11/02/21 05:11 PM Re: Whiny ramble of a 2e college student!! [Re: MuddlePuddle]
    MuddlePuddle Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 04/15/18
    Posts: 8
    Thanks so much for your kind responses! I so appreciate it. Hopefully, I'll have time to respond more thoroughly - but for now, thank you!


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