By - cyronius
I was gifted and had undiagnosed ADHD. I topped my school without effort and then got academically excluded from university. I have four partially completed degrees, and have yet to complete one.
For me, academics was easy until the workload became something I couldn't scratch together during my lunch break.
So I guess it's pretty true for me
This is exactly how I work. Top of my class when things took a half hour to throw together. Two essays due in a week....what essay?
This sounds a lot like me. I managed to get through it in the end, though, but it was a battle and I spent a year extra.
I'm on the wrong side of 40 and I still haven't got through it, so I don't think it will be happening any time soon...
You have very cool vibes
Me too, less than a year left to finish my degree… probably never will.
Oxbridge, master's, PhD. All nearly killed me and took me much longer than they should.
I'm deluding myself into thinking that a PhD is a good idea. It would definitely be very useful in the job I have now, and my restlessness pushes me towards it because I always want to do something else than what I'm doing right now. But am I really willing to go through all that again?
Same. Just about to graduate a year and a half later than first expected. Its been a huge fucking struggle the whole way through, but soon. Sure hope this torture was all worth it
Common story in these parts. Usually just a matter of when you “hit the wall” in terms of not enough structure and difficulty of material. High school has lots of structure and easier materials. I was able to breeze through university until it got to some nasty engineering courses that required more rigor and study which I never really needed prior. Some people that happens earlier, some later, some not at all. I think a lot of people who did fine academically while children and teenagers are more likely to be late diagnoses.
“Hitting the wall” is exactly what happened. With calculus, in college. I got through it, barely. And I didn’t have to stop taking math because it turns out calculus isn’t really required much.
I earned several degrees never going near that shit again. I was generally great at math, so the calculus thing was disappointing.
I did fine in school, but I did not have the discipline that my peers did and I blamed myself for it. I got really good at memorizing stuff the first time, which is a skill, but which is not the same as learning.
I wasn’t diagnosed til my late 30s, but my goodness so much makes sense now.
I had the same wall and I had the same relationship with math. Everything went crumbling down after that (2 yrs ago) but I'm on the process of diagnosis and currently taking meds
Yup, I hit my wall in graduate school. I started hitting some and struggling in college, but I finally completely lost my grip at the end of the first semester of graduate school.
I started with the engineering courses. A double degree actually. That was perhaps not my smartest choice :P
I only got diagnosed in my senior year of college because that’s when I hit my wall. I went from breezing through school up through high school to doing fine in university and then I suddenly struggled with (read: was failing) upper level classes like organic chemistry. However: I still graduated “on time”, then worked for a few years and now I’m in grad school and managing to do pretty well.
For me getting diagnosed and learning to work with my brain has helped me to still succeed academically. I know everyone has a different story, but I did want to share that mine has had a different ending, and that ADHD isn’t necessarily a death sentence to academic achievement.
Same thing happened to me. Failed a class. Retook it the next semester and on meds and got an A.
what are things youre doing to help work with your brain to succeed in grad school?
So there’s a few things that work well for me that I’ve figured out so far. This is a really long answer but here you go:
1) I work best on school work in specific places. My program is entirely online. The best place for me is actually at work. I’m still working full time while in my graduate program. But because my brain is used to focusing at work, it’s easiest to focus on school work at work. I stay late and do school work at my desk. If I’m not at work, I do well in the office at my house. Not the bedroom or living room or kitchen table: but specifically on the left side of the couch in my office. That’s a study space for me.
2) I set deadlines for myself and (until I got Covid) forced myself to keep up with them. I’m behind this semester because I was really sick, but I just caught back up and I’m keeping on track again. I have modules for my classes that open up, and I give myself a week to complete each one, even though technically they only need to be done before the exams. This worked with staying late at work: I’d set myself an hour to do reading or watch lectures a few times a week, and make myself do the work.
3) I function really well with a body double. I live with my fiancé and even if he’s on his phone or playing video games, I study better feeling like I’m being watched and will “get in trouble” if I don’t do my work. Maybe doing work out of guilt isn’t a good thing, but it works for me. The same thing works with working from my office- our CEO works late too, and I don’t want him walking by and thinking I’m just hanging out late at work on my phone. The pressure to look busy helps me actually be busy.
4) I am financially motivated. I didn’t pay for college, I was very lucky that between scholarships and my parents, I got through undergrad debt free. However, I didn’t take it as seriously. Paying for grad school out of pocket though? That puts the pressure on me to do well and adds a layer that makes me focus. That’s the reason I’m in grad school after all- my boss has promised me a raise and promotion when I complete the program.
5) I am a visual person. Each semester, I print out and hang up a schedule of all of my assignments, modules, quizzes, and tests for each class. It’s set up like a chart; each line is a week. And the columns are for each category. I color it in when I complete it. I can easily see what needs to be done, what I have already done, and what I haven’t yet done. It helps me not forget things. I usually forget things easily.
6) I took medicine for the first time. I’m really bummed because as of this week I have to stop taking it. My breakthrough Covid case damaged my heart and Strattera (my medication) was potentially worsening that due to its potential to elongate the QT phase. So we made the decision to stop it for a while to see if it was a factor. If my heart gets better, we can look at trying it again later or if it turns out it wasn’t affecting it at all. I can’t take stimulants because they trigger migraines in me, so right now, I have to go back to being medication-free. That might be really difficult, but I did my first semester without medication so I should be able to do it again.
7) The research element of graduate school comes naturally to me. I am a developmental chemist by trade (previously cosmetics, now food) and did research in my undergrad. I find that managing multiple tasks works really well with my brain.
8) Managing life is harder with working full time and going to school. It is easier with a supportive partner to split the work load, and I do need to acknowledge that. I have all my bills on auto-pay. We have a chore chart on the fridge in the form of a monthly calendar with different tasks each day that helps us manage the work and keep things under control. I make sure my weekends are generally still free for some fun. I try to get outside, exercise some, and eat healthy. I always get a minimum of 7 hours of sleep, usually 8. Our week days are really busy but we try to balance that we free time on weekends. I switched my work schedule to 4 10-hour days and have an extra day off. Realistically I’m in the office 11-12 hours though, with studying, a few times a week. It’s stressful but we agree it’s better to have 3 full days off. We have no children and no pets. That is easier. We also have a pre-marriage counselor who is amazing. Even though we have a really healthy and happy relationship, she helps us navigate stress and helps us understand each other. She’s also helped my partner to learn about and understand my ADHD and how it impacts our relationship.
9) Sometimes I just trick myself into studying. “Read one page then take a break”. “Just download the slides”. “You only have to watch 5 minutes of the lecture”. If I can do that, most of the time I’ll get engrossed in it and keep going.
10) I am studying something I really like and find interesting. That is so much easier for me to focus on and want to learn about. In college I had to take a bunch of classes on things I didn’t care about, or thought were boring. My grad school curriculum is all classes that excited me and are related to my career, so it’s all information I’ll actually get to use. That is a huge difference. I picked the program partially because when I read the class list, I wanted to take them all.
If you have any questions or want me to elaborate on anything, let me know.
thank you so much for this detailed reply, it is so so helpful. these sound like amazing tips that i am going to try and incorporate into my own routine as I am starting a program that is self study while Im working.
I wanted to ask, as I am absolutely a visual learner myself as well, is there anyway you could share a photo or an example of your schedule chart from point 5? I usually need to write everything down to remember things as well but I always end up forgetting scheduling things because I never stick to a planner, I usually like writing in a notebook and it gets buried.
your success is a big motivation for me and gives me hope, thank you again for sharing.
This was me. My final grade in Chemistry in Grade 12 jumped over 10% because I learned a bunch of material in two days, making up for all the assignments I lost grades on for not turning them in. I would learn all the material for unit exams the night before and get As. In university I started to learn there was too much content to successfully do this, and I became overwhelmed.
Yes . I’d always start off great but easily overwhelmed with keeping track snd focusing on task management
This is so me
I am in the process of getting diagnosed (it's likely, not 100%) and I relate to this very, very hard.
Without some form of coping mechanism to spread things out we get fucked in uni. For me tricking myself(cause I suck at remembering real dates anyways) that it’s due sooner than it is OR setting deadlines in my mind for parts knowing that without having that much done by then I’ll get fucked is all I have that helps and even then it can be hit or miss
Once 3rd of my high school class with no effort whatsoever - I'd slap together a presentation in the library over lunch or do my math homework in my car in the school parking lot and arrive late to class by 20 mins
Ya can't exactly.. do it that way in the real world. Especially in collegiate physics. I don't care how smart you are - you must assimilate much more complex learned information and have your final products polished.
This is my story, except that I only started my first degree. I was only diagnosed at 30, so nine years after I finally just entered the workforce and called it quits at university.
Once the structure of secondary school and living at home were gone, I was dead in the water.
I was going to make another point but I started reformatting an earlier sentence and forgot what it was, thus concludes this comment.
Same for me. My psichatry told me I cant have ADHD because I finished school lol
Same, high school was so easy. College kicked my ass and was too much to manage. Dropped out twice.
so true. I remember being able to do most of my school work in between classes, or sneakily finishing them in the middle of classes and getting good grades. But now that the workload has exceeded that limit(even if the actual content isn't hard) it's a struggle to get through it.
Haha, are you me?
Lol same. Never failed an exam but it took me 2 years to hand in my final report cus I couldn’t force myself to do the last touch ups….
Two unfinished MAs, but a double major B.A I'm still amazed I actually completed. Made my whole social life about school to accomplish that, though. Accidental scaffolding.
Hello doppelganger, glad to know I'm not the only one who breezed through school as a kid, only to hit a wall once I went off to college. Your comment,
'academics was easy until workload became something I couldn't scratch together during my lunch break' could just as easily describe me.
As someone recently diagnosed as an adult (just earlier this year in my thirties), now that I know the symptoms... my goodness, textbook ADHD as a child. Obviously nobody noticed though because I still got excellent grades and (generally) wasn't disruptive in class. But, oh boy, was I suffering in silence that entire time.
I'm tired of reading comments from people who are told they can't have ADHD because academically they weren't a complete f***-up their lives. Doing well in school/not doing well is not necessarily an indicator whether someone is still struggling or not... someone can struggle mightily (and not even know it) and still figure out ways to do okay in school. I'm glad that's a response I never got from anyone while I was in the process of getting diagnosed.
Nope. Made straight As and I have a master's degree. However it took everything I had to focus and I was lucky in a lot of ways. I'm very competitive so I could hyper focus on school because I made it a chance competition-me against my classmates.
My doctor has ADHD herself and she told some people with high intelligence are very clever about finding workarounds until it just overwhelms you.
Plus everyone with ADHD experience a different level of disruption and chaos. I can control it until I can't-generally when I have structure I'm fine. When that structure is removed and I'm left to manage my own time I struggle.
Could you elaborate on the 2nd paragraph (about finding workarounds)?
This is something I do constantly but have a hard time articulating it or putting my finger on the issue. I just know I take lots of shortcuts in life (possibly to make up for my own inefficiency) and the habit doesn't always serve me
Before I was diagnosed and I need to study something, I would make myself believe that I'm very interested in the subject. Tricking my mind to get into hyperfocus. Instead of thinking omggg this is so boring I can't do it, I would say I wanna know, this is very interesting. Lol.
My doc says the same thing. High intelligence people finds ways yo use adhd as their strength. I mean I sucked at house chores still.... I was very messy. But I was always good at academics. Always.
Now I'm on medication. It has been only a couple of weeks. I'll start studying soon. I have never done it with med so let's see how it will work. Lol 😆
Edit: I wanted to add. For example I need to do something and to get myself to start is very hard. For a second I manage shut my brain up and command my legs to get up and start without telling myself why I need to get up. I just stand up and make myself walk not telling myself we are about to do laundry lol. This is a lot easier for me because damn I can just think about all kinds of other things to entertain myself. Lol
Music helps. I always used timers and calenders. I have an alarm that simulates sun rise when it is time to wake up. I have wallet phone and keys policy. I keep it simple so I don't forget or lose even tho I'm a female and expected to carry a baggage with me to everywhere lol.
The holy trinity: [phone, wallet, keys](https://youtu.be/e9N6_Tj9u2U).
This is so relatable and very useful. Thank you for sharing!
Lol, I've got a little jingle I use every morning of "maaaaaàaask, wallet keys and phone, keys and phone.'
Ha, I've never seen this before. But everytime I go out the door I say "phone wallet keys"!
Of course I don't make it very far if I forget that last one.
This is very relatable!! I also do that thing with shutting brain and getting up and walking :D
Can you tell me exactly how you do this?!?! My brain cannot be tricked, not in anyway I've tried! It simply *knows* I'm not to be trusted and does what it wants... Which is the opposite usually of what's best.
Your brain can be tricked. It’s a bowl of pudding driving a meat suit, tell it what you want and *believe* it.
I’m only going to walk over here, I’m just going to start the water, can’t waste soap because the dinosaurs are dead, find all of the blue things, shut the door. I didn’t do laundry, I simply didn’t waste soap and I found the blue things. Dopamine win!
Man it's like playing the flute, but I'm also being the hypnotized snake.
I actually start by humming one long tone (you don't need that much willpower for that), then dropping everything to focus on it.
When I do that, I'm left with just enough brain power to give myself simple commands one by one: "Get up. Go to kitchen. Grab the dirty dish. Wash. Grab another one." without overthinking it (picking a task immediately, not comparing tasks, not creating false chain of commands, not thinking about how lengthy and boring the task is, just hummmmmmm and move...)
Usually I only need it to start the task.
Or I do my best to focus on one command (one dish, not thinking of the whole pile, do one dish, as the command said)
Always picking the center seat in the front of the class to ensure I would make myself focus because I didn't want the teacher to call me out-constantly doodling in meetings to stay awake-asking others to borrow their notes or be study partners. Creating songs or sayings to memorize anything, constant flash cards, etc.
My brother in law is dyslexic, so he's super charismatic and has strength in talking. He calls instead of emails... the Dr said this was a workaround he developed to cope.
- Ordering groceries online and in a premade box instead of going to the shops (we'd never eat)
- Working with people that are more structured than you
- Setting alarms as reminders for literally everything in your life
- Only buying clothes that don't need to be ironed
- Buying all the same coloured socks
- Colourcoding spreadsheets to make them interesting
- Signing up to online exercise videos, virtual walking games or zombie couch to 5k run apps to make exercise fun
- Relying on my partners strengths to help me and admitting when I've hit a wall
Editing to also add: Body doubling, finding a study buddy or people to work with and compete against is another classic one for ADHD. Group exercise sessions are another example of this.
Workarounds can be any small behaviour that makes your life easier / the goal more achievable and efficient to reach
Oh man. The colorful spreadsheets thing. Also headings/styles for word docs. I was only recently diagnosed and I could never understand why I was so insistent on styling my documents. My heart would sink when someone at work would send documents without headings, or spreadsheets without formatting. I really need those visual anchors. No one else seemed to care, but to me they are life lines.
My manager looked at my spreadsheet the other day and was like... I like the art you're making 😂
MATE it's the only way it doesn't turn into number gibberish, let me live the way I wanna live
No amount of colourcoding could ever make spreadsheets interesting to me lol. I hate those things with a burning passion. Yet, I can’t deny they’re a great organizational aid.
Just colour coding in general really helps me.
It stops everything getting lost on the page.
When I was in High School, I made a study chart for the final exams for English and it contained literature quotes... it was colour coded and even when I couldn't remember the quote, I could visualise the page, then go "ok that quote is three down, two across, and pink. And it was a large quote... and I picture it starting with A..." and using visual memory was able to recall what was on the page.
I know not everyone has that visual memory... but if you can find weird tricks like that to play to your strengths it is *super* helpful.
This video is sooo funny
I think it’s a coping mechanism. If I can have everything in a spreadsheet I know where to look and can sort the info fast.
My psychiatrist said something similar.
Those with high intelligence are often able to independently develop and enact their own coping mechanisms. This is partially why it’s harder to diagnose those with high intelligence, especially by those with an improper/partial/outdated understanding of ADHD.
Same with me. I never would've imagined that I had adhd, probably because school was my hyperfocus. I worked and studied to an unnecessary degree, because each 0.01 of my GPA was a hit of dopamine. I took the SAT until I got a perfect score.
Post-undergrad is when everything finally hit and also when I got diagnosed, because up until then it hadn't been entirely dysfunctional. I didn't thrive as well in the less-structured work environment, and a major family tragedy shook me pretty badly. I went back to do my Master's and realized that self-medicating with alcohol was *not* helpful.
I'm currently in the middle of a PhD and working towards making my research my hyperfocus. The lack of structure in remote work hasn't helped, however. I'm considering going off Vyvanse, because it tends to make me get distracted and hyperfocus on the wrong things. Case in point: it just kicked in and I'm commenting in this thread instead of working on my grant application.
Haha that's not the vyvanse. That's because grant applications are sent only to destroy our souls 😂
I feel this
This was probably my downfall. I always preformed really well when I had people supporting me/cheering me on, but most of my years were very tumultuous in which I not only had no support system, but I also had harmful people in my life (partner, for example) actively trying to sabotage my efforts.
I’m saving this comment. Thank you
I think it’s just more likely that we’re not good at academics, because we really only have motivation to do things that *interest* us.
I have a very deep fondness for all things logic and patterns. Therefore, I was able to find interest in almost everything and felt right at home in math class. I obtained a BS in Mechanical Engineering (I’m still undiagnosed but I’m almost positive I’m adhd).
Now, I will say college got a lot more difficult because the assignments/projects got a lot more in depth, so anything I wasn’t interested in doing (large projects and lab reports were the worst for me), took forever and I procrastinated on them horribly because I was so uninterested.
Engineering was a great program for me, because of my love for logic/patterns/math and also because of the nature of the program. Most of my engineering classes were more about understanding the concepts and then being capable of using the resources to solve the problem, so we had a lot of note sheets and equation sheets, open book/note tests.
I could not have completed a program that required a lot of memorization, like the medical ones. Biology and chemistry are heavy in memorization, so the fewer classes I had to take of those the better.
Not accurate. I failed Uni then went back ND got full honors degree, hit up the masters degree and then took time off before PhD. Working away at that on my own schedule.
Biggest thing I think is don't feel pressured to complete something at someone else's pace. It takes four for some and five for others. Who cares as long as your successful.
Do you take any medication for ADHD, and do you think that helped you get through school? Or did you get the degrees without any meds?
Got my degrees without official meds but did a lot of self medication. However, the harder the degree the less this worked. Also takes a toll on your body and mind over a long period of time.
I always made sure to study with other people and used lots of flash cards to help memorize things. I would also tutor a lot which helps to practice fundamentals.
Now in PhD and on meds and talking with professionals to help make my ADHD a strength. However it is hard to break old habits and form new ones. One day at a time
I started tutoring recently (doing school with meds has given me a much better understanding of the subject matter). Helping my classmate as well as tutoring kids. It's so rewarding for me, which I didn't really expect!
Definitely helps practice fundamentals. I also love the aspect of examining the information from different angles and breaking it up into different ways to try and best communicate the concepts to the individual student; it's like a puzzle! There's immediate gratification when you see lightbulb go on for them, and the continued reward of seeing improvement over time. And I can justify all my research rabbit holes because they help me be a better tutor lol. I think I'm also well suited to it because I genuinely believe that most people can learn most things with enough time, encouragement, and appropriate individualized instruction and accommodations.
I don't have anything constructive to contribute here lol. I just wanted to gush about tutoring
I found out that to get a better focus if your a sad person or someone who can't focus (wich i think is adhd) wether or not you are able to have a vision for yourself even if you feel bad your going to have to admit that you are sad and or that you are failing at doing something that you want to do. And then for me something clicked and i was able to read way better then ever and this happened recently im 24.
Got my degrees without meds. I did choose degrees in areas I was interested in and naturally good at so they weren't hard to me. It was my normal. I had good coping techniques too that I didn't know I had until my late 30's when things went bad and it wasnt enough anymore. That's when I was diagnosed. You got this!
I can't answer for OP or anyone else but sometimes things just click I guess. I have a weird ability to hear things once and log them to memory relatively easy, complex equations and free form writing trumped this for me and so although high school was easy (I was the kid sleeping in the back row who still managed 80-90% on tests) I am finding university quite a bit more difficult. I am also really good at standardized tests because they a) automatically and consistently let me hyperfocus, and b) have a lot of tricks that can be used to rule out multiple choice questions down to 50/50s regardless of actual knowledge level
The pandemic has made it hard to gauge with certainty how well I am actually capable of handling the university workload as online classes have made it incredibly difficult to work through the content. I am working towards a degree that need 2 years of basic science courses so at times it feels like the classes aren't actually related to anything and are genuinely uninteresting as a result.
A very loving partner and resiting evey test and exam in the summer holidays and having her read proof read my work and doing short bursts of study with no other distractiond
I wish I had realised this sooner. Burned out trying to match the pace of the best in my class. Before trying that, I managed really well. Just trust the process and yourself people:)
WOOT! I'm on the same track! (PhD next)
It’s called twice exceptional. I am gifted (master’s student w a 3.9 GPA) and have ADHD. Depends on whether the brain likes game-ifying school, which is no ones’ fault either way.
I must admit though, master’s/professional degree programs feels significantly harder for me compared to bachelor’s due to the former being less structured than the latter. I do better with more strict deadlines.
Thats exactly how I'm feeling right now. I'm intelligent enough to have been able to rely on that without doing too much work in the past, and all I had to do to succeed in my bachelors was learn how to play the game, rather than doing the actual work. Now I'm doing a masters and these issues and potential symptoms are making it a lot harder to succeed than in my bachelors.
Yes!! You totally get it! It is so difficult right now, even though I do have a high GPA. You can have a high GPA and still be struggling. I’ve been working with my uni disabilities office for an accommodations plan that would fit for me. Here are some things I am asking for:
- ability to record lectures (because my auditory memory is shit; I am more likely to remember what I read than hear)
~ if I can’t get this, I am requesting a note-taker
- request to meet my professors in the first two weeks of the semester to create a timeline for me (having smaller parts of a bigger project due at certain times so that I’m actually accountable to someone; my program is very much writing-based and not test-based)
~ I feel like this is important to put in writing as sometimes professors are dicks. Most aren’t in my current program, but idk for my future PhD program.
- if I have to be tested, in a quiet environment (sounds can overload me)
Meeting with your professors and setting a timeline like that is such a good idea! I did several master's and got a JD and writing papers became progressively so much more of a chaotic struggle than in undergrad, and I'd be writing them all over the course of a week and pulling all-nighters. I finally got to a semester where I was taking an overload and had three papers due and a final on the same day and emailed my professors like a month before to just ask for extensions in advance, and it made my life SO MUCH EASIER.
Also I think frequently structure changes in more ways than one when you move from undergrad to grad school. At my undergrad, most people lived on campus and ate in the dining halls all four years, so I didn't have to plan meals or grocery shop, and my bills were all paid through room and board as one chunk, so I didn't have to manage paying rent, electric, gas, internet, etc. all in different amounts due at different times on different websites, and if I needed to see a doctor I could just go to the campus clinic and didn't have to figure out insurance/appointments/specialists...all that stuff takes up a significant amount of brain bandwidth even for neurotypical folks, and having More Things to try to structure on one's own with ADHD is... not always the best!
Exactly my thinking!!! I am glad that someone else who was a grad student had similar experiences! Definitely makes me feel less alone and probably makes OP feel that way too!
Also, seriously, fucking CONGRATS on those huge accomplishments❤️ you’re fucking killing it and I hope that you continue to kick major ass!
My rationale for making it in writing is: 1) it keeps both them and I accountable and 2) I believe they would legally have to accommodate it if it’s something the office of disabilities approves. Just like you did, I am finding the waiting till last minute unsustainable. Yes, do I write my best stuff last minute? Possibly, but it could be better w time too! The possible loss or change in quality of my writing is not worth the mental anguish, as you said. I am tired of feeling overwhelmed when this happens and it’s probably not good for my health.
Brilliant insight in your post!!!
Thats some helpful tips for uni students! Im curious though, how do you stay through recorded lecture again since you have already attended the lecture? If you don't mind, could you share how helpful your professors are after knowing you have ADHD and do they do extra things to help you?
So I have to put it on 1.5-2x speed! It’s mainly used when I feel like I haven’t gone over a concept enough or that I have completely forgot everything! When I completely forgot everything, the repetition doesn’t bother me (since I don’t remember) and I make sure to have printed out powerpoints (if those are available, which is something I’m going to request access to if professors created them) and highlight things as they go through it.
So my diagnosis is really recent (I haven’t gotten the accommodations yet, waiting for a written request from the medical professional who diagnosed me), so only the professor I’m close with (my research mentor and current professor for all my classes this semester) knows. She is really understanding and is willing to help with whatever I need. Her wife also just got diagnosed as well so she knows how important this is. But she said I for sure need to get it in writing, bc even though she would do anything I needed, she and I know others will not unless they are legally required, which is completed through the disabilities office on campus (in the US disability accommodations have to be legally fulfilled once accepted by the office).
Thanks a lot! All the best in your grad school!
Oh my god it just clicked for me how accurate my phrase/description of "play the game" when it comes to school is. I have used that phrase when friends/classmates ask me how I'm "so smart" or how I "know so much". I'm not smarter than my friends I just know how to play the game.
And I'm in a masters program now and I also find the lack of structure difficult. I don't pace myself well.
Exactly! The game is so much easier when we can figure out the rules and use it to our advantage. When the game changes, we’re at a loss and hopefully you and I can figure out the new game sooner rather than later
I found it the opposite for me somehow. I did much better in grad school than in undergrad. Though, I think part of it was that I found a crutch in “teaching my fellow students” when I was in grad school. But, I admit, writing my Master’s thesis and Doctoral dissertation were murder. If it hadn’t been for looming changes, starting my PhD program or a faculty position, I am not sure I would have gotten them done.
I attempted to see someone for the first time last week and was told I couldn't possibly have any issues as I have a successful job... it was a little soul crushing.
What is a “successful job”? Also, I hope you get a second opinion because that first one is subjective trash—based on the lack of actually looking past that single aspect to all the information available.
I am a Health and Safety Officer. I think he meant that I was able to hold a job. It took many more years than I ever thought it would to even get myself enrolled in school, but eventually I did it with some help. But even then I feel like I've missed a lot of opportunities based on my behaviours.
And I will try again at point... but it took a lot of 'energy' to try to get myself in to see that one and I feel a little bit mentally defeated at the moment, even though I knew it was likely I would hear what I did.
I’m sorry that summation of energy ended up being wasted by that doctor. I feel you on that. I hope the next time it goes far better.
When asking people with ADHD if they think I might have it I got this response. Please people never say this to someone, it stopped me from considering ADHD a possibility and thus stopped me from seeking help sooner.
Yeah I think it’s to do with the hyper fixation of constantly psychoanalysing yourself as to why you feel like shit. And if you can accept it it relieves a bit of pressure allowing you to focus on other things a little bit more.
Sorry to hear that.
Depends on the degree - if the bits you are doing give you a reward, you’ll kill it.
Or, if said degree, can be passed with last minute super speed “I absolutely have to do this now and I’ll fucking nail it”
Also worked for (I’m British) gcse (14As - this was before A* or whatever the hell it is now) and Alevel (5As) where I smashed everything out of the park - despite my ‘mock exam’ results being all D and below every time.
My undergraduate was the former and my masters the latter - thankfully. Especially as I wasn’t diagnosed until about 15 years after I’d finished.
The main issue for me is day to day executive function - I’m a…smart man. So can absorb enough to get by and then when focus comes, swing into action. 9-5, boring humdrum that doesn’t excite my brain working is where I struggle, even on medication - although that helps a lot. Not anything to do with academics.
My big one was “he’s a bright kid but he needs to focus and apply himself more” every single year
It's not accurate. You can have a wide range of academic skills and have ADHD. I do find that I often have to work harder to show what I know and actually look intelligent- but that's a different story.
I know tenured professors at R1 universities with adhd who didn’t struggle to work until they tried to get tenure. Some people are really high functioning. High IQ will also compensate. At a very technical level, official testing wants to see that your short term memory (and other related components of ADHD) are lower than other parts of your IQ score.
I have several master's degrees and a JD and didn't get diagnosed till I was 28-- law school was the point where the workload + level of understimulation involved in a lot of the workload was enough that I was like "okay, something's up, why is my brain SCREAMING the whole time I try to read for property and why do I scroll through my phone for two hours while internally I'm yelling *get up get up get UP do something*?" I'd felt like my ability to focus was fluctuating for awhile, but I was always able to get everything done and do well, either because my anxiety disorder finally overrode my executive dysfunction or because I could do it in bursts of hyperfocus where it all got done super fast.
I initially wasn't sure if it was ADHD or a new anxiety symptom but my doctor was convinced when I described my symptoms (and got lost on the way to the appointment and forgot my coat and keys on the way out, lol) and the meds do help.
It’s quite common, so they might be biased due to the statistics. There are a lot of us that made it far without a diagnosis because of the structure and intelligence we were gifted.
I myself, struggle terribly with school and I think a large of it is because of my ADHD. That being said, being good or bad at school shouldn’t have to do with a diagnosis. I do very poorly in school, other people with ADHD do very well and exceed in academics.
I honestly think each case of ADHD has a wildly different shape, and school is a very rigid mold. Sometimes the pieces fit together, sometimes they don’t. I think a better indicator of ADHD would be the the reason why a task is easy or hard- if school is easy for you, why do you think that is? Do you have interest or hyperfixations on what’s being taught? Does the structure of classes help you get tasks done? Is it a routine that makes sense to you?
Definitely talk about this with a psychiatrist. They can help you with a diagnosis better than a regular doctor. Good luck OP!
I also graduated within 5 years and still got diagnosed with ADHD.. So in my opinion, it's not accurate at all. Old college of mine got her PHD while she also have ADHD..
Not true. I always had good grades and graduated with honours doing a degree in my second language, undiagnosed and unmedicated (the toll it took is a whole other matter). I have been diagnosed twice since then, so in my experience it's not true at all.
I got a masters degree with okay grades, but please understand it was not fun. I had about a dozen panic attacks and went through two depressions. The last depression was close enough to me finishing school that I paid for a final paper to be written because I just needed to be done and I couldn’t let my debt be for nothing. Since school two years ago I have had one panic attack and zero depression even despite COVID and my job being stressful.
I was in the gifted programs in school. I didn't struggle in school really. But I did do better in classes I enjoyed because I paid attention better. I did pretty awful in classes that required a lot of reading like English/literature and history, because I wouldn't do the reading. But when it came to being tested on class lectures I aced them.
Not everybody with adhd is bad at acedemics. However, many of us are really bad with deadlines and fast paced work. Im personally terrible with this.
Keep in mind the amount of work you get varies vastly depending on the major you choose too. I Majored in Electric Engineering and any STEM field is going to be a lot. Went to college and failed 2 years in a row. I’m still going but it’s gonna be like another 3 or 4 years till I graduate.
For me I think a lot of it was my time dilation and thinking I had more time to study than I had. I’m also just really bad at breaking down what information is important and what information is not. Sometimes I would check ahead of time and still miss an important deadline, even whole midterms sometimes.
I got prescribed to Wellbutrin and it doesn’t help my focus too much but it helps my motivation a lot. It still takes me awhile to get it done but now I get it done before giving up.
Anyways, having adhd dosnt automatically make you bad at school, it really depends on your symptoms and interests. If your psychiatrist tells you otherwise, you can bet he’s incompetent in the area and has an outdated understanding of ADHD.
To get prescribed medication however I think It has to be getting in the way of your life in some way.
Get a better doc. I’ve been brushed off twice. I got a new therapist that is actually willing to figure things out with me. High functioning doesn’t mean healthy. I didn’t have any life outside of academics for 6 years and was suicidal after graduating. Might not be related but please get a doc who cares to check
Academics were extremely difficult for me. I went into IT because I was passionate about IT all my life but struggled to get my degree. I've always struggled in school since I was young and getting my college degree was one of the hardest things I had to go through with ADHD.
As soon as, I got my degree I was hired as a system administrator for a hospital. Normally it takes you years to build up experience before you get a system administrator position but I was always extremely talented and skilled when it came to IT but I fucking struggled in school.
I'm in grade 11 academic (level 3 of 3 in highschool) and ever since covid my grades have plummeted because I can't concentrate on anything. Which is also my fault for not taking my medication before class instead of taking it during class. But even with medication yes I find that it is hard concentrate sometimes. For example it took me like 10 minutes to type this.
PhDer with adhd, here
What I’ve learned is that ADHD has a pretty big spectrum- just like anything else. Many of us, myself included, were from the “gifted and talented” crew in school. I personally tested extremely high at all academic tests and breezed through school until…..I had to start really focusing for longer than a half hour or hour at a time. And then it all fell apart. Of course I was 15 or 16 years old and had found drugs a d was depressed and other traumas were happening. I didn’t get diagnosed until 38 or so.
I would say most of us are pretty smart. Some are the fidget in the classroom and cause trouble type-others aren’t.
The more you talk to others and learn it helps to find which groove you fall into.
Pretty accurate in my case but everyone learns differently. I love working with my hands and doing manual work. I suck ass at anything mentally taxing.
My experience was that I was great as long as tests were the main component of my grades(short term info retention), I struggled when I had to write term papers for every class(time management), and then I got good at it again when I was deeper into subject material that interested me(special interest hyper focus)
Barely graduated high school, got honours in college (twice). Mind you, there was a 10 year gap
Academics for me was easy. I love school and learning. Graduated high school, my trade school in the military, and university with honors. I’m thinking of going back to school for a masters. I know I can do it…Just gotta motivate myself to do it.
Magna cum laude JD with ADHD. Honors all the way through school. Doctor told me I have one of the most inattentive cases he's seen in 30 years.
It's amazing how well we can adapt. I used to turn people's notes into MP3s so I could study while I paced around the building and just repeat it until it was stuck in my head lol
Doing well in school and having ADHD are not mutually exclusive, although you might have to fight harder for a diagnosis because there are a lot of poorly informed clinicians who have outdated beliefs about ADHD that don't line up with research. This is especially true if you're gifted as that can mask the outward signs of ADHD.
A scientist with a BS and STEM PhD who didn't struggle in school but still has debilitating ADHD and can't function as an adult
Not accurate, at least for me. I got maybe two B's during my entire academic career? Had a 4.0 in Uni one semester when my mom was in the hospital practically dying for 6 weeks (she lived, but we were told she was going to die). My parents put pressure on me to do well, which turned into me putting pressure on myself later on, which in turn lead me to do very well academically.
But don't tell me to study. I would rather stab my eyeballs repeatedly.
It isn't. I have three degrees and was always on the honor roll, etc. I think that's what prevented me from being diagnosed earlier.
Nope. Graduated both HS and College BA with honors. Diagnosed at 34
I have severe ADHD, was diagnosed in 2nd grade but wasn’t treated until my sophomore year of high school because I did so well in school. I entered the gifted program in 5th grade. I loved school. I got my BA and my M. Ed (masters in education) and I plan on getting my PhD down the road.
I was smart but didn't put any work in. Smart got me through high school no problem, and in university I was a 60s student.
I could teach my friends stuff that would be on the exam and they'd get 90s but I'd get 60s as I'd get all flustered under time pressure. On assignments I would barely put work in, except for the one time where "I just want to see if I can" and would get 100. this complacency is what got my grades.
If you were uneven in school, I think that would be a flag.
I hold a BA, two MAs, and a PhD. All of which I earned before my diagnosis. I was an uneven student in highschool. But in college, you get to focus on what you are good at. Except for some of the distros I nearly failed. Lol. Same subjects I struggled with in highschool, foreign language and chemistry.
It is possible to lean on your strengths to get by in school.
There's a lot of structure in school. In life, not so much. It's not that unusual to get out of school and find yourself struggling to deal with work, social life, other responsibilities.
Well, I have a PhD and did so well, they let me stay on as faculty after my postdoc. I struggled early on but I think it had less to do with ADHD and more to do with co-morbid dyslexia. Once I got past the dyslexia (ie spelling tests stopped being a thing and things like spell check became common place), I did much better. Now, we can argue that how I pursued my education was unhealthy. I overloaded science classes in high school because that is what I liked and I spent most of college in a lab doing research but it paid off in grad school. Academia is actually a great place for people with ADHD if they are interested in what they are studying.
I was labeled gifted in elementary school, identified for the Duke TIP program, valedictorian in highschool, graduated with departmental honors with a bachelor's degrees in physics and now I'm pursuing my PhD in astrophysics. So in my case no I'm clearly not bad at academics, but I have a million crutches and supports holding my life together. And it doesn't mean I didn't/don't struggle. My house is a complete disaster and I would regularly show up to work without some vital thing like my laptop or laptop charger if it weren't for my husband reminding me everyday as we walk out the door.
I was lucky to be diagnosed as a kid though. Don't let the doctor dismiss your struggles just because you have a degree. You may have to press a little harder.
It’s an untrue (and irritating) stereotype. I’m at the top of my class as an engineering student.
I’m an academic with ADHD. Simply not true. Proper meds, using certain technics like time blocking, and sometimes just being flexible to do work when you have those moments of clarity all work together to help you be successful.
It's untrue for a lot of us, but unfortunately professionals in medicine and psychiatry aren't impervious to the influence of confirmation bias. Myths and stigmas surrounding diagnoses that have found their way into popular culture, or have become "controversial" due to hyperbolic or outright errant media reporting and internet hysteria have polarized many of the medical professionals I've dealt with. In my 40 years, 28 of those years spent in and out of doctor's offices, intensive therapy, and psych wards, I've found 4 medical professionals who actually listened to me, were validating, and willing to treat my adhd. It's been hell.
High school valedictorian here! ADHD and doing well in school are absolutely able to coexist. I've done best when I'm in school (have a master's, considering a PhD). I think it's the perfect blend of structure and novelty for me.
Anyone who says you can't have ADHD because "you were good in school" has no idea what they're talking about.
I graduated my bachelors by the skin of my teeth. I was undiagnosed and unmedicated back then. Honestly, the way I did it was to procrastinate until the very last possible moment and then the anxiety of the assignment/test prep/etc. was stimulating enough to keep my focused. It was hell, actually. I'm doing my masters now with meds and a diagnosis and I can't believe how much easier it is. I'm actually smart and organized even when something isn't SUPER INTERESTING. I find that my house gets a bit messy still when I'm in the middle of assignments, and I have to plan my homework around when I know I'll have more medication in my system but that all seems so easy compared to my undergrad.
ADHD PhD here (mathematics).
I was absolutely miserable in grad school, but take it from a doctor: people with ADHD can succeed academically.
Probably at a cost of getting a CPTSD, anxiety, and depression along the way, but hey. Wish I was diagnosed earlier than 6 months ago.
I’m 20 with a 3.9 in college and graduated high school with a 4.0. I did and still do great in school. Emotional regulation issues and executive dysfunction are my bigger symptoms. ADHD brains focus on their interests, and if school has been interesting to you, or if it has a curriculum that changes and feels fluid/novel, there’s literally no reason that academic success would mean you don’t have ADHD.
There’s also something to be said for coping mechanisms- are you good at school naturally, or are you just not realizing that you’re working 10x harder than everyone else to do the same stuff because you think everyone struggles the same as you?
Honestly the idea that you can’t be good at school and have ADHD is outdated and ableist. It’s the reason my dad’s parents didn’t get him tested for ADHD, because in his day and in our area it would have been an automatic transfer to lower level classes. It’s rooted in the idea that people with ADHD are inherently stupid, which is just not true.
I would recommend getting a new doctor.
I have a BA in economics and working on my masters, but it's taken a ton of balancing habits, reminders, planners, drugs and scheduling my time properly for it to work
I just now feel like I know what I need to ensure I do the best I can in school without getting overwhelmed
edit: also I have to not buy or play any video games or else I hyperfocus on it & pour my whole life into it and lose track of my schooling
Also I can never study at home: always on campus or else I get distracted
My partner and son both have been diagnosed with inattentive type ADD. Partner was very gifted in school, was an early reader (before age 4) and, despite struggling with organization, having a disaster area of a bedroom, did well academically…. Until college. Everything came crashing down in college, suddenly couldn’t focus or remember important things, lost of interest in the subjects, etc, and had to drop out. Got diagnosed and on meds later and these helped when they returned to school and were able to graduate in a field of interest. One thing about a lot of folks with ADD is that they can become hyper focused on what interests them, and this can lead to expertise and great success. Son also gets very good grades in school and was diagnosed based on other criterion.
Also the best way to get a diagnosis is to be evaluated by a neuropsychologist. They have several different assessments they use to detect different aspects of neuro-atypical symptoms, and while difficulty in school may be one sign, it’s not the only criteria and not required. See an experienced, well recommended neuropsych and they will not dismiss you. They will use several metrics that they interpret with their years of training and expertise. On the other hand, don’t get your heart set on a certain diagnosis - even ruling out a certain diagnosis can help lead to a more appropriate diagnosis and therefore, more effective treatment.
*sources are personal and professional experience as a parent partner of ADD diagnosed people, and working in mental/behavioral clinic that refers to neuropsych evaluations for diagnostic purposes.
Best of luck, OP!!
Hi, gifted ADHD here. We’re bad at learning in non-inclusive systems, not learning.
Passion for interests, often insurmountable difficulties with disinterest’s, so the result is more often then not a struggle with academics.
It is however not a guarantee, there are people with ADHD who have achieved bachelors, masters and even doctorate’s. The struggle is primarily keeping interested as the lack of it would result in unfinished/incomplete degrees.
For me personally I would get straight A’s in courses I found interesting and barely pass or outright fail everything else…. That worked out because I’m in tech but your mileage may vary.
I was a gifted student even went into an advanced program but at some point it got a bit to much for me and I got burnt out (which is actually what got me diagnosed) if a doctor dismisses because you did well then they shouldn't be a doctor
The research shows that IQ doesn’t correlate with ADHD symptoms. In fact, IQ may mask ADHD symptoms in some people. You’ll still run into people that have prejudices about it, but IQ appears to be normally distributed, so it shouldn’t relate.
OP didn’t ask about IQ, they asked about academic ability. Academic ability ≠ IQ. Many will also argue that IQ≠intelligence
Most adhd people are highly intelligent gifted actually. I graduated high school top ten percent of my glass. Graduated college with a dual major and minor w a 3.5 in four years with my BA. Got my masters in public health in 2015 with a 3.4 graduated with my MSW in 2017 with 3.3. Passed my social work boards no accommodations first time. I have been medicated since age 9.
Is that true about adhd people being generally highly intelligent? I was always among the top of my class in school, and during my undergrad it felt like you didn't have to do nearly as much work as you're supposed to if you could just figure out how to play the game, and i got pretty good at playing the game and getting good grades whilst doing minimal work. But I also feel like a bit of a fraud relating to all these adhd symptoms because I've typically done well in school
No I don’t think it’s true. As far as I know there isn’t any proven correlation between intelligence and ADHD.
I think the reality is that a lot of schools just suck. The fact that people with ADHD can do an entire project the night before it’s due and get a decent grade reflects more on the school than the students. But people prefer to believe that they’re super smart.
This. I kinda hate the seemingly prevalent assumption of gifted intelligence. Yes it exists, but I definitely don’t think to the degree it’s claimed.
Having access to better education and resources does not make a person more intelligent. Being a big fish in a small pond of lax education standards also doesn’t make one “gifted”.
Never mind academic intelligence is pretty much the only aspect being considered.
> Having access to better education and resources does not make a person more intelligent.
This is the other issue. At least in the US. People who are DIAGNOSED with ADHD are often the better off ones.
If you grow up poor and your parents have crappy/no health insurance, you’re probably not ever going to a specialist and getting tested. You’ll just be considered that lazy dumb kid instead.
If I‘m remembering right, Dr Russell Barkley said that ADHD has no bearing on intelligence. So among ADHD people there will be the same distribution of intelligence as in people without ADHD. He has said that intelligent people may be better at compensating for ADHD, so it’s not so obvious they have it.
edit: here is one source [https://youtu.be/syApYllav-0](https://youtu.be/syApYllav-0)
Also for what it’s worth I did really well for most of my education. Partly because I find a lot of stuff interesting so that helped me focus.
Well I personally think it's practically impossible for an adhder to score good grades if they r unmedicated and appear for a exam that has a large amount of syllabus ,and the exam demands u to solve tons of questions quickly .
The reason why I say this is -
1) MATHS,, PHYSICS, PROGRAMMING -subjects like maths ,physics,programmung and chemistry depend alot on how much attention u pay during the lectures.if ur attention is horrendous ,it's highly unlikely for u to understand what's being thought and hence it would be impossible to score good grades .likewise if the exam is long u myt ended making several calculation errors .I remember losing upto 22 marks in an 80 marks exam just because of calculation errors .
Again if adjustmentss are made and if the teacher teaches stuff at a slow speed on 1v1 (at max 1v5 basis ) and doesn't get pissed off at asking doubts and asking to rexplain stuff .
2) ENGLISH-If you notice people with adhd forget words very often while texting .now depending on how you are evaluated u myt lose a lot of marks in subjects like English and other languages because u will forget alotttt of words and ur sentences would be grammatically (and even make no sense at times )incorrect and hence u will end up losing alot of makes due to grammatical errors .this myt not seem like a big deal but if the paper is really long and u need to be really quick ,u myt end up losing a couple of dozen marks just because of this
3) MEMORIZATION - not sure if this an iq based( maybe I'm a dumbass lmao) thing but logically as adhder have p bad concentration they would distracted much much more often and it would take them much longer to learn notes .
Not accurate. I graduated college in 4 years with a 3.95. I also worked 20+ hours a week and was a college athlete.
It was definitely difficult and I struggled more than my neurotypical classmates. But I think I fell under the radar for so long because on the surface I have always excelled.
I finished my master in physics with greatest distinction, so absolutely not true. I only started struggling during my PhD in physics, which lead to my ADHD diagnosis.
My husband and I (28F) both have ADHD and both of us were/are strong academically. We both have engineering degrees from a very challenging program at a top engineering school. My husband was diagnosed long ago but I was diagnosed several years AFTER graduating from college.
My high academic achievement was a definite contributor to delayed diagnosis. There were signs back when I was 4 and was so disruptive in Pre-K that they bumped me to kindergarten half way through the school year. But since I got good grades and school came easily for me, nobody noticed something was going on.
I think many of us excelled in school because it was a structured environment. That all by itself solves a lot of ADHD challenges.
I did well in college, but did have Incompletes. University is less structured and I didn't do as well with consistency.
Same thing with working in an office vs being self-employed, working from home. Working in an office comes with in-built structure.
Being my own boss appeals to me far more! But I had to build structure for myself. It sure can be hit or miss, however strong my desire to make it work.
The office thing...yes. I would LOVE to work from home. I would love to be good at working from home! I love nothing more than not having to leave my house, especially because my brain is like "work starts at 9 therefore I leave to go to work at...9?"
But...I am so bad at it. I get so much more done in an office environment. I used to ask if it was okay to stay late at my internship and do homework because I was so much better at focusing on it in my little cubicle.
i wouldn’t say we’re “bad” at academics, just struggle more and have to work harder. i’m a college student now but in high school i was undiagnosed and unmedicated and i did pretty well in school, i had a lot of friends, a 3.8 gpa, took high level classes, teachers generally liked me, etc. i also had a bunch of mental breakdowns and kept losing privileges from all the unexcused lates i had.
we can be above average achievers, but it’s more about the details of how we got there
I am struggling in high school. What brings my grades down is assignments. The things we are supposed to do in class become homework because I take too long to do them. And I suck at getting homework done. I do well on tests, even without studying, although I sometimes have problems with running out of time. Was very close to failing most of my classes last year. This is all while being medicated.
I am also just one person with ADHD, though, so my experience isn't going to be universal.
By the time I hit HS, I was learning the material on Monday, skipped school until Friday and then aced the test. 0’s on every homework, got a C+. Told I couldn’t take honors classes because of lack of discipline. I just couldn’t sit there and go over the same shit fo 4 days.
Everyone is different. I always got good grades but it took me 11 years to complete my bachelor's degree
I've always s scored well on standardized tests. I never turned anything in and always had bad grades. I barely graduated high school. After raising 5 kids I totally rocked my undergrad and graduate degrees . I think I just gained some skills from raising children. I was also financially supported by my husband and could focus all my attention on school. I did earn my graduate degree while teaching full time but almost had a breakdown multiple times.
I’m good at academics but always feeling the pressure of running late! As an adult student it was a lot harder for me bc I had much more responsibility than I did when I was in my late teens/early twenties
Dude i have a masters degree and is in a high paying job. Still got diagnosed with severe adhd. Its a tough battle but worth it.
I struggle academically in my own way. Silently I do well and don’t know how and that has never reflected poorly on me when it comes to diagnosis. As long as you are working with a professional you should be fine.
Whizzed through primary school, hit the wall at secondary school. Whole time my parents kept thinking it was that I was a premie baby and had coordination issues. Tried like hell to get past that, ended up doing my GED at my own time, 3 unis and I burnt out 2 days into each one.
Anything that makes me money, though? Hyperfocus to the point I don't want to eat. I live to see my bank balance go up. Literally. That's dopamine for me.
I breezed through high school, struggled in university but got a degree, and worked for a few years before being diagnosed.
An ADHD friend of mine is academically the smartest person I know, has 2 bachelors degrees, a masters and PhD. She was diagnosed in university so that likely helped her a little bit, but she is brilliant in spite of the ADHD.
If you're having symptoms that are harming your day to day life, it's worth it to try and get it resolved. Sadly, doctors are human and can bring biases into their diagnoses, but being academically successful does not rule out ADHD.
I have adhd but am very gifted, I have a photographic memory. I haven’t studied for anything since grade nine and I’m currently into second year university
I think it’s the opposite, especially when treated, you just really have an input and a dopamine issue. That does make life hard but it has nothing to do with your intelligence.
I'm high iq so I did very well in all my tests and placements but extremely poorly on homework. I would try to do it in class before the teacher called for it lol.
Hs GPA was poor and college non major classes I did poorly in. I did well on everything I was interested in. My major discipline classes are all A's but I wound up bombing "easy" classes like health, sociology and some play reading class about Greek shit.
The problem isn't that ADHD folks are bad at academics, **its that they are bad at the traditional structure of academics**. And schools that treat them as trouble makers, rather than realizing they are often bright but bored kids who need a different kind of teaching style.
I'm 40 y/o, lifelong ADHD. 3.5 in High School, 3.0 for Bachelors, 3.92 for Masters.
That wasn't always the case. I was a D / F student in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade in the late 80's. School nurses wanted to refer me for ADHD, but my pediatrician didn't think it was necessary. So nothing was done. I wasn't diagnosed and put on meds until about 6 months ago.
I was very lucky that my 4th grade teacher recognized that I was a bright and bored kid, and she set up an after school program just for me, 3pm to 5pm. She worked with me one on one, using a stamp calendar to give rewards for meeting specific goals and using educational games like Oregon Trail and Where in the World is Carmen San Diego. I continued this plan with my 5th grade teacher, who was also great, although she weened me off some of the more direct rewards like the stamp calendar.
That turned my grades around 100%, into a A and B student. Gave me the skills I needed to get through the rest of school. By 6th grade, I was able to succeed academically without the hand holding.
That 4th grade teacher really saved my life. I would have likely turned into a delinquent and academic failure, but she set the foundation I needed for the rest of my life.
**Seriously, any elementary school teachers reading this, you have no idea how much of an impact you can have on the future of ADHD students.** Treat them like troublemakers, they become troublemakers. But, if you adapt your teaching to work for their unique traits, you can change their lives.
I wouldn't say ADHD people as a rule are not good at academics. I did pretty well in school, personally, though I always struggled with math. That may be because of the focus needed for math. Any verification on that by chance?
I didn't really struggle in school until I got to high school and even then I graduated without failing a class. I came damn close to failing math in tenth grade but then in eleventh I took mixed college/uni level math which was a lot easier and then totally dropped it in grade 10. Same with science and other study intensive courses, since I knew I wanted to go into the arts anyway and wouldn't need them. But I've always known if I had to study business or sciences or anything like that I'd be a total flop. I even got honours on my certificate of Arts and design fundamentals first year of college because I'm actually interested in the arts and therefore the work was a fuck ton easier. I didn't get diagnosed until last year when I decided to take a break from school, and the combined sudden loss of structure in my life and seeing more people talking about ADHD made me seek out a diagnosis because it had always been a suspicion of my mom that I had it. But I wasn't diagnosed earlier because apparently some teacher told her he "knew what ADHD looked like and she functions well enough that she doesn't have it" 😒 nevermind how I was a constant distraction for being unable to shut up during class, constantly doodling or reading under my desk instead of listening, always being accused of not paying attention to my surroundings, being made fun of for being annoying, loud, and too sensitive, feeling inadequate because of not knowing what the fuck I'd be good at for a career. Not to mention how horrible my procrastination was.
My dad also probably has ADHD, he's probably who I got it from. And he's very successful careerwise. Before COVID hit, he made more than my neurotypical mother. But he always notoriously struggled in school UNTIL he discovered his passion for business and travel and then he hyperfocused on that and became very successful. Not without a tax on his personal life though, all the travelling made him distant from his family and he always had a horrible temper that had an effect on me and my sister. Still, he always thought he was functional because of how succesful and well adjusted his life seems on the practical side. It wasn't until I got diagnosed that we started breaking down how much of a battle it's been for him to get there behind the scenes, and how badly it affected other aspects of his life.
So to conclude, yeah you can do really well in school and still have ADHD due to various circumstances that may be accommodating it. Like an interest in the study or good structure or relying on deadline panic.
For me personally, it’s extremely accurate when not actively managed with medication. Before medication, I found high school pretty difficult and struggled to get C’s. Once I began taking medication I couldn’t understand what exactly was so difficult in the past and began to easily get A’s.
However, doctors do see a wide range of cases and it’s definitely not uncommon for people who don’t struggle academically to be diagnosed with ADHD.
I was naturally gifted and cruised through everything up to GCSEs. Then during A-level I got to the point where that wasn’t enough and boy did it go downhill.
I'm great at taking tests and writing papers, absolutely terrible at paying attention to anything if I have to sit silently for an hour.
I have a degree in engineering and was diagnosed at 28.
I have just been diagnosed with ADHD at 33yo. I have a PhD and only started struggling with my studies when I was in my master's. My psychiatrist said that my higher IQ and interests (basically, science is the most interesting topic to me) meant I basically flew through education and never had to study too much, thus, didn't need to focus too much. However, I was terrible at social interaction and once I was left on my own (less direction about what to do) I started severely struggling. Couldn't focus, no sense of time, etc.
I ranked in about the top 14% in my country doing almost no work throughout school. Could have gotten better if I chose some different subjects, like my politics class I could not be fucked with. Could never keep an organised book so was always missing notes. I was natural at writing subjects but struggled a bit with maths and chemistry, that type of thing.
Now im at uni and I can get pretty decent marks when I do the work but unfortunately late and missed assignments and gaps in knowledge from missing classes has hurt me quite a bit.
I did well in highschool and my first two years of uni but my third year has been so much torture . Everything requires much more focus that I just don’t have. That’s what inspired me to do more research and book my adhd test with a good professional
My doctor was actually confused when I told him I thought I had ADHD bc I was a straight A student, but what he didn’t see was how much I struggled to get in my work on time bc I couldn’t focus or accomplish things in a timely manner. Straight As weren’t easy and I had many sleepless nights
Not at all. I graduated high school with a 4.25, and have carried a 3.0 through college.
I almost was as well since I was essentially told I had to have struggled in school to have ADHD even though a) I was also gifted b) I fucking loved school because I was a smart kid that picked things up really quickly c) I still had a hard time getting through my work, studying etc. but I was awesome at cramming last minute d) university was a bit of a struggle but still got through, just not as easily since studying was actually more important, e) I started getting anxiety attacks during my masters because of my inability to study and prepare adequately, but still muddled through, f) work is a struggle since I get distracted easily and procrastinate like a champ g) my home life is a huge struggle since I have trouble sustaining attention on "boring things", finishing tasks, keeping on top of house maintenance, etc.
I had natural ability and coping mechanisms that kept me going for as long as I have. I don't have hyperactivity (women don't have that aspect as much as men). I can still function and hold down a job but it's my home life that suffers the most.
The whole school struggle thing feels outdated. Hence why so many people don't get diagnosed until later in life, particularly women. Just because I was fine on paper doesn't mean I was fine.
I got diagnosed about 6 months ago. I'm also 4 years into a stem PhD aand never struggled in school until grad school when it became self-paced and self-motivated. It's one of the biggest reasons I didn't get checked for ADHD until my life literally fell apart and I had a full breakdown. My campus psych said it was really common for people to get diagnosed in grad school for the same reasons. Getting medicated literally changed my life and made me realize how much I'd never actually learned anything in my previous degrees. I'd just been good at taking tests. There's a lot of catching up to do now but I'm so much happier.
was a gofted stuend up until 3rd grade. asshat teachers didnt k ow how to handle me so i almost failed every class since. hit a teacher with an alternative teaching style and im back to top of the class.
I was terrible in grade school, but top of the class in college.
I could take my college classes at a pace that was right for me, and for the most part could take classes I was actually interested in. Plus, at least at my school, I didn't have to read the book to pass the classes - just do any assignments and pass the tests. My Chem 2 class didn't even use the book apart from ungraded reading assignments, so I never opened it once.
My thesis for my MA was hard, though. Took me years to complete, and more mental energy than I care to admit. But it had a firm deadline (my classes would start to expire and I'd have to retake them) and it was the culmination of so many years of work, so I found a way to push through.
I was bad at school, but I was smart enough that I got mostly A's. No idea how, I never paid attention or studied.
My one year of college was hard as fuck though.
I was a gifted student all through out k-12 and college with some periods of struggle just in organization. Then adult life hit and I could no longer keep up the functional facade.
That notion is an ignorant one and untrue one. I hope people change their way of thinking!
Not at all. Just need to find something they like. I've a high level university degree in Business and finance! Just had to find the right then the hyper focuse kicked in
I mean I’m predicted A*A*A* in my a levels so I’d argue untrue
Academics is where I excel. Traditional J.O.Bs… less so. Except for hobbies/interests (music, investing).
I did alright in high school, Bs and As with Herculean effort, but when I went to university I was in love with the content so I excelled, top of almost all my classes, I got my master’s and excelled again, I’m planning on getting my PhD
Having said that… Ive had friends turned away from testing for less so I would honestly role play some self advocacy before your meeting and don’t be afraid to demand a second opinion.
No one is going to take charge of your medical journey but yourself, doctors are usually smart but they have so many patients they can’t possibly know everything about your life. You’re the one who has to live the rest of your life with the consequences so please try your best to fight for yourself!!
Qualified for a full ride scholarship to my University by my the first semester of my sophomore year of high school by getting a high ACT score. I then proceeded to graduate with a 1.9 GPA.
Homework was not something I felt necessary unless it was absolutely necessary to pass. I aced every test and made sure I did just enough homework to pass.
I was young and a little dumb. But for some odd reason I felt like homework was an insult. I knew I knew the material, and felt no need to prove it.
I got my diagnosis near the end of undergrad in an engineering program. Currently doing research in grad school. ADHD will present challenges to you, but won't prevent you from excelling.
I had straight As through school, did very well in undergrad, and graduated with a doctorate degree. The last part was a huge struggle and is what led to me being diagnosed (not til I was 26). Once I had to focus a lot outside of school/classes it was much harder for me to keep up.
I have hella ADHD I just work well with structure. It's everything outside of that I can't do.
I'm a woman, and we tend to be diagnosed late in life.
I think school shouldn't be part of the diagnosis process at all. Undiagnosed ADHD wrecked my childhood because I spent 130% of my mental energy on school and video games, didn't socialize or try new hobbies or anything.
Even after that I only had okay grades, not amazing but it made getting help with ADHD so much more difficult.
I have a bachelor's degree and I'm working towards another. I am highly motivated by good job prospects and a good income. I was diagnosed after my first degree. Not to say that school isn't extremely difficult and takes so much energy from me.
By "struggle academically", do you mean, "have bad grades"? Because many people with ADHD are naturally gifted and thus we can get good grades with relatively little effort. On the other hand, many with ADHD aren't so gifted of course, so grades aren't really a good metric for judging ADHD-ness.
The real litmus test for ADHD is how you perform when you don't have an inclination towards the subject, and if you do, how you perform when you're expected to keep up with a lot of work on your own. So for example, you have a university degree. How often did you study? Did you save studying and writing papers the day before an exam or big due date? Did you ever find yourself engaging in creature comforts or distractions despite having good intentions to work, and if so, did this happen often? Were you organized or did you often feel like you were struggling to stay on top of things? These are things to think about, and are more important considerations than simply how good your grades are.
Academics isnt hard, we arent automatically stupid just because we have adhd. The workload is where the problem lies.
I never struggled at all in school, casually aced tests and understood topics well if i decided to pay attention. Homework was never done though.
Fast forward to college and working 12hrs a day 7 days a week as well as 80+ pages of reading a night, and a 3 page packet of work every week? Well now im fucked. Adhd makes it hard to hold long term focus on shit like studying and busy work. For some people that compounds with their other academic struggles and leaves them unable to study their way out of a hole. For people who dont need to study in the first place? Barely an after thought.
Diagnosed at age 3, Ritalin from 3 to 11 years old then off of ADHD meds until 31.
I actually hate looking at my grades prior to college, it reads a story of struggle, boredom, and focus was elsewhere. If I got an A, it was gym class for example. I should of done a 5th year of high school but graduated on time. I was ranked 325 out of 345 students, my overall average was a 67.3%. I was in special Ed, my last IQ test was 119, I remember the results and the special Ed department was confused. They knew I was high functioning but didn't realize how well off I was, I told them that school sucked and I had bigger problems.
In college I struggled, but I found what I really liked. I got a 3.8 for my associates and a 2.8 for my bachelor's. I was going through substance abuse at the time so my GPA suffered. Waiting to see if I was accepted to graduate school currently.
I just didn't care, I didn't like what I was learning. When you are dealing with an abusive home, school is the last thing you care about. When I got out of the house, my grades changed drastically.
For me it was effortless which became a problem because it got boring and my mind wouldn’t let me focus on it because it was boring and there was other hyper fixations that were more interesting