Back to School Tips for Students with ADHD
Welp, I hate to break it to you, but it is that time of year again. It is time to start preparing to go back to school. Some schools are even in session already. This can be a difficult time when you have ADHD. Over the summer, you probably established some routines that you did not have during the previous school year, and breaking those habits and developing new ones for the upcoming school year will not be easy or fun. However, I have compiled a few tips for making the transition back to school less difficult.
Sleep is good. Sleep is your friend. However, if you are like I was when I was in high school and college, over the summer, you probably stayed up far too late and slept until almost lunchtime. This will not fly once school starts. It would be beneficial for you to start establishing better sleep habits before school starts if you can.
Furthermore, once school starts, make sleep a priority. Yes, homework and studying will keep you up late, but try to get as much done as you can while still getting to bed at a reasonable time. This may cause you to think about skipping things you should do but can get away with not doing. For example, I never needed to read the textbook when I was taking A.P. US History. I have a genuine interest in US history, so I was able to easily focus on my teacher's lectures and quickly picked up on it. Moreover, when studying for a test, how productive can you be when studying at 1:00 AM? Research has shown that late-night cramming causes academic problems the next day. Study as much as you can before bedtime, and then shut your books.
School does not always come easily for those of us with ADHD. You might need to spend more time on school work than your peers. This means learning to say no to things that cut into time you spend on school work. Extracurricular activities and socializing are important for our happiness as human beings, so be careful how often you skip out on doing those in favor of school work. Netflix, TV, and social media are prime targets for cutting back. Less of these things will give you more time for your school work. Prioritization skills do not come naturally to those of us with ADHD, but it is essential. Find unique ways of motivating yourself to do your school work and rewarding yourself for meeting your homework/studying goals.
Organize All the Subjects!
One awesome thing my junior high did was mandate that every student buy a folder and a notebook of the same color for each subject. Math was yellow. Science was green. Social Studies was blue. And, English was red. This seemed obnoxious at the time, but looking back, it made organization a breeze. When I got to college, I tried to organize all of my papers for all five courses I was taking in three folders. That made things much more difficult. Looking back, the color-coded folders and notebooks made organization simple for me. If you struggle with organization, give this strategy a try. It will not work for everyone. But, it did for me, and it might work for you, too.
Do Not Do Your Homework Right Away When You Get Home from School
The ADHD brain gets tired more quickly than neurotypical brains. Take some time to recharge and do something fun before jumping into homework. This will make homework time more productive,
TAKE FREQUENT BREAKS
The ADHD brain benefits greatly from frequent, short breaks. Implememnting this will make you more productive in your academic endeavors.
When Doing Homework, Start with the Subject in which You Have the Most Interest
When bored with a subject, the ADHD brain does not want to work. If you can energize it with something it finds interesting, it will be easier to get started and get all of your homework done.
Ask for Help
You will struggle with school. Most people do, but when you have ADHD, it might happen more often for you than others. That is okay. The good news is there are plenty of people who are willing to help. Most schools will have someone on staff who is trained in teaching others how to study and succeed in school. If those services are not available or are not helpful for your specific needs, ask your teachers or your peers. You can also stop by this website because I guarantee you that this will not be the last time I address the topic of school on this blog. When all else fails, go to Google. There are plenty of resources on the web if you are looking for study tips.
Embrace Your ADHD Brain
You are different from most of your peers at school. So what? You are unique. You may have trouble fitting in, but trying to be like everyone else will not satisfy you. Even if hiding your differences makes you popular, being popular will not make you happy. Be the most authentic version of yourself you can be, and you will be happier and will eventually find people who appreciate you for who you are.
Advocate for Yourself
The world is not kind to those of us with ADHD. We often have to fight with extreme vigor just to get an even playing field. When you learn more about your brain, you learn what it needs to succeed. However, you will not find what you need to succeed just waiting for you. It is often the case that you will have to go out and fight for yourself and your right to the accomodations you need to have an even playing field.