Whether it be the hour-long monotonous lectures that are a test to anybody’s focus, or the hundreds of pages of weekly assigned reading, or the semester-long group project, the requirements of college learning demand that students remain attentive and organized, and yet possess an air of creativity and ingenuity. As any student with ADHD could tell you, the combination of these traits are a real struggle to maintain. The medications that are designed to help battle inattentiveness and distracted thoughts often work to one’s disadvantage when the mind needs to be creative and dynamic. Also part of the challenges are the extended hours for studying and expressive writing. Medications that have always been adequate for high school studying requirements seem ineffective for many college courses.
Dr. Mark Thomas from the University of Alabama explains, “The transition to college leads to a new crop of students being diagnosed with ADHD who had previously escaped notice. Symptoms may not have significantly interfered with their schoolwork in high school. We see a lot of them who may have had symptoms for years but they’ve never been identified because they were smart enough to get by. But in the less-structured college environment, where parents aren’t around to wake them and teachers pay less attention to individual students, these once high-achieving students suffer. They can’t compensate anymore, so they struggle academically, grades plummet and the parents are wondering if they belong in college at all. However, considering the academic and social hurdles, making it to college despite the disorder is, in itself, an achievement. These students have great academic potential. It just needs to be unblocked by helping them focus.”