Recover from Your First Semester: A Guide to Moving Forward and Finding SuccessJanuary 23rd, 2012 by admin
The first semester in college is often the hardest. After four months of adjusting, the strain of a new environment, learning style, schedule and budget, among other changes, begin to accumulate.
While the stress often shows in students’ grades, it is important that they keep in mind that a rocky start is often natural, especially for students with ADD/ADHD. With the proper changes, these students especially will be able to make the next semester a successful one.
All hope is not lost. ADD/ADHD students must understand that they can make changes in their lives. Their semester can run its course smoothly if they take the initiative and make some adjustments. Consider the following:
Start off Fresh
The last thing that students want is for their first-semester grades to haunt them. Before the new semester starts, students should clean out their desks. Removing those stacks of papers can help make room for the new course load and, most importantly, remove unnecessary clutter.
Get Course Information Early
A week or two before classes start, students should look through the syllabus. It helps to give them a sense of what they’re diving into. The purpose is for them to mentally prepare for the expectations of their new professors. Perhaps they might feel inclined to start on some reading early or plan for the first two weeks of classes.
Contacting those professors could also help students prepare. They should take this time to ask professors questions about the course load, the focus of the class, opportunities for office hours and other topics.
Plan out Your Schedule
As the new semester approaches, it is important for students with ADD/ADHD to set plans for studying and exams. Mark exam days and paper deadlines on the calendar. That way, they will have a better idea of when the workload accumulates and how long in advance they should prepare for certain assignments.
By making these plans, students are precluding themselves from procrastinating with projects as most students do. While most students ignore the assignment until the week after they first hear about it in class (often a week before its deadline), this type of planning ahead helps students avoid making mistakes now that will cost them later.
Of course, nothing works better than good, old-fashioned planning. That’s why right before classes start students should set up a study schedule for the week. Even if there’s little homework to start with, it helps students get back into the habit and gives them a chance to prepare for the following week. Taking one day to plan for the week can help students with ADD/ADHD keep themselves concentrated and motivated to complete their assignments. It’s what stops an hour-long break after class from becoming a night behind on homework and, before they know it, several nights behind on readings the week of a paper and two exams. Planning helps students maintain control of their academic lives.
By using these tips, students can begin the spring semester feeling ready for redemption. The fall is long gone and now students have a chance to start over. With a new outlook on school, they will be prepared to make that uphill climb to academic and personal success.
Carol Gignoux, M.Ed. is a well established expert within the ADHD coaching, consulting and training profession with over 35 years experience working with ADHD and over 16 years as a professional coach. Carol and her team of experts specialize in coaching adults, couples, small business owners, and entrepreneurs who want to move their businesses from being successful to extraordinary, and develop the skills and confidence to achieve better results in their academic, professional, and personal lives. Carol is currently writing her book, The Asset: Your Success Gene and the Myth of ADD.