If you’re a college student who has been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD, you may find yourself late or skipping classes too often. In the beginning of the quarter or semester, it may be because it’s hard to remember what time class starts and where to go. Later, it may be because dorm life, friends, or partying make it hard to get up in the morning. Perhaps you have a hard time sleeping even when you go to bed on time and waking up early is almost impossible.
Distractions also make it hard to get going on time. You could have the best intentions to get to class but one distraction can lead to another and the next thing you know you’re late again. Sometimes, this can be so discouraging or embarrassing that students choose to skip class altogether which can mean missing crucial information or even a quiz. I once had a client who skipped class so often he didn’t even realize he had missed his mid-term!
Here are some tips to get to class on time:
1. Time how long it takes to walk to each class. Where are you likely to be before class starts? This could be your dorm, the student union building, the library or any other building. Then write down how long it took to get there. Set a timer (or two) on your phone to remind you to leave for each class with enough time to get there.
2. Think about what kinds of things distract you from leaving for class on time. Do you tend to think you have lots of time before you have to leave when you really only have three minutes? This is another opportunity to set up some kind of external reminder so you realize the passage of time.
If you remember something important that you need to do and it’s a few minutes before you have to leave, either write it down or send yourself a text message. Some people use text messaging as their to-do list. Worrying about forgetting something important can add stress to your life, so always write things down so you can get to it later.
3. If you know people in your classes, see if you can walk together. Making a plan to meet someone at a specific time can be a great support because most people don’t want to let their friends down by not showing up.
4. Sometimes having ADD can make it hard to think about the future or plan ahead. Here is an exercise that may help. Find a piece of paper and write down all the negative consequences that could occur if you are consistently late or not showing up for class. How will this affect your life, your relationships, and your future? Then write down how showing up for class on time and doing your best can positively impact your life, your relationships, and your future. If you find yourself slacking off or thinking “it doesn’t matter” looking at your list can help you stay motivated.
5. If you truly have a sleep disorder that makes it hard to get up early or ADHD medications are causing difficulties with sleep, make an appointment to see your doctor about it. With a letter from a physician, some colleges offer accommodations for priority registration so you can be guaranteed a spot in classes that are offered later in the day. It’s worth checking out.
Hope these tips can help!