Commentary: How I Turned My Weaknesses into Academic Successcsudhbulletin May 31, 2021 0 COMMENTS
Though there are many symptoms of ADHD some include, being easily distracted and having problems staying focused on daily tasks or activities. Art by Andrea Espinoza
By Andrea Espinoza, Staff Reporter
I was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in my junior year of high school. For years I suffered in silence, in complete frustration with myself. This disorder soured my relationship with school, my dreams of attending and completing a college education began to fade away.
I hated school with a passion, but not any longer.
Throughout my time in school, I never made the honor roll or received recognition for my academics. I was never good at tests and math to this day is a subject I loathe. It seemed like no matter how many hours I spent studying, I continued to struggle in school.
I tried my hardest to pay attention, but it was impossible to stop my mind from wandering as I tried to do even the simplest tasks as a student.
I sought additional help through after school tutoring, but it was pointless. No matter how many times my teachers would assist me, I still found it difficult to excel academically. Every bad grade I received was another chip at my confidence as a student. I wasn’t even sure I would graduate high school. I was anxious to even step foot on school grounds which then led me into a deep depression.
It wasn’t until I was properly diagnosed using an individualized educational plan (IEP) that I was finally given a clearer picture of why being successful at academics felt like an impossible goal.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, as of 2017, an estimated 8.4% of children and 2.5% of adults have ADHD, which can often be first identified in children’s early school years. ADHD symptoms also include difficulty remaining still for a long period of time and limited attention span.
After my diagnosis, I felt really confused and embarrassed that there was something “wrong” with me. I refused to take any of the medication prescribed to me for my disorder because I heard of the adverse side effects.
Looking back, I have no regrets about my decision. I was able to explore myself further and learn how to cope with my ADHD symptoms, mostly.
Do I have bad days? Of course. Those are the days I have to learn to put my mental health first and unplug from the world. Whether it be reducing social media interaction, noise interaction, or simply sitting in silence to ease the buzzing in my brain from over stimulation. I had to learn that it’s okay to walk away from an assignment or project that I am working on to give my mind a break. I know that if I push myself, I would shut down. These were the tools I took with me as I navigated my journey through college.
My time at Los Angeles Harbor College (LAHC) was another phase that I walked away from with another life lesson, that it’s okay to ask for help. I was almost kicked out of LAHC due to poor grades. I sat down with the dean of students and was offered another chance if I passed all my classes the following semester.
I also met with a counselor at the special services office and together we explored every degree, program, and department before I settled on one, journalism. I loved English and I loved to write, whether it was creatively or academically.
I thank her for that push. I took the two classes in communications that I needed to transfer to California State University, Dominguez Hills where I finally felt happy. In hindsight, I look back at those experiences and know that they have shaped me into the person I am today. I am a soon-to-be college graduate, the first in my family. I am a completely different person than I was at 16 years old, I am a person that suffers from ADHD (and I’m no longer embarrassed to admit it). I know if I can accomplish anything so can others.