Although college can be one of the most exciting times of your life, it can also be exhausting and at times grueling endeavor. Challenging courses and demanding professors can turn any semester into a trial. For a student with ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactive disorder, these challenges can turn from tough into seemingly insurmountable. However, even if ADHD is dragging down your college performance, it’s not impossible to turn the course around by using some simple and effective methods to succeed. Here are five simple tips that could help you improve focus and retain information without causing yourself misery in college.
If your experience with ADHD is focused on hyperactivity, exercise might be an obvious answer. But even if you’re merely inattentive, and rarely feel the need for hyperactivity, exercising is key to helping you stay on track. ADHD can cause chemical imbalances in your body, throwing off your amounts of dopamine and other neurotransmitters necessary to function. The easiest natural way to counteract this is by getting exercise. Going for a run or a swim, working out in the morning, or even walking or biking to all of your classes instead of taking a shuttle can help you pay attention for the rest of the day.
2. Getting a Proper Diet
There’s no Weight Watchers program to improve focus, and you won’t have to give up all the food you enjoy to combat issues with ADHD. But the foods you eat affect your studying ability more than you might think and make a few changes here and there can prove to create a drastic difference. Like exercise, adding some vegetables into your meals can help with the chemical balance your brain is struggling to create while overloading on sugar will have the opposite effect. Even if your diet doesn’t cause issues with your weight or apparent health, making a few changes could help your college career more than you know.
3. Using Headphones to Your Advantage
Headphones might be great for distractions like new music releases and Netflix binges, but they can also be a tool to help you hone in on your tasks at hand. One great option to play over your headphones is white noise, which can provide an unobtrusive soundtrack that drowns out the distractions in your environment without becoming a distraction of its own. If a conversation among your roommates or a car driving by is all it takes to get your mind moving elsewhere, playing white noise is an easy and effective solution.
If white noise still sounds too dull, you can also turn to instrumental music to improve focus. Finding a long playlist or video of uninterrupted tracks without any vocals can give you a source of background entertainment without allowing lyrics to set off your ADHD, and still helps to eliminate distracting issues of sounds in your environment.
4. Finding the Proper Environment
In addition to combatting environmental distractions with sound, you can also focus on completing your schoolwork in the optimal location for you. Although your dorm might seem convenient, if it offers distractions that keep causing you problems, you might want to think about heading down to the library. Whether you need to research with books or not, your study sessions might be more efficient if you pull out your laptop in an area that doesn’t fire off constant signals for your brain to become distracted. If you like being outside, maybe a quiet bench on the corner of campus could be the spot for you. It’s best if you try a few out to see where you have the most success, and you can even rotate them if necessary. Just remember, if your environment is adding on to the amount of time you spend studying, there are always other options out there.
5. Create a Starting Point
With ADHD, the idea of completing an assignment week ahead of time often seems impossible. But even if this is too daunting of a task, what can still help is giving yourself a starting point for when you do get around to working on an assignment, no matter how small. When you get a new essay topic, for example, try jotting down a couple of sentences while you’re still in class. Although you likely won’t go back to your dorm and turn out an entire essay that night, when you do come back, the insurmountable obstacle of simply starting that can get harder and harder as time goes on won’t be there anymore, and you can add on to whatever you’ve given yourself to get the ball rolling again.
6. Minimizing Tasks
Even with all of the steps above, there are still times when you might not be able to handle everything on your plate at once. In a situation like that, it might be best to find an option where you can delegate a task. For example, if you have an essay that you can’t get done in the middle of other due dates, you can try a website like rapidessay.com, where you can get affordable, efficient, and well-written essay work when you’re in a crunch. Outside of lifting a weight off of your shoulders with impending essay deadlines, using a service like this can help you focus on your other assignments and better allot time to your full roster of tasks, helping to prevent ADHD from becoming crippling across the board.
Regardless of your personal college experience, all of the tips above can prove incredibly useful to help you focus and manage tasks to succeed. Even if you’re not convinced, why not try them out? There’s a lot of science and research behind the best ways to deal with ADHD, and you’ll likely be surprised with how effective the results can be.
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