Problems of the mind... effecting work

First off, let me lay out my situation:

I’m a freshman at a community college (mostly to save money, which my family and I don’t have much of).
I was a “C Student” through High School.
I consider myself intelligent and well articulated.
I believe (undiagnosed) that I have some form of ADD.
I can often be a perfectionist.

About my ADD problem:
I am a very poor reader of books (including text books, and books with illustrations). I can stare at a page or picture for up to and above 10 minutes before snapping back into realizing that I am reading.
Things of comedy, such as the “All in a Day’s Work” in Reader’s Digest or Newspaper Comic Strips, I can usually finish entirely without a “space out” break.
Things of interest to me, such as an explanation of a design, schematics, etc. I sometimes can last, but not always.

I never, in my grade school career, studied for a single test. I never needed to. Up until my Junior year, I just… understood everything. I learned everything by osmosis, and remembered it all. I rarely did homework, but got A’s on tests. My view was “If I know the material, why should I practice it with homework. I have better things I can do.”
For some reason, through my Junior and Senior years, tests no longer just “came to me”, which caused my grades to drop further than my previous years.

I told myself I was going to work my butt off in college, and now I’m here, making the same mistakes I used to. Ignoring homework until the night before it’s due, bombing tests because I’m not asking questions… struggling.

I know the simple answers, “Do it right away, ask questions. Problem solved.” The simple things are the hardest part. Tomorrow I have 2 tests, one in Beginning German, the other in Macro-Economics. I intended to study for the first time on Monday and Tuesday (Yesterday, Today) but I didn’t do very well at it.

(I have German from 10a-12n, and Econ from 12:30p-3:30p)
Problems:
German: I’ve bombed the previous 3 tests, because I’m not understanding the small stuff. Word order, spellings vs English pronunciation, etc. and taking huge hits because of it.
Economics: I wasn’t at the last two classes because I’ve been too stressed out after leaving German. I’ve done A/B on previous tests.

Study Problems:
My girlfriend is developing good study habits, and I think would have the ability to be a great teacher. She is Bilingual (French, English) and picks up on Language Basics rather well. I asked her for help with studying for these two tests and she agreed.
We started right where my last German test left off, and I just plain old don’t understand almost anything. She told me that it’s almost pointless to review material that I didn’t actually learn, and that she can’t really teach me because she doesn’t know it.
We decided to try and learn from the beginning together, and went to Page 1 of my German book and started going. We got through most of the first chapter before taking a break.

So we went downstairs where her mom was watching Law & Order. She was going to take a short nap while I worked on my Econ. My good ol’ ADD kicked in and I got through 2 questions of my Econ work then stared at the TV for 2 hours.

Here I sit now, understanding roughly 1/2 a chapter of German, and not ready for either test. Writing a long thing on how I waste my time (Ironic), and how my ADD problems cause me to waste even more time (I’ve checked AIM Away Messages 4 times while writing this).

My question is to the people who have had to break poor (or no) study habits, and to the people who have ADD (Diagnosed or Assumed):
How can I convince myself to concentrate on what is important?

The simple answers of ‘just do it’ … don’t do anything. I’ve tried that, I end up staring into space. Any suggestions you have for breaking this 12 year habit would be greatly appreciated.

I thank you for your time if you read all of this.

i do the same thing as you … lose focus after a little while of doing something unless it interests me … like now i have a huge bio project due for tomorrow and i cannot convince myslef to work on it because even though bio is my favourite subject, this project is boring. basically, im a procrastinator.

so to help you with your study habits, i suggest listening to music, at a low volume though. this has helped me previously, but do not put on a cd that you know or something that you hear all the time. try something that you don’t normally listen to because that means that you wont be singing along to it and it will just be in the background. make sure that its not something you will fall asleep to though because its late and you might just do that.

dont work in front of the tv … it wont help because you will get distracted (of course you want to look at moving and talking images than a dead book)

basically thats all i can think of now …

//off to go find a cd i havent heard in a long time and finally get down to bio

Hey, I know exactly what you mean. It sounds like I wrote that! And yes, ‘just do it’ makes sense, but it never works. I often decide to just sit down and do it and even if I do, I end up distracted for hours at a time. I have suggestions - this is how I deal with it:

Sit down and make a list of distractions and side tracks. Anything that you usually use to tangent or ‘take a break’ with even though you don’t need a break. Now just go down the list and find a way to remove every temptation and possibility. No AIM or CD after a certain time or something like that maybe. Or just shut your computer off! You can’t get rid of all of them, but most of them.

Now when you do study, it sounds like you need to switch around a lot. I do this because for one I can barely sit still for a long time, let alone think about the same thing. Be actively thinking about the fact that at any moment, you might zone out or start day dreaming. It’s not bad if you do once in a while, but if you think about it, you can usually prevent some of it (this takes time - just relax and don’t give up). Switch around within a subject. If you have a German test coming up, study a little vocab, then some grammar, then some more vocab, then try doing an exercise, etc.

The place where you study is important. Have you ever sat down on your bed and read some required reading? I’ll bet you didn’t get far. Subconsciously and consciously you will associate locations with different activities. The worst thing you can do to yourself is study in bed. Because you will get tired while studying and then when you try to sleep, you’ll be in work mode and have trouble sleeping or just not sleep well. If you often watch TV in the living room, don’t do it there. If you play games and relax in front of the computer, don’t do it there. Leaving and going to the library may be the only way to go. What has worked for me in the past is having two desks - the one with the computer and the one without. I couldn’t believe how that helped.

If all else fails, it couldn’t hurt to ask your doc to be tested for ADD or something. ADD/ADHD is pretty common and treatable. I hope this helps.

I like being distracted from things I don’t want to do. This liking led to too many all-nighters in college when the absolute deadline reared its ugly head. While I think you should be wary of taking advice from someone who never follows their own advice, I still have to offer this up: See if your school has a tutoring program. Most schools do, and the tutoring is free for the students but the tutors usually get paid, so they will stick to studying and will keep you studying. Studying with a friend can work if that friend is willing to keep you on track and you are willing to put up with them keeping you on track, but a lot of times, studying with a friend ends up being a social session. The other advantage with tutors is that to be a tutor they must carry a certain grade average in the subject they are tutoring. This could help you with German.

Now, for some advice I do follow. When I’m faced with doing something I don’t want to do, I usually work on it in smaller time spans and I find some way of rewarding myself when I get something done. For example, if I have to get a boring written report done, I’ll decide to work on it for 30 minutes and then give myself a 10 minute break to play a computer game before I go back to work on it again. And when I finish it, I treat myself to something, like a new book, or CD or an hour long bubble bath (hey, to me that’s a nice reward!) Of course, you have to still have a certain amount of self-discipline to stick with this.

Heidi

<==========>
a pro at crastination

G’day fellow AD/HD (now official name) sufferer!

I had the same problem, down to the no studying because I didn’t need it. Anyway, I was diagnosed last year for AD of AD/HD. I now take medication for it. The problem is that while you can skip the medication (I didn’t get it refilled so I’m off of it today), you really need to strap down and realize your goals. That means NO TV or any other distractions (on the other hand, music, no radio, helps a lot, especially if it loops.)

Talk to a doctor to see if you can get diagnosed for it. I’ve lived with it for my whole life, but never found out till last year.

one possible problem might be your ego. You come across as if you have a very high opinion of yourself (didnt need to study, got A’s on tests, too busy to do homework…)

which might be true, you might be highly intelligent, and your ego is afraid of failing, so you dont really engage yourself in your work.

Its a form of rationalization - if you dont REALLY try hard (skip the homework, put it off, wait till the last minute) and you fail a test or a subject, then in a way your ego can stay intact “well yeah I failed but I wasnt really trying, so it doesnt mean anything”.

I think that is the first thing you need to put behind you. Stop ‘playing’ college and start being a serious college student. Look at yourself in the mirror and face up to the fact that you are not the smartest person in the world - you might give this college stuff everything you have, and still fail at it.

Accept that! accept failure is a possibility - then resolve to put your self to the real test and let the cards fall where they will. Then at least if you do fail, you will know you gave it your best shot, instead of just dabbling at college.

If you do have ADD, then you should definately talk to your doctor and see if you can get a perscription for ridaline or some other appropraite type of medication. People with ADD are like hunters living in a world full of farmers. The farmers set the schedule, make the rules, design the courses, write the tests, for other other farmers. Its no problem for a farmer to put a small hole in the ground, drop a seed in it, pat dirt over it, and then do the next seed, and the next seed, 10,000 times over for a week straight

but a hunter cant stand to do one thing at a time, or to do the same repetative thing over and over. A hunter needs to be aware of everything at the same time, your field of view, sounds, scents, temperature, the ground beneight your feet, the wind direction, time of day, weather - when you are hunting these things are not distractions, they are essential. Being able to process multiple inputs simultainiously is not a disorder, its a gift.

But unfortunately, our educational system is not set up for people with these aptitudes, its setup for farmers.

But there is another aspect to ADD that can be a benefit. The ability to focus on one task of interest for long periods of time. Most people have an attention span of 40 minutes. People with ADD can hyperfocus on a task for hours or days at a time.

So one thing you can do to get over the problems you mentioned - get past the fact that you have to take courses that you dont find especially intereseting, and jump into them like they are the most important thing in the world to you. This is what you have been doing (in a way) up to now, except you put the course off until the day before the exam, then you study it all in one night.

Do the same thing, but do it up front. When you start a new class, sit down and read the whole text book in a day or two, make the course your obsession. Hyperfocus on it from the start, and then the rest of the class will spend the semester catching up to you.

*Originally posted by JosephM *
G’day fellow AD/HD (now official name) sufferer!

That’s actually wrong to a certain extent.
There are two forms of this neurological dysfunction.
There is ADD which is Attention Deficit Disorder.
And there is ADHD which is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
I Suffer from the latter… or so I used to.
I really think I have lost the hyperactivity part. Or maybe it’s just part of growing up and maturing.

Anyways, yeah, I suffer from the same thing. Take now for example, I have 6 labs and 2 chapters of homework to do for my college class. But what am I doing instead??
You guessed it, posting on CD…

I think there needs to be another diagnosed case of the ADD family.

ADPD

Attention Deficit Procrastination Disorder…
That’s really what I suffer from now!
And yup, you guessed it, it does suck!

edit: Oh and with any form of ADD THIS becomes way too easy!!
Yup, another downfall of us with ADD!

ADD isn’t really a disease. It’s a technical definition for you developing bad habits of focusing on what you want to do instead of what you need to do. ADD is nothing more than another source of income for psychiatrists and pharmaceutical companies.

I, too, have these bad habits. In high school, things go slowly, so it’s easy to understand things. I almost always got A’s by doing minimal work. When you get to college, however, things become more accelerated. Unless you’ve developed proper studying techniques and habits, you’re doomed.

What you need to do, is make yourself go to a library or a study room. I do this a lot, and I find it allows me to concentrate much, much better without any distractions. Over time you’ll develop the proper studying habits, and you may find that you can concentrate perfectly fine anywhere…

As said by Ken, I believe it’s more of a psychological/ego problem. You don’t want to study because you believe that college is just like high school and you’ll remember everything. However, often times in college, tests are much, much more difficult than what you will study. You need to start taking charge of your investment and make the best of it. College isn’t just “another step”, it’s about learning things beyond what is taught in high school. If you think of it as just “another step” to making the “big bucks”, you’re doomed to fail.

ADD

While I don’t think I am ADD positive, I can really relate.

My skills as a student are terrible. If I’m interested in it, I can learn it.

I rarely take notes. I pay attention in class, and learn by the teacher, so I’m pretty good at lecture classes.

I rarely do homework if it’s unimportant, but do very well on tests and papers without research or studying.

I have college books that have never been cracked, sadly, and some that are bent, highlighted, marked, etc.

I’m one of those nightmare students that either is interested in your class and participates, rocks it, and goes out more informed… or simply sits there (or doesn’t come).

ADD isn’t really a disease. It’s a technical definition for you developing bad habits

I dont agree with this at all. ADD or ADHD is not something you learn, or something that happens due to your diet, upbringing, social environment

its something you are born with - it has to do with the way you are wired internally

and there is nothing bad about it, except that only10% of our population is created this way

therefor we (yes we :c) have a difficult time fitting into the way our society and educational and employment systems have been structured and run by that other 90%.

People described as ADD or ADHD make excellent:

Hunters, pilots, policement or detectives, soldiers, athletes, photographers, musicains, entertainers, actors, artists, race drivers, mountain climbers…

any field of activity or employment where the more things you can perceive or interact with at the same time, the better.

Its not a bad habit - you are a completely different type of person - lacking some abilities that most people have, but possessing other abilities that most people will never have.

Just becaue I don’t have athsma dosn’t mean that they must have poor breathing habbits, and that the pharmasutical companies are just capitalizing on them.

*Originally posted by JosephM *
**Just becaue I don’t have athsma dosn’t mean that they must have poor breathing habbits, and that the pharmasutical companies are just capitalizing on them. **

That’s a poor analogy. The mind is the organ we know littlest about. Why would you stick something in your body if you don’t know completely how it’s going to react?

While you could make the argument that ADD is a genetic disorder, you could equally make the argument that it’s a developed disorder.

The mind is a collection of pathways optimized for what you learn, or repetitive tasks. Much like learning how to snowboard, your mind doesn’t know what to do at first. Eventually it develops the “proper” neural pathways through constant practice and will remember how to snowboard, as an impulse. It could easily be that this inability to focus and see one thing through is a learned behavior.

If you read that link… although ritalin helps, it doesn’t help for the long term.

If you think you may had ADD and problems that are uncontrolable to you presist, see a doctor ASAP! They may give you tips to help yourself focus… i.e.- gettting enough sleep, elimnating caffiene, things like that. if things like that do not work and it is serious like ADD then something like ritlin can do wonders for people who feel they cannto control their symptoms, but do not be afraid to seek help.

*Originally posted by Jnadke *
**That’s a poor analogy. The mind is the organ we know littlest about. Why would you stick something in your body if you don’t know completely how it’s going to react?

While you could make the argument that ADD is a genetic disorder, you could equally make the argument that it’s a developed disorder.

The mind is a collection of pathways optimized for what you learn, or repetitive tasks. Much like learning how to snowboard, your mind doesn’t know what to do at first. Eventually it develops the “proper” neural pathways through constant practice and will remember how to snowboard, as an impulse. It could easily be that this inability to focus and see one thing through is a learned behavior.

If you read that link… although ritalin helps, it doesn’t help for the long term. **

No, my idea is totally correct. It’s based on the idea that since you don’t experence it, you can’t prove to yourself it’s real. It’s the whole idea that we are more connect to eachother, yet we are father appart. If you suffer from allergies, do I question you since I don’t suffer from them, because I don’t experence effects? Couldn’t you just be creating it in your head for attention? Could people be making money off of you? (for the record, I suffer from allergies).

It’s less of me having AD/HD, even if you don’t belive it, it’s that since you dont’ see it or you don’t experence it, it’s not real. Think about the themes of The Matrix here too.

there have been many people who dont have ADD, or dont know someone who has it, who condemm the use of ritalin or other drugs for its treatment

thinking somehow these people are simply not disciplined enough, and all the doctors are doing in doping them up so they will sit still in class, and not be a bother to other students.

nothing could be further from the truth. People with ADD or ADHD have a difficult time working on single tasks that are not interesting to them, esp if its repetative.

They feel like they need to get up frequently, streach their legs, get some ‘air’, take a break - almost like they are locked in a box and NEED to get out.

Keep in mind that ritalin and other forms of medication used to treat ADD are a stimulant - NOT a sedative. In the '60s ritalin use to be called ‘speed’ on the street (yes, its the same drug).

So what would you expect would happen if you give a STIMULANT to a person who is already hyperactive, or who cant sit still for more than 10 minutes? The person would be bouncing off the walls, right?

If you gave ritalin to a person who does NOT have ADD, that would be true - they would be wired and jittery, like they had too much caffene

but it has the opposite effect on a person with ADD - it allows them to focus on one task, and to work at it for a long period of time, without feeling that need to escape.

And yes, it only lasts for 4 hours - it doesnt permanently alter your brain chemistry, just like eating food doenst permanently alter your blood sugar levels.

Which is a good thing - you would not want to permanantly alter a person with ADD or ADHD, because we have gifts and abilities that most people do not posess. Once we get through those situations that are difficult for us (like the typical classroom environment) we often excel in our careers and personal endevours.

We dont need to be taught to think outside the box. We LIVE outside the box :c)

*Originally posted by KenWittlief *
**there have been many people who dont have ADD, or dont know someone who has it, who condemm the use of ritalin or other drugs for its treatment

thinking somehow these people are simply not disciplined enough, and all the doctors are doing in doping them up so they will sit still in class, and not be a bother to other students.

nothing could be further from the truth. People with ADD or ADHD have a difficult time working on single tasks that are not interesting to them, esp if its repetative.

They feel like they need to get up frequently, streach their legs, get some ‘air’, take a break - almost like they are locked in a box and NEED to get out.

Keep in mind that ritalin and other forms of medication used to treat ADD are a stimulant - NOT a sedative. In the '60s ritalin use to be called ‘speed’ on the street (yes, its the same drug).

So what would you expect would happen if you give a STIMULANT to a person who is already hyperactive, or who cant sit still for more than 10 minutes? The person would be bouncing off the walls, right?

If you gave ritalin to a person who does NOT have ADD, that would be true - they would be wired and jittery, like they had too much caffene

but it has the opposite effect on a person with ADD - it allows them to focus on one task, and to work at it for a long period of time, without feeling that need to escape.

And yes, it only lasts for 4 hours - it doesnt permanently alter your brain chemistry, just like eating food doenst permanently alter your blood sugar levels.

Which is a good thing - you would not want to permanantly alter a person with ADD or ADHD, because we have gifts and abilities that most people do not posess. Once we get through those situations that are difficult for us (like the typical classroom environment) we often excel in our careers and personal endevours.

We dont need to be taught to think outside the box. We LIVE outside the box :c) **

I live in a house. :stuck_out_tongue:

Overall, I couldnt’ agree more. We are the square pegs and the world is the round hole, we arn’t going to become smaller to fit in, we are going to find another hole to fit us.

Im ADHD and Dislexic

woulrd you ever notice?

im no writer and i cant read my oun handwriting and i always bouncing off the walls, i avoid writing anything aND WHEN I DO ITS Short and treibely misspeled i Do very inpulsive things without thinking and either have a Wild time or get in trouble etc…

Tytus,

I notice in your sidebar info that you were the driver/operator last year?

interesting - did you obtain that position by having to prove your driving skills against other students - was there a test to see who was the best driver?

being a FIRST team driver/operator is another good example of the type of things that people with ADD excel at.

I was diagonised with having anxiety a few months ago. For a while I was having a really tough time. I would get panic/ anxiety attacks when I knew that everything is alright. It was/ is really scary. I am improving slowly, but I still have trouble some times. I often worry a lot about some stuff, like friends and such, and dont worry about at all, such as homework. I also would get all nervous and sweatty for no apparent reason and think that I am trapped inside a box and couldnt get out. I think that my homework and grades had suffered in the past due to my condition. I’ve been experiencing something wrong with myself for the past 3 or 4 years, but one event seemed to hit if off hard. I am now getting some of the best grades in a while since I started on medication.

Now as soon as I can get this under control and some other medical issues I have, I will hopefullly feel much much better.

The lesson I learned, if you think you have a problem, see you Dr. If you are scared that something could be suffering, see you Dr. You may not always realize that something can be wrong with yourself. You will be glad you did it later on. :]

*Originally posted by Jnadke *
**
While you could make the argument that ADD is a genetic disorder, you could equally make the argument that it’s a developed disorder.

The mind is a collection of pathways optimized for what you learn, or repetitive tasks. Much like learning how to snowboard, your mind doesn’t know what to do at first. Eventually it develops the “proper” neural pathways through constant practice and will remember how to snowboard, as an impulse. It could easily be that this inability to focus and see one thing through is a learned behavior.
**

I agree with this. I remember from my Human Biology class in High School. Every time you do something your brain makes connections. There are constant connections being made on even the littlest thing that you do. If a person continually does not even try to focus, that bad habit is learned, and hard to get out of. I am not saying every case of ADD is like this, but some of them could easily be this.

~Katelyn