Sunday, November 21, 2010

ADD/ADHD utopia

I some how have been kind of lucky at the college I currently attend. I got to West Valley College in Saratoga, California. Click here to see the home page of my college. It is a california community college. I have an AA degree from a different community college about 10 years ago. So my general ed has been taken care of. I have taken mostly math and science classes since I started there in the summer of 2007 or 2008. I have shared my ADHD with most of my instructors and often with my classmates.

I have recieved some of the greatest support from my instructors and classmates and friends from West Valley College (WVC). I use the DESP, Disability Education Support Program, services there. I receive test accommodations and notetaking services. WVC is the only college I've been to, where I have consistently been treated with respect and equality. I haven't felt discriminated by the instructors. I haven't received verbal abuse and harrassment from my instructors.

I have been able to talk openly with my instructors about my ADHD and life challenges, I have received an amazing amount of grace from them when I needed it. Two of my physics instructors and one math instructors are my facebook friends. My current math instructor has been supportive and encouraging. She has allowed me extensions on my homework. My Java instructor has ADD/ADHD himself and we have had conversations about our ADD/ADHD right in front of others. I even talked about my accomodations in front of others.

I know how blessed I am to have been able go have instructors of such high quality and respectful. WVC has almost been an ADD/ADHD utopia. I love my instructors.

Friday, November 19, 2010

imperfect perfection

my imperfect perfection comes from years of hard work, determination, pain, moving forward, bravery, developing an emotional pain tolerance that allows you to thrive even in the midst of pain and healing. it comes from an understanding of all that is important in life and knowing what is not important. it takes throwing out the junk, the hand me downs, cleaning out and remodeling conventional wisdom and naysayers. it takes me being foolish enough to believe even when no one else believes. it takes being crazy enough and strong enough not to come crashing down when things don't work continuously. it takes angioplasty of the arteries science and cliches that we have consumed for years and possibly generations.

what in the world am i talking about? i am talking about redefining success and redefining age appropriateness. redefining the rules of going to college, redefining the college age, avoiding all the constant comparisons up against people who don't have your life, your challenges or much in common with you other than being in the same class.

Failure isn't getting a bad grade in a class, it isn't having to repeat a class, it isn't getting fired from a job and it isn't missing the mark. It isn't losing your social networks, it isn't coming getting sick or finding out you have a disorder or having challenges. it isn't having to repeatedly having to struggle in some part of your life. Failure is giving up on something w/ out trying again, not learning a new skill,  not developing strategies, it's not doing anything.

I don't consider myself a failure if i have to repeat a class, i don't consider myself a failure if it takes me years and even a decade to develop a strategy or a skill. I continue on perfecting my imperfection, this is what has given me all the success I've had so far and it will continue to bring me success. I had to repeat everyone of my math classes until I got to multivariate calculus and differential equations. I manage to get through my first year of general chemistry and that took me more than 2 tries to get through it. I rarely give up on anything.

My imperfect perfection!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


These Mondays can happen essentially any day of the week, but my most recent incident happened this Monday. I forgot my laptop charger/plug, my TI-84+ silver edition calculator, my homework list and my yellow highlighter all at home. I have classes in the early afternoon and evening on Mondays. I was actually lucky enough to get a ride to school this time. I usually take the bus to school and back, except for Monday nights. This is a 2-3 hour bus ride each way. So I can't just go home, get my cord, and return to school.

I was fortunate enough to have a classmate ask me to turn in his homework for him. This at least allowed me to know which problems I needed to complete my homework. Also because I had left my calculator at home, I had to resort to using Cramster in order to get my row reduced matrices. This is a regular function of the calculator. Cramster is a website that has worked out solutions to many textbooks. If used wisely it can be a big help. In truly ADD fashion, I admit I have waited to do my homework until the day it was due. I am not proud of that, but I have been battling a lack of motivation this semester. This is in part due to the fact I haven't gone to the local library all semester like i did last semester. Last semester my brother worked a different shift, so the car was available during the day than it is this semester. I would just go to the library this semester, but I like to study with a table fan, which I have to lug even more stuff on the bus than just my backpack.

Now because I left my laptop plug at home, I had to conserve the battery power to make sure it lasted all day. It has a 3 hour battery life I belief. It actually caused me to read more of my textbooks than I probably would have done with out this little bit of ADD forgetfulness. I buy the sharpie brand liquid highlighters that come in a pack of ten different colors, so missing one color of highlighters will irritate me slightly.

The odd thing I apparently had difficulty finding stuff that i actually brought with me, I might have been holding it and didn't even realize it. I even forgot what I was looking for once I was searching and wonder why I couldn't remember what I was looking for. I don't know why my brain just didn't want to wake up and function, but it didn't.

The difference from when I first started working on my ADD/ADHD and now is how well I manage these days. Even when my AD/HD, my hormones, my health, or my mood is off, I can still manage to be somewhat productive and move forward. Really if you think about it, MOST ADD/ADHD MOMENTS ARE NOT THAT SERIOUS. None of these things killed me or anyone else. I was prepared to talk with my homework situation with my Linear Algebra instructor if  needed. I have learned how to be my own best advocate rather than being my own worst enemy.

I do recommend communicating with your instructors and let them know what is going on. Try to choose instructors who are nonjudgemental and are willing to listen and learn about you. I have been very fortunate to get support from most of my instructors at West Valley College, where I go to school. I actually talk openly about my ADHD with them and communicate what is going on in my life. I have found that most of them have been willing to work with me and adjust when I've needed it. I have taken nothing but math and science since I started attending West Valley College, and I have gotten a lot of support from my instructors and I have felt like I have been treated as an equal by my instructors and my classmates.