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5 Common Experiences for ADHD Students at University

Every ADHD student is different, but when it comes to university, there’s plenty of shared experiences. Here are 5 common experiences among ADHD students who go to university:

1. Your daily routine falls apart

For many students, it’s tough to stick to a routine in a brand new, unstructured environment. There’s no one to remind you to get to bed at a good hour, or make sure there’s healthy food available.

For a little while, you might not even notice the effects of your unstructured lifestyle, but eventually it catches up to you. If you notice that you're finding it harder and harder to stay focused or maintain your classwork, you might want to see what's

2. Your performance is based on your interests

The classes that you are super interested in? You do great in those. The ones you find boring? So much more difficult to focus.

If something doesn’t catch your interest, it can feel almost impossible to focus or sit through a lecture. Sometimes seeing the difference in your performance and grades between classes can be really frustrating.

3. Classic time management struggles

ADHD students at university often struggle with time management, making it difficult to get everything done on time. Some of this has to do with planning ahead, some of it has to do with figuring out how to prioritise tasks.

Often ADHD students don’t feel motivated to complete an assignment until it’s almost deadline time. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but if you’re constantly wrecking your sleep schedule to stay up all night finishing an assignment, that will most likely negatively impact your mental health.

4. Rejection sensitivity goes into overdrive

Making friends can feel extra difficult when rejection, or even the possibility of rejection, is so painful for many ADHD people. It’s common to worry that you’ll be “too much” for people, or be hyper-alert for signs that someone doesn’t like you.

Oftentimes these are unfounded anxieties, but they’re based on very real feelings of rejection many ADHD people experienced early in life because of the different ways we sometimes express ourselves and react to things.

5. You're way too hard on yourself

ADHD people worry. Constantly. You’re very likely going to feel frustrated with yourself at some point during university.

It’s easy to beat yourself up, to call yourself lazy, or deficient or other not-very-nice things when you feel this way. This is a common experience for ADHD people.

Try to remember to be kind, patient and gentle with yourself. You may or may relate to all of these, and that’s totally fine!

Want neurodivergent-friendly support?

Join the Uncommon Beta community and get access to events, resources, and a friendly, supportive community of other ADHD and otherwise neurodivergent university students.

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