Coach of the Week – Casey Dixon

3 Ways to Restart after a Disastrous Semester

As an ADHD Coach who works with college students, I have heard many stories from students with ADHD who struggle to succeed. The good news is that students with ADHD can help themselves recover from a disastrous semester. Hit the restart button by trying these three suggestions:

  1. Ask for help.

Find an ADHD Coach to work with weekly. An ADHD Coach will help you to take charge of your semester and do things differently. Do not assume that this semester will be different just because it is a different semester. Choose at least one thing to do differently in an intentional way. Your ADHD Coach can collaborate with you to decide what you need to do differently, how to do it, and how to stick with it.

Your coach will also help you to understand ADHD and how it affects you so that you can manage it better. Tell your parents what they can do to help (even if that means doing less). Enlist your friends to support you rather than distract you. Go to the writing center or get a tutor. Go in and talk to someone in disability services. Go to your teachers’ office hours.

  1. Deal with stress.

Feeling stuck? Frustrated? Panicked? Ashamed? Have one or two good tactics for the emotion that derails you the most often. You can work with your ADHD Coach or a counselor to develop tactics that work for you, or you can use ones that you know work well for you but that you often forget to use when you’re in an emotional moment. Writing down the tactics that work can help.

Try mindfulness for ADHD. Mindfulness can help you to pay attention, remember, and regulate your own actions. It also helps with stress. Try MindfullyADD, which is designed specifically for people with ADHD and features doable attention training tools.

  1. Fall tall.

Seriously. Instead of setting really high expectations and falling short, lower your expectations and fall tall. I am not suggesting lowered expectations because students with ADHD are incapable of attaining success. I know that people with ADHD can achieve high levels of success! I am suggesting lowered expectations because students with ADHD actually perform better and achieve more when they slightly lower their expectations. Take an easy class or two. Aim for B’s instead of A’s. Only join one club instead of three. Don’t audition for everything. There is hardly anything that will ruin your performance more effectively than setting unreasonable expectations when you have ADHD. 

And, along those lines, don’t expect your next semester to be perfect, even if you have made all of these changes. School is for learning, not just about Chem and Psych, but also about your self. If you ask for help, deal with stress, and fall tall, school will be less and less of a disaster, and easier and more fun over time.

For more tips, you can follow me on Twitter @DixonLifeCoach  or Facebook at Dixon Life Coaching  for my regular posts on #ADHDinCollege.

About Casey

Casey Dixon is an experienced ADHD Coach with a unique focus on science-based, innovative strategies and support for college students.

She founded Dixon Life Coaching in 2005, a natural progression after a 15-year career supporting students and adults with learning disabilities and ADHD in schools and universities. With a national reputation for helping clients excel in authentic and creative ways using ADHD-informed approaches, Casey is recognized as an ICF Professional Certified Coach, Senior Certified ADHD Coach, and Board Certified Coach. Her hallmark is reliably delivering direct results without judgment.  Click here to find Casey in the JST Directory and connect with her.

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