ADHD, Honours and Me

by Robyn Lesch

I’m tired. I’m lonely. I’m bored. I’m happy. I’m excited. I’m torn. Honours has been a wild ride – the best year of my life and simultaneously the most emotionally, academically and mentally taxing year of my life. I knew it would be crazy from start to finish, but I wasn’t prepared for this. Studying in a pandemic – where university is basically a subscription streaming service? Madness.

I can be the smartest and dumbest person in the room, the hardest working lazy person, the most introverted extrovert, the most distracted person who can tear a concept apart into a million tiny details and then reassemble it into total clarity in a second, all at the same time. One of the odd things about ADHD is that if I’m unmotivated, walking through glue, and I try to push myself harder, the glue actually becomes deeper. So the harder I work, the harder it becomes. And either I manage to get there through supreme, superhuman effort, or I just get bogged down in the glue. Too exhausted to go on. Motivation happens in short bursts. No one is motivated all the time, what separates me from most is discipline.

That being said, in honours, I’m tired and overwhelmed. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. Sometimes I feel like there’s so much work to be done and not enough of me to get it done. I’m lonely. With all these feelings and the loss of the social element of university due to online learning, we’ve lost the connection as students that bonds us. We don’t get to talk to one another as we would in person and as such you don’t form proper, authentic connections with people. You don’t know where to turn when you’re stuck without feeling like you’re bothering someone because all you have is text. On the other hand, I’m happy because I finally get to focus on my area of interest completely and excited because the realm of possibilities seems infinite. This is what keeps me disciplined. I have a goal and I will achieve it.

However, I think more provision should be made for mental health related issues – there should be more support for students, particularly non neurotypicals. I think educators should be more empathetic towards their students, especially in a pandemic and lastly, because of the lack of social interaction due to COVID-19, I think universities should put more emphasis on teambuilding activities to boost morale and develop and nurture interactions among students.

In closing, if you take nothing from this reflection but this, may it be that the devil works hard, some people work harder, but no one is working harder than non-neurotypicals striving to reach their goals competing in a world with odds stacked against them. May setbacks never stop us. 

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