Stressed and Looking for Help
Hello, friends. As the title to this post suggests, I’m looking for help/advice. I don’t want to go into too much detail, but here’s my situation.
I have struggled with symptoms associated with ADHD for the majority of my life, but this has only recently become an issue for me. I don’t know how many times I’ve been called an underachiever in my lifetime, but it’s probably more than 100. That said, I always managed to make decent grades in high school (B’s and C’s), with some improvement in college (B’s with the occasional A), and I’ve always been a very strong standardized test-taker.
What follows is in no way a boast and certainly not something I would ever say in person, but merely an attempt to illustrate my situation so that someone might be able to help me—I’m a smart person. Before I graduated college, I scored very high on the LSAT (Law School Admissions Test), which earned me a scholarship to attend a well-regarded law school. This was the first time I was ever really… excited about the prospect of academic work because I can see myself doing this sort of thing in my career down the road.
Since I began school here, I’ve done very well, but at a price. You see, in law school, the grade you receive for each class is based solely upon the final exam taken at the end of the semester. There are no daily/weekly assignments, no bonus points, or anything like that. You do your reading for the day, go to class, and repeat until it’s time to take the ONE test. I find a lot of the material stimulating, but the academic format of my program makes me hate my life. I constantly, CONSTANTLY fail to even open my book to read for class until 5:00 A.M. on the day of that class. I just can’t make it happen before that time. Bear in mind that we usually have anywhere from 50-100+ pages of reading to do for a day’s worth of classes. I feel stressed and unrested 0 of the time.
As you can probably imagine, I don’t always (RARELY) complete the entire reading for any of my classes. This leads to me arriving at the end of the semester very behind the rest of the students in the class. So, I basically go sleepless for 2-3 weeks, cramming this information into my head so that I have it all with me as I take the final, only to forget it shortly thereafter due to my lack of repetition with the material. I could tell you very little about the classes I’ve taken thus far. That said, I usually perform very well on these exams, as they are almost entirely essay-based, and, for whatever reason, the professors find my writing persuasive. As a result, I’m ranked very high in our class, according to GPA.
This is the first time in my life that I’m really making good grades. This summer, I clerked (interned, basically) at large law firm. They were very pleased with the assignments I turned in, but criticized me for the length of time it took me to get those assignments turned in. I don’t blame them. For probably fifty percent or more of my day, I would just sit at my computer, thinking about anything except the work I was supposed to be completing. I can’t explain it. I really try to focus, but this just happens to me a lot.
After receiving this criticism and considering the fact that this could really affect my employment opportunities down the road, I asked my family doctor about my situation and what I should do. I hate it when people “self-diagnose” themselves with this or that condition, but I had begun to wonder if I have ADHD or something similar. The short of what he told me is that I’m not the kind of person that has ADHD, referring specifically to the facts that I’m performing well in law school, played college basketball, and have never had an “issue” with this sort of thing before. He attributed my situation to poor organizational skills. I thanked him for his time and left, but I don’t know how seriously he took me.
I guess I’m just wondering if any of you have had similar experiences or have advice for me. I don’t want to go through another year of this, but I don’t even know if ADHD is my problem.
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