Margaret, 23, tells how she thrived with her challenges:
I have dyslexia, ADHD, and anxiety. I had a really difficult time finding the right medication and for a long time, I simply felt stupid. I couldn’t retain information in class or when I was studying. It was incredibly frustrating growing up and feeling as if I couldn’t be successful, not matter how hard I tried. I had to develop skills to cope with my lack of focus. When I finally found a medication that worked for me and had developed the beginning of what would become my meditation, mindfulness, and yoga practices, it was if everything fell into place.
I really excelled in college. I graduated Cum Laude, was a member of the English Honor Society, was the editor-in-chief of Colonnades Literary and Arts and the president of the meditation society. I
I rewrote all my notes from class, I often recorded lectures. I studied a lot and meditated and ran often as a way to maintain focus. I realized half way through college that I worked best in the mornings and while sometimes I work well late at night I have the most energy to combat the ADHD at the start of the day. I developed a morning routine and started spacing out my assignments. Some of my anxiety centers around starting and finishing tasks. I love to run and practice yoga so I found ways to incorporate those practices into my day. For instance, on a stressful day, I would bike home around lunch, go for a run, bike back to school, and eat before my next class. I found it was really helpful to hit the reset button whenever I could to help myself refocus instead of being afraid to take a break because I might lose my train of thought. It is as much about self-discipline as it is about believing you are capable. You cannot have one without the other.
As a recent college graduate, and having relocated across the country, I am finding that one must retain these skills and practices outside of the classroom to continue to be successful and also keep from burning out, or stopping productivity altogether. These skills are as important in an academic environment as they are in the post-graduate world.”