Feel like a jerk... school accommodations


I’m getting accommodations in college for the first time. I don’t think they are really helping other than my professors have been more understanding.

Generally, I feel like a jerk for getting them. I’ve been terrible on handing assignments in on time. My professors have been more laxed about it, and my brain just hears, “Well, we got more time… let’s play a game…”

I can’t seem to get on the ball and get my crap together.


Is your brain telling you to procrastinate even more?

Are you taking your medication?


I’m not on medication.


As you said, you are interpreting accommodation as almost a permission to goof off more. My guess is you know this not right and are feeling guilty about it and yet you can’t seem to do anything about it and round and round these thoughts go, making you feel worse and worse…

What works for me (at least some of the time) is to just dive in and get started. Don’t do any “getting ready to do the assignment rituals”, just focus on writing one sentence. Or even just write the start of a sentence (which can be a stock phrase like “once upon a time” if you are writing a story!). As soon you finish one sentence, write another.

If you are worried about getting distracted even with this much, try to have a friend sit with you and watch you write at least that one sentence. It’s like learning to ride a bike (where a parent stops holding your bike once you get going). Except that some of us have to learn riding this “bike” every damn time!

Good luck! You can do it!!


My college is super laid back so I have the same problem, I try and ignore the fact that I don’t have to hand it in on time and try and work to the original deadline and then when I inevertably don’t complete it on time I still have the extra time to finish up what’s needed.


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I’m sorry, but your questions are coming off rude. It is not polite to ask someone with ADHD if they are taking their medication, nor is it polite to say that I should be and further inquire why I am not.


It is important to know because if you are being medicated and you still feel like the medication is not helping you, then you would have to talk to your doctor about whether the dosage is appropriate. My questions were only asked with that genuine concern in mind.


Okay… thank you, but medication is not a relevant concern in my case.


Hi Andi,

I have the same problem with essay extensions, they are pretty much counter-productive for me.

However, extra time in a written exam? Wow! Just experienced this for the first time and this was the first time I could fairly calmly write until almost the last minute, rather than right up to the ‘pens down’ moment. I came out of this exam kind of relaxed, whereas the last exam before getting extra time: so stressed it took hours for my muscles in my whole upper body to loosen up.

This instantly got rid of my ‘feeling like a jerk for getting accommodations’ feeling! Hope you can feel less of a jerk soon too!


Aww, thank you. That sounds great and I’m happy for you. Hopefully, I’ll get there. Tough thing for me is most classes don’t do “tests”. They do what they call “problem sets” which is usually a serious of 3 questions that require a 5-10 page typed essay to answer. It’s suppose to simulate practical use of studied material. Ugh. I’ve been working with my professors to figure out how we can make things better, but still haven’t figured it out yet. Fingers crossed… at least this term is going better than the last, I just feel bad that I can’t get my assignments in.


I haven’t solved this problem yet either, and actual timed exams don’t figure highly on my syllabus either.

When I was an undergrad in the UK, many years ago, the deadlines were so strict that you lost marks for handing in late, and the number of marks lost went up by the minute/block of five minutes etc. So before the Internet, when essays had to be typed and handed in on paper, you would actually see the tallest, sportiest students racing across campus with other people’s essays as they could get there quicker.

Unfortunately, where I now study, the deadlines are pretty arbitrary. And I know that, so I can’t kid myself the date on the exam timetable is a hard deadline. No prizes for guessing what that does to my productivity … :roll_eyes: :flushed:

I haven’t yet worked out how to put this into practice, but what I really need is probably an earlier deadline rather than an extension. So I would still end up begging for an extension but that would actually mean being on time with the official one.

It’s problematic though, because to make it work it would have to be real, but if would be a bit strange and probably not legal to have stricter rules for students needing accommodations. It would look bad in the press for the college too :sweat_smile:


This is exactly my problem! Also, I actually did have one of my professors change my deadlines so that I hand in my assignments earlier than when they are suppose to be due. lol


Did that work? And if so, how did it work? I mean, how many days difference, and how did you persuade yourself that the new deadline was real?


I was undiagnosed and untreated at university but I feel your pain so so much. I took a year out halfway through my last year because I was so worried about my mental health and my dissertation.

Unfortunately, not a lot helped for me. I wouldn’t have dreamed of asking for extended deadlines because the extra time never helped, it was just more time to goof off and then get stressed and angry at myself. The only accommodation that would have helped me would be… less work :joy:

I did a few things myself that helped a bit, here’s a little list, maybe some of it will help you.

  • Instead of reading articles on my laptop screen like everyone else did, I printed them off at the library and went through with a highlighter to highlight key words. That was the only way I could take in the information in the huge amount of academic texts I had to read (I still only read about 5% of the required reading). It was bloody expensive and time consuming but so worth it.
  • If my brain was just refusing to process a sentence and I really needed it to, then I’d get a piece of paper and write the sentence, then try to find a way to break it down and re-phrase it so it made sense. After enough practice at that, I eventually got good enough to do it in my head without writing it down.
  • Eating fresh fruit and vegetables when it was crunch time and looking after my body by keeping hydrated REALLY helped. Also making sure I got fresh air while I was trying to work. Even if it’s cold, put on a coat and open a window, it helps.
  • I had a separate laptop (a cheap crap one) which I blocked all social media and distractions on. I’d take that to another room in my house or to the library to work. The change of environment helped and the separate uni laptop made it easier to filter distractions.
  • Write essay plans, seriously. It helps SOOOOOOOOOO MUCH. If you don’t know how to write one, or aren’t confident, ask your professor for help. There will always be someone around at university who will give you tips and guidance. I actually had an essay-writing class at both secondary school and university, and without getting used to writing essay plans, I would NEVER have graduated with a 2:1 as I did.
  • You may already do this, and it might be controversial… but don’t do anything that isn’t 100% necessary for your grades. I had a series of seminars every year where we had to read a different text every week, then discuss it with the group. I NEVER read it. I realised that while it made my seminar professor kinda annoyed, I could quietly get away with only reading the abstract, or a short review. We’d have about 2 marked pieces of work a year for the seminars and that’s the only time I got my head down and worked. I wasn’t bothered about annoying anyone - as long as you don’t get in real trouble, and it’s not an assessed piece of work, why bother? If you’re already struggling with the workload you’ve got, sack it off!!

All this said, I struggled immensely at university and had no real help from anyone, since I didn’t know I had ADHD and figured I was just lazy. Most of these techniques I didn’t even perfect until my final year, and even then I didn’t use them consistently. But I got there and you can too! Make sure you are kind to yourself and your body whenever you can be, be honest with yourself and your professors if their adjustments aren’t helping, and be proactive in thinking of/researching solutions. Best of luck to you!


It was suppose to be a two day difference. They class would have a paper due on Wednesdays and mine on Mondays. The idea was to force me to work on it over the weekend. Otherwise, I would convince myself that I still had until 4pm Wednesday without considering that the time through Monday-Wednesday was already allocated for other work.

It didn’t help, though. He ended up pushing the class’s papers to be due on Friday, and then I wasn’t getting instructions for the assignments in time to do them for Monday.

Not to mention that if my professors are relaxed about the deadline with me, then the system doesn’t really follow through because I know that.emphasized text


It’s interesting. I think I have a lot of anxiety about writing papers. So, what I recently started doing for my assignments is simulating a test where I have a set amount of time to hand write an answer. The second I removed the “paper” aspect, it was like all the anxiety melted away.

I think the reason why this works is that it puts boundaries on my answer. A paper takes however long it takes, but a test is much more restrictive. It forces me to write only the things I find most relevant/important, and restricts me from going down a rabbit whole and worrying too much on the structure, grammar, ect.


My essay plan was basically a bullet point list of the points I wanted to make in the essay and in what order. Each bullet point would be a paragraph. I’d plan roughly how many words each paragraph was going to be, and once you’ve got that, you can set yourself time limits for each paragraph. So if it was a comparative paper, it’d be like this:

  • Introduction: talk about the subject and the question you’re answering, 400 words.
  • Paragraph one: talk about the thing. 600 words.
  • Paragraph two: talk about the other thing. 600 words.
  • Paragraph three: compare the things in one respect. 600 words.
  • Paragraph four: compare the things in another respect. 600 words.
  • Conclusion: sum it all up. 400 words.

Breaking it into chunks like that is so helpful, it means you get your little dopamine boost after every paragraph rather than feeling like you have to complete the whole paper in one go.

I tried many times to time myself like it was a test, but it never worked! I rebelled against myself too much :sweat_smile: