I'm Angelina and I'm a STRUGGLING LAW STUDENT with ADHD

Hello Everyone,

My name is Angelina and I am having a hard time in law school with ADHD. I love the material I am studying, but I have a hard time getting started. Last semester, my first semester of law school, I didn’t do so well. I ended up on academic probation and I am so scared of being academically dismissed. I am trying so hard but my brain doesn’t kick into focus on the level it needs to until nighttime. I hate that because then it is hard to wake up. Our final grade is our only grade. I would appreciate any tips or encouragement. I am on medication and do have accommodations. However, I am still struggling. Thank you all so much for hearing me out :orange_heart:

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Welcome to the HowToADHD forums @angelinamarie5256 !

I can certainly give you encouragement. A lot of us here will. I wish I could give you some good tips, too. If I think of anything, I’ll make sure to post. (I was just listening to an audiobook that had a lot of good ideas in it, but I can’t recall any of it right now.)

It’s late night for me, so I’ll check back in the morning.

Way to go on getting into Law School! If you can get accepted, I’m certain you have what it takes to get through! What area of law interests you the most? (I like constitutional law, but I’m definitely not pursuing a legal career… I found my niche to be Information Technology.)

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I would definitely recommend talking with the faculty or your academic advisor directly too to try and let the know a little bit about your struggles and make them aware. I spent the last 2.5 years of my undergrad on academic probation and involving them proactively was helpful for me.

I also found that for me I had to adapt the work to my own rhythm. I did a lot of my work at night, and I did end up sacrificing sleep a lot, but I ended up setting multiple alarms in the morning and making sure to put my alarm far away from the bed wherever I slept.

I’m a huge procrastinator and that never changed no matter how proactive I tried to be. I think that not getting behind was always a challenge, and I did end up taking a couple of incompletes in courses to give myself more time to finish. I think Law School is pretty intense, so I don’t have any specific advice.

I can relate to your struggles, but I don’t have any great tips or tricks other than to work within your rhythm and to talk with people proactively. Welcome and good luck!

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Welcome @angelinamarie5256 to this ADHD forum !

Congratulations on getting into Law school !

I did Postgraduate study ! I scraped through, passed the course on appeal in 2000. I did not know I had ADHD until 2020.

If you can afford it , maybe get an ADHD coach !

Get all the accommodations for ADHD !

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@angelinamarie5256

I would encourage you with that in mind! If you need special accommodations, ask for them . . . We all learn differently and may need atypical (but helpful) assistance! keep us posted. And welcome!

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@angelinamarie5256 as

I’ve worked at a public university for the last 10 years (where I was a student for 4 years before that), and so I know that sometimes it’s just a matter of asking the right department. At my university, there are at least three departments which are capable of providing some assistance to students with ADHD. When in doubt, check with the Dean’s office or the Dean of Students’ office about available services. (I wish I’d known these services and about my ADHD when I was a student there, because I may have actually graduated if I’d gotten the right help.)

  • If such services aren’t available, or aren’t adequate, you might consider hiring an ADHD coach (life coach, career coach) on your own, as an investment in your Law degree and career.

Other strategies that may help: get a Study Buddy or join/form a study group. (It may simply the accountability of working alongside someone else that helps, in which case a “body double” doesn’t even have to be another law student.) https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ni9biXNDZe0


The audiobook I’ve been listening to lately is called “How to Have a Good Day”, by economist-turned-psychologist Caroline Webb. She lists many good performance and productivity strategies, and she explains why they work. A few I’ve gleaned include:

  • Start every day with a decision to commit to three A’s: Aim, Attitude, and Attention.
  • Find a personal “Why”. (See also, Simon Sinek’s “What’s your Why?”. He has a lot of YouTube videos, so you don’t need to read his book, but it’s also a good book.)
  • Create your own “When-Then” routines (not “if-then”, because the psychology works better with saying “When” than “if”).
  • Create “approach goals” for yourself (rather than “avoidance goals”). State what positive behaviors you want to adopt. The author suggests that you make a daily check-list of these goals, so that you get the positive feedback that will help motivate you.
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I am not in law but I’m a doctor, I guess medicine is also a difficult degree in a similar way! The thing that helped me most was working/revising with friends. The best was literally revising together, talking through things/ writing things out on whiteboards/making mind maps/silly songs/acting things out/finding silly ways to remember things together. But also if other people weren’t up for that just having a ‘body double’ was invaluable (if you haven’t heard the term it’s that having someone else present can be super helpful for people with ADHD and just their presence can be enough to to remind/prompt us to work). Being at the library can do the same thing if friends aren’t up for it but then you’ve got to motivate yourself to get to the library which isn’t always easy😅.
Try different things and see how you best revise too(assuming you have tests you have to revise for). Is it mind mapping, copying out important bits of text, making up silly stories/songs/mnemonics, making flash cards and then testing yourself or maybe a combination is helpful! Are there any YouTube videos/podcasts etc you can watch? Try and figure out little things that make it easier - eg I usually like working/revising with music on (in headphones if im using body doubling to remind me not to talk to them lol), with snacks :yum::rofl:, in comfy clothes so I’m not going to feel bothered and in a quite comfy but not too comfy chair at a desk if I’m doing my own work​:rofl:. When possible I still kept up with exercise/hobbies because that helps me feel more focused/motivated.
As the others said definitely make sure you have all the accommodations possible. Jessica did a video on accommodations in uni if you haven’t watched it! Think of specific things that might help you and don’t assume your uni will know exactly what to provide necessarily! And I also agree with making people aware and asking for help, the worst they can do is say no and you’re no worse off 🤷
Good luck, keep us updated :slight_smile:

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