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Archived ADDvice Newsletters

August 2005

Welcome to ADDvice for ADD-Friendly Living

Each month, ADDvice will provide tips, tools, and strategies to help you live well despite your ADD. Many of our readers are parents of high school students who are or will be soon off to college. In this issue, we discuss ADD-Friendly ways to make the process of moving from home to dorm easier on everyone. Our guest writer, Judi Jerome, LICSW, LADC of MINDFULNESS MATTERS COACHING is an expert on this topic. You can visit her website at

AD/HD Friendly Ways to Migrate From Home to Dorm - Have What You Need and Need What You Have

You stand in your bedroom staring at the empty trunk, suitcases, and stacks of boxes. While looking around, you mentally see all your other stuff scattered about the house and wonder how you can fit your whole life into these restrictive receptacles to bring to a dorm room that is the size of your parents' walk-in closet. AND, you are most likely going to be sharing that little room with another person and another set of personal belongings.

People with AD/HD often pack for a weekend and take enough for 10 days. Visual overload is a common challenge for ADDers. Choosing is difficult and feeling safe and comfortable with those choices even more difficult. Common positive traits of AD/HD, such as excitement, exuberance, energy, and rush of ideas, when packing, can lead to over-stimulation and just as you grab for the gusto of life, you grab for too many clothes, shoes, blank CDs, and school supplies.

Mixed feelings about leaving home can lead to wanting to bring everything you own with you. You will slowly be making your room at college into a home that will reflect who you are as a college student. Your High School persona will be left behind with many of your possessions.

Tip#1: How to Choose

"Well, I decided by looking at the pile of crap I was going to bring and then decided what I could REALLY do without. First pack the essentials like hangers, soap, shampoo, sheets, towels, etc. Then pack clothes, but just the ones you really wear and leave the rest behind. After the first year I figured out that I only need to bring 2 weeks worth of clothes and that is it." - Jessica Breen, University of New Hampshire

Before you go on your spending spree at "Bed Bath and Beyond" and "Linens N Things", coordinate with your roommate what you each will be bringing. No need for two coffee makers, mini-microwaves, or mini-fridges. Cut down the number of boxes to 3-4 big ones and use 3-4 "stackable milk crates". You are sharing a small closet and your dresser will also be small, so the trunk and ONE suitcase will be used as storage, but they will also take up space.

Tip #2: What to Choose

The school will give you a list of things to bring. Many of them are just suggestions and you do not need to bring everything on the list. Make a pile, or better yet, a list of the "must haves" and then "maybes". Pack the "maybes" away in a box for you parents to mail to you, or if you're close by, to pick up if you find you really need them.

  • How many pairs of jeans do you really need, or actually wear? Same goes for tee shirts and sweaters.
  • If your mother tells you to bring something you never wear because you look good in it, don't.
  • Leave your most expensive jewelry at home!
  • Laptops take up less room then desktops.
  • Bring a printer, surge protector, LAN cable and CD notebook-binder for storage.
  • Burn mixes of your favorite songs instead of bringing ALL your CDs.
  • Yes, you need to bring a land phone in addition to your cell phone.
  • Photographs of family and friends can be scanned into your computer and used as a screen saver.
  • Leave your stereo at home. Your computer plays music. Small external speakers for your computer can be bought but are not a necessity.
  • A good sturdy backpack.
  • There won't be much time for TV, but someone always has one, so don't bother! Plus, it is a great way to meet your neighbors!

Tip #3: What to Do With It

Stash your flattened boxes in the back of the closet to avoid the supermarket search at the end of the year. Your suitcase is great for storing your extra set of clean sheets and towels and can be kept under your bed, or in your closet. Your trunk is a very useful table top as well as a great place to store seasonal clothes and jackets. Lofts are in! Check with your RA to make sure they're allowed. The local Home Depot can help you with building a loft. It doubles the available space on your side of the room.

And Finally:

"I bought separate legal pads for note taking and folders for handouts to bring to each class. I bought a huge notebook, put dividers in it for each class and put absolutely everything into it! I put a date on everything. All of my syllabi, tests, quizzes, homework, handouts, labs, etc, all get put in according to class and in order of dates. Before a test, I rip the notes out of the pad, punch holes in them (but you can also buy legal pads with 3 holes) and integrate them into my binder. Everything for each class is then together and in the right order for studying." - Jessica Breen, University of New Hampshire

Colored file folders are very helpful, as are different colored legal pads. On your computer, in My Documents, create a folder for each class you take to save your papers and research in. At the end of each semester, you can burn the folders onto a CD/DVD for storage and start fresh. Remember to back up all your computer work as you go along, and watch out for those computer viruses!

Have you read these?

They may also be useful in helping you better understand and deal with your AD/HD

ADD and the College Student: A Guide for High School and College Students with Attention Deficit Disorder
Edited by Patricia O. Quinn, M.D.

Survival Guide for College Students With Add or Ld
by Kathleen G. Nadeau, Ph.D.

ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life
by Kathleen Nadeau, Ph.D. and Judith Kolberg

Announcing TWO ADDITIONS to the Bookstore!


A new issue in the Focus Series: College - Achieving Your Goal

This 32 page downloadable booklet contains articles for students and parents focusing on how to successfully make the transition and deal with the various issues that arise at college for those with ADHD. Click here to learn more/order


ADD: Transition to College - Passport to Success Video

This exciting video offers advice from experts as well as students, who have found the keys to successfully address their ADHD often after some painful lessons (24 minutes). Click here to order


Special offer! Order Both the Video and Focus & Save


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Add-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life

ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life

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ADD and the College Student

ADD and the College Student

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