10 Situations That Describe What ADHD Is Like: Virtual Learning Edition


When Governor Ducey announced we wouldn’t be returning to campus until October, I got a
little panicky. After talking with some of my friends who also have ADD and ADHD, we were
mostly on the same page. Although each person with an attention disorder has different
experiences, we agreed that we would need to make some adjustments to keep up with school
work and maintain good mental health. It’s still been difficult for me, but over the past 3 weeks
I’ve discovered some things that help me during the school day… and there are still some things
that will always be a part of my daily life no matter how much I want to get rid of them.

1. If you see me on the Zoom during class, I’m probably swinging in my chair and
twitching. This is because I fidget all the time. After years of public school I taught
myself how to mask the random movements that I normally don’t control. Imagine how
distracting that would be in a real classroom. Now that I’m in the comfort of my own
bedroom, I don’t have to censor myself. For instructional time on Zoom, I keep a stress
ball next to me, which helps calm me down.

2. I always have stuff on my desk so I can see everything I might need. It’s not exactly
“organized”, but it feels like it to me. However, sometimes my clutter includes things I
don’t need. Currently there is 1 cup, 1 mug, and a water bottle on my desk. I don’t
remember how long two of them have been there.

3. Sticky notes! My assignments MUST go straight from Canvas, to sticky notes, to the
bottom of my desktop computer because it’s more likely I’ll remember I have the
assignment. This is another example of needing to see things in front of me, or else I’ll forget about them. I have lost way too many points by completing an assignment and then
getting sidetracked and not submitting it… but thinking I did.

4. An assignment that takes a normal person 30 minutes to complete, takes me 2 hours.
There are probably 4 other tasks I will venture off to do in the middle of a “study

5. I set a timer on my phone and take it with me when I get breaks during zoom, or I will
actually forget to come back to class and end up eating a sandwich on my couch.

6. Opening TikTok on my phone or doodling on a random piece of paper during class and
forgetting to pay attention to the teacher is a daily occurrence. I always message them
after class if I feel like I might have missed something important.

7. I keep the fan in my room in the highest setting. The sound, much like white noise,
drowns out anything that could be happening outside my window or somewhere in my
house. Plus it keeps my room cooler because, you know… Phoenix.

8. I really benefit from being in a social environment, which is the exact opposite of virtual
learning. The less social time I get, the more hyperactive I am so after my last class of the
day is the time where I dance in my kitchen like a maniac to get all the energy out.

9. … aaaand now it’s nap time. My sudden bursts of energy are often followed by

10. Staring contests with my wall. It’s exactly what it sounds like, and it happens at least 3
times a day. I’ve zoned out for anywhere from 1 to 10 minutes at a time.

Overall, I have good days, better days, and not so good days. I am trying to take them all one day
at a time, remembering that I’m not the only one out there struggling with this new way of