When I Finally Told My Professor About My ADHD


Dear Professor,

For the first two classes of the semester, I arrived to your class 30 minutes late because I forgot the class started at 6 p.m., not 6:30.

Every week I left something in your classroom, and when I went back to retrieve what I left behind you just smiled and said, “This seems to be a tradition for you.”

Then I completely forgot about a presentation I had to do, and when I asked you if I could switch presentation dates with someone else, you said nothing. You just grabbed your laptop and motioned for me to come outside with you. You informed me I was currently failing the class and showed me I how I’d lost track of the writing prompt for two writing assignments and gone off-topic, so you’d given me no credit for one and partial credit for the other.

But you said it in a way that wasn’t discouraging or belittling.

Despite this, you agreed to let me have an extension for my project. You had no idea I was dealing with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and that this was an extremely embarrassing moment forme. You also didn’t see me fighting back tears with all my might as I began beating myself up for these things. My disability isn’t something I like anyone to see, especially my teachers. That embarrassment was enough to make sure I worked to my highest level. I earned 100 percent on every assignment after that.

When I stayed with you after class one night and admitted I have ADHD, you just smiled and said, “Don’t let it define you.”

I look back at that and laugh because you were right.

Not once did you see me as my disability. You saw a passionate student with a lot of potential (I know now no one else sees me as my weaknesses either, so why should I?)

Thank you for not judging me.

Thank you for showing me kindness when I wasn’t being kind to myself.

Thank you for reminding me once more that I own my weaknesses, not the other way around.

The Mighty is asking the following: Share a conversation you’ve had that changed the way you think about disability, disease or mental illness. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

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