From despair to hope: an academic success story
As an academic coach, early November is typically calm. Students have established a solid routine and have a pretty good idea of where they stand before exams. It was during this ‘calm before the finals storm’ that I received a call from a distraught parent who was worried her daughter would fail, and found me as a last resort. I usually don’t take on students so close to the end of the semester, but when I do, I know that I’m potentially in for a tough situation. Sarah turned out to be one of my most demanding coaching experiences—with a successful ending.
Sarah was not only challenged by attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, but had comorbid diagnoses of depression and migraines. She had spent the semester in the doctor’s office trying to figure out a medical plan. The compounded stress of these challenges and being in an academic hole left her feeling hopeless. She wanted to drop out of college—I told her to hold that thought until after finals.
Sharing your story with compassionate professors
With only four weeks of the semester left, we got to work right away. We determined exactly how and if she could salvage her grades. Using her resources through the disability center, flexibility on the part of her professors, and my coaching, we made an action plan. There was no room for any mistakes as her grades were hovering in the 40% range.
I’ve known very compassionate professors in the past who will make exceptions for students who share the circumstances that brought about their challenges. I strongly suggested Sarah tell her story. She acknowledged that she had little to lose at this point, and agreed to reach out.
Sarah was hesitant and dealing with feelings of shame and embarrassment. We worked through these emotions and contacted each professor one by one. It took a great deal of courage on her part to share her struggles. She let her professors know what was happening and informed them that she hired a coach and had a team of doctors. She then asked if they would allow her to make-up past work.
Making the grade through coaching and hard work
Sarah was successful in working out a plan with three of her professors and dropped one class which she picked up the following semester. Knowing where she stood and what grades she could earn if she stuck to a very strict 30-day plan, we set to work. Together, we created action plans and devised strategies with accountability check-ins every step of the way. Her goal was to earn passing grades in the three classes. Two of the classes were part of her degree program, which meant that she needed at least a C.
Through Sarah’s hard work and determination, she passed the classes and avoided academic probation. She took a much-needed break over the holidays and restored her confidence in her academic abilities—and registered for spring classes.
A message from Sarah’s mom
“I just wanted to thank you for everything you did for Sarah last semester! You saved us thousands of dollars by her not having to retake more classes. She is thankful to be working with you again this semester and so are we!”
“It’s hard for parents to spend more money while they’re already paying for college and potentially other therapists and treatment, but I think promoting the value you provide and even cost savings is helpful for parents to think about the big picture and long-term. That doesn’t even mention the skills you’re teaching them that will likely transfer to other areas of their life, including future jobs—and their improved confidence!”
M.Ed., BCC, CSS and Co-founder of Thrivister
As co-founder of Thrivister, my purpose and passion is to help young adults with executive function challenges to thrive: manage, organize and be successful in their academics, careers and life. My successful EFS Coaching Method and journey as an ADHD coach, career service specialist, author, blogger, podcaster and board-certified coach for over a decade, has laid the foundation for our platform.
We believe opportunities are plentiful for someone with executive function challenges when they have the support and resources behind them. It is our mission through Thrivister to help as many people as possible be successful academically and into their future careers and life.
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