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She doesnt try, She must not want to get good grades, Shes just lazy. Thats what my parents and teachers always thought about me. Every time a report came home my mom would give that sigh, that look, and then of course the speech.
I just dont understand. Why dont you do your homework? she would ask.
I dont know, I would reply, every time.
What do you mean you dont know?
I just dont know.
I wasnt exactly a bad student; I just never did my homework.
I always paid attention in class and got good grades on tests. Whenever I did turn in an assignment or project, I aced it. Without regularly turning in my homework, however, my grades were consistently low. My mother never believed me when I said that I didnt know. The truth is: I didnt. I would sit down and try to do the work, with my book and papers and pens and pencils and everything else that I needed.
The work just never got done. I really tried, and I wanted to do well. I hated being the one that never had a paper to pass to the person on my left.
I have no idea what went through my mind when I sat down to do the work. Shouldnt I think about what happened last time I skipped my homework? Shouldnt I remember all the times I got grounded for it, and how much I hate not having my work during class the next day? Shouldnt I remember how embarrassing it is when my friends compare grades and Im the only one who doesnt want to say? My family began calling me apathetic.
My teachers had given up trying to help me remember to do my homework. Everyone thought that I just didnt want to do it. They were all sick of being confused, and so was I. So I began to believe them.
I couldnt figure it out for myself, so I let other people figure it out for me, and wound up depressed. My self-esteem dropped. I thought I was defective or stupid, even when my standardized tests proved that I was one of the smartest people in my class. I blamed myself for the grades I got, thinking that I had finally put the blame in the right place. The problem with believing I didnt care was that then, I stopped trying to get the work done, and that convinced everyone that they were right. Finally, after this had been going on for almost five years, somebody mentioned to my mother that I may have Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). In the summer after my freshman year of high school, my mom had me tested. We drove up to Kaiser and entered the psychologists department where my mom and I both filled out the same, long, questionnaire. After the psychologist analyzed and compared mine to my mothers, she said the words that changed me: You have ADD. Of course, she was worried that I was crushed and needed somebody to talk to. I will now be your psychologist.
I am here to help you if you are having a tough time coping with this. We have a number of support groups available and so the psychologist rambled on. I was nothing but relieved. So that was it all this time, I thought. I was so happy that there was a reason; that this wasnt just me being lazy all the time and that nobody had to be confused any more. I started taking medication for ADD as my second year of high school began. The medication worked wonders. I did almost all of my assignments, but I was still getting back into the habit of caring about doing the homework again. My semester report card didnt have anything below a B on it for the first time, and I made the second honor roll. Then, in my second semester, made the First Honor Roll! I was so thrilled. My self esteem went up almost as fast as my grades did. I stopped blaming myself for something that nobody really knew the culprit of. Peoples view of me changed, which, more importantly, changed how I viewed myself. I wasnt a lazy-bum or a good-fornothing any more. Im almost a good student! I continue to take medication for my ADD today, and continue to be a much happier person than before. Being diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder completely changed the way I looked at myself. Now I wont let anyone elses conclusions about me become my own. Im the only one who really knows who I am.
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