When last I left you guys, I had just finished taking my LSAT cold as a trite metaphor and graduated in 2009 with two degrees.
If you were to tell me in 2010 that I had ADD, I wouldn't have believed you. I was able to focus and you know what, it was easy to focus when I had little to no other responsibilities. This year started out, officially, in March after I returned after a month spent studying in Granada, Spain to a bunch of letters from the first batch of law schools I had applied to telling me THANKS BUT NO THANKS and nurturing in me a phobia I still have about opening the mail. That told me one thing: I had to get my shit together and now there were no more excuses.
Literally. The way the LSAT was done then and I think it is still the case now, is that you get three tries and if you don't do well enough, you're boned for 2-3 years. So, seeing that the LSAT was my only ticket out, I decided to buckle down and discovered the Pommodoro technique. I think that for kids and adults with ADD/ADHD, this is hands down the best study method.
And all you need is a timer:
1. CHOOSE A TASK YOU'D LIKE TO GET DONE:
Something big, something small, something you’ve been putting off for a million years: it doesn’t matter. What matters is that it’s something that deserves your full, undivided attention.
2. SET THE POMODORO FOR 25 MINUTES:
Make a small oath to yourself: I will spend 25 minutes on this task and I will not interrupt myself. You can do it! After all, it’s just 25 minutes.
3. WORK ON THE TASK UNTIL THE POMODORO RINGS
Immerse yourself in the task for the next 25 minutes. If you suddenly realize you have something else you need to do, write the task down on a sheet of paper.
4. WHEN THE POMODORO RINGS, PUT A CHECKMARK ON A PAPER
Congratulations! You’ve spent an entire, interruption-less Pomodoro on a task.
5. TAKE A SHORT BREAK
Breathe, meditate, grab a cup of coffee, go for a short walk or do something else relaxing (i.e., not work-related). Your brain will thank you later.
6. EVERY 4 POMODOROS, TAKE A LONGER BREAK
Once you’ve completed four pomodoros, you can take a longer break. 20 minutes is good. Or 30. Your brain will use this time to assimilate new information and rest before the next round of Pomodoros.
This technique is amazing. And it came at just the right time since in order to bring up my score by at least seven points on the LSAT, I needed to study right. My schedule started to revolve around studying for that, after two-month internship working as a paralegal, I had all the time to devote to studying.
I'd wake up in the morning, watch an hour of TV, then study from 9-12. I'd take a large break then to cook lunch for the family, watch Bizarre foods, and then study from 2-6. Then I'd go workout, either on the treadmill or playing tennis on campus, come back, shower, and then relax for the evening. Rinse, lather, repeat for several months.
A lot of things happened that year, friendship-wise, relationship-wise, and it all came to a head in the early part of October. I went up with a friend to Edinburg, TX (40 minutes from Brownsville) and spent the night so I wouldn't miss the test. The part I feared most was the logic games section. But I took it, I left the exam confident I had done better...then I got to my car, drove to a nearby Barnes and Noble, and had a full-blown panic attack. Books gave me comfort.
Three weeks later, I was in College Station, waking up after a Halloween party, and I checked my email. Score had improved. I screamed so loud I woke my very-hungover buddies up. They thought something had happened.
My girlfriend dumped me in early November, and I only mention this because the breakup happened at Dallas Love Field. Because hell, if you're going to get dumped, get dumped somewhere with an appropriate name.
A week later, in November 17, 2010, I was accepted into law school.
Little did I know that that winter would be the last time I would be completely free from dealing with my ADD.