ADHD alters the way an average school day looks for Isabella Cristancho


Junior Isabella Cristancho speaks on what it’s like to be a student with ADHD. Photo Courtesy of Isabella Cristancho

Erika Ryan

Isabella Cristancho prepares herself for her test in class for first period, going over her study cards once more to get an understanding of the material. However, Cristancho starts to get sidetracked and abandons her studying, causing her to do poorly on her test and having a failing grade in the class.

 Having attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, also known as ADHD, can make it hard for students to pay attention and perform well in class. Not being able to concentrate on certain tasks and activities during the school day can cause students to become frustrated and upset. 

Isabella Cristancho, a junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, is one of many students who struggle with ADHD. While overcoming the obstacles of her disorder to get through her school days, she spends most of her days in the same state of mind.

“It’s difficult most days because sometimes I get unmotivated to do my work and I feel lazy and disappointed in myself, [and] overall just misunderstood,” Cristancho said. 

Cristancho must deal with having low productivity and motivation on a daily basis. Others must remind her of upcoming school assignments that need to be completed in order for her to get them done. 

“I try to be as productive as possible, however, my schedule tends to fall apart if someone isn’t on top of me reminding me what I need to get done,” Cristancho said.

Due to the lack of attention towards her school work, Cristancho tries various ways to stay productive during her day. In an attempt to pay attention during online school, she sits at her desk or dining room table. Additionally, Cristancho sets her phone on screen-time to focus and not get sidetracked.

Having her phone on-screen time, which is a setting used on Apple devices to prevent users from going on certain apps, and sitting at appropriate settings to do online school helps keep Cristancho focused on her main priorities.

However, even without using her cell phone and sitting down at a desk, completing assignments is still very difficult for her.

“It 100% is difficult to complete my assignments at times [because] I feel like the task I have to do is way bigger than what it actually is. I end up thinking about it all the time but never completing it,” Cristancho said. “Communicating with my teachers is one of my biggest supports to [keep] myself on track.”

Another way Cristancho tries to combat her ADHD is by listening to videos made for people with ADHD and ADD to help remain focused.

“When I am studying, I like to listen to this video with vibrations for people with ADHD and ADD and it’s supposed to help you focus,” Cristancho said. “I also put a pencil in my mouth while I’m doing work and my phone being shut off helps me.”

Additionally, having a 504 plan and support from parents and teachers has helped Cristancho deal with her ADHD. Extra accommodations and help allows her to spend enough time on her everyday tasks.

“I feel a lot less anxious about turning in a great assignment I put all my focus to, rather than an assignment that’s horrible really last minute,” Cristancho said.

Having support from multiple sources and finding productive alternatives to stay focused has positively impacted Cristancho with her disorder. Being able to successfully get through the school day is a constant difficulty while still encountering the challenges of her ADHD.