Did I Really Just Finish My Master’s Degree on Time?!

Around this time last year, I was neck deep in some serious confusion, fear, and self-doubt. I was one year into a MSc degree in Neuroscience, and had a ton of work left to do. I seriously doubted if I would ever finish what I started, and I was even less convinced that I would complete the program within the two years that was encouraged by the University. I was told that it was pretty common for students to extend an extra semester or two, just to give yourself enough room to do a good job. Of course, most of the students in question didn’t have kids to distract them at home, nor did they have ADHD. I had both, so I was convinced I was doomed.

Around the same time last year, an amazing and unexpected thing happened to me. I was the winner of a scholarship that provided me with a year of ADHD coaching. Working one-on-one with a coach was an incredible experience, and I learned how to prioritize and schedule tasks. More importantly, I learned how to take care of myself, how to be nice to myself, and how to be self-aware. I learned that my ADHD didn’t need to define me, and that a good timeline can be the most valuable weapon in the face of a graduate committee.

So here I am today, and I have finished my Master’s degree. Best of all, I finished the greatest accomplishment of my life ON TIME. People with ADHD probably don’t realize how amazing that really is, but for someone who has a perpetual problem with lateness and time management that is a miracle. Pardon me while I bask in the glory of my own punctuality.

…Ahh…it feels so good.

Over the next few weeks I plan on blogging about some of my biggest lessons that I learned over the course of my graduate work. They will most likely be focused on issues that people with ADHD struggle with. However, they will most likely apply to anyone in the University setting. It will most like apply to anyone who has ever tried to stay organized, and failed. It will probably help anyone who has to be productive in their life. Who know, it might even help you.

For now, I want to leave you with one thing: Believe in your goals. They are absolutely possible. You just need the right plan, the right people, and the right perspective. When (not if, WHEN) you stumble, crash and burn, remind yourself that it’s okay. EVERYONE fails sometimes. If you were successful right away, how would you ever grow? How would you learn from your mistakes? How would you gain the perspective you’ll need to get you through the times ahead? Keep your head up, pick yourself off the ground, and learn from your mistakes. Most of all, keep moving toward your goals. They’re closer than you think.

Just Something I Wanted to Share

I listen to a lot of podcasts, and the one I listened to tonight hit me surprisingly hard. I’ll admit it; a manly tear was shed. I don’t want to give away the ending of this episode of This American Life, but I really think this is an important story for everyone to hear. Check out it.

This American Life 492: Dr. Gilmer and Mr. Hyde

Sharing is Hard, but Super Important [Geek Dad Life Lessons]

Being a “Geek Dad” is a lot of fun, but it also has its fair share of challenges. My oldest son (aka “The Boy”) is three and a half, and beginning to reach the age where he enjoys a lot of the things that I find fun (although in a different way, of course). He loves superheroes, and so do I. I love Lego, and so does he. I like playing video games, and he likes them too. While you would think that having a geek-in-the-making is awesome, it also comes with a few unique challenges and lessons that I have had to face. The joy of nerdy parenting, I have found, is in embracing the experience and learning from it. NOTE: Spoilers for The Lego Movie ahead. If you haven’t seen it by now, however, you probably won’t care about the spoiler.

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How to Become a Morning Person in 6 Easy Steps

I often feel like there are not enough hours in the day. Can you relate? Then I have some good news: you’re most likely sleeping away some of the most valuable time of your entire day.

Being a graduate student and a father of two kids (a 3-year-old son and a 1-year-old daughter) is really hard. Having ADHD really doesn’t help either. Finding time to do homework assignments, marking, research, writing, and attending meetings is a constant uphill battle.

Many of the most productive people I follow online all have one characteristic that I wish I had: they are morning people. I have been impressed by their ability to utilize the hours of the day when most of us are completely unconscious. For parents, the morning is even more precious because kids are asleep.

Last week, I made a commitment to myself that I would work toward becoming a morning person. I spent almost an hour doing some brainstorming and researching, and came up with a strategy on how to become a morning person.

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Dear Matt Walsh: Don’t Be Such a Toxic Jerk

Dear Matt Walsh,

I have seen posts from themattwalshblog.com shared by some friends on Facebook. These people are strong valued, conservative Christians who love to read and share thoughts that are in line with their own values. I have read many of the posts myself, and you seem to be a very thoughtful person with some genuinely helpful and intelligent things to say. So here’s the deal:

Your blog is toxic.
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What’s Next for the Marvel Cinematic Universe After Captain America: The Winter Soldier? (Spoilers!)

Well, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is here and its a torrent of action. You should absolutely see it. I have been a fan of Marvel Comics ever since middle school. Back then, it was all about the Spider-Man and X-Men cartoons, and the Avengers were “the other guys” that kids didn’t really know about.

Today, however, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (or MCU as you might have seen around the web) may very well be the modern day equivalent of Greek mythology. Now that Captain America 2 is here, the question on your mind is, of course, “What’s Next?!” I think I have a few ideas, so let’s take a look at everything we know so far.

Needless to say, this post comes with a HUGE SPOILER WARNING for everything currently released in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Having said that, let’s dive in…

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5 Tips to Get the Most Out of General Conference This Weekend

General Conference is here yet again! I don’t get as many chances as I would like to ponder and reflect on my life. I always look forward to the first weekends of April and October, and this weekend is no different. If you’re like me, however, it can be difficult to get the most out of General Conference. I would like to offer 5 ways to get the most out of conference. (Note: for those who don’t know how to tune in to General Conference — for free– go here for more information)

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4 Tips For Presenting Yourself Effectively To The Public: Number 3 Took Me By Surprise

Winning the 2013 Shire ADHD Scholarship was a big deal for me in a lot of ways. One of the most unexpected things for me was the opportunity to do some press interviews. Speaking with reporters can be intimidating if you’ve never done it before. I’ve compiled a list of tips that will help you present yourself in the best way that you can.

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I Was Featured on Lethbridge Global News!

Last week I was featured on the local news about the Shire ADHD Scholarship. Check it out! 🙂 I was also featured on their website. I’ve been interviewed almost half a dozen times in the last couple of weeks, and its been kind of a whirlwind. I’m going to post something in the next few days about some of the lessons I’ve learned in the process. In the mean time, enjoy the video!

How I Used a Timer To Double My Productivity

This post is part of an ongoing series on issues relevant to individuals with ADHD. While it may be specifically directed ADHD issues, the topics discussed are applicable to everyone, including students, parents, writers, business people, and YOU!

A large part of my Neuroscience Masters thesis is based upon behavioural tests with rats. It might sound exciting, but in reality it represents watching rats doing the same task over and over again for days on end. It is, quite possibly, the most boring thing that I’ve ever had to do in my life. For someone with ADHD, that is an enormous roadblock on the path towards success. Someone without ADHD would probably be able to get through those clips in about a week of hard scoring (the term we use for collecting data from video footage), but it takes me much longer because I have a hard time sitting for a long period of time doing them. In fact, one of the worst parts of having ADHD is the procrastination. Doing important (even essential) things that you don’t want to do sucks.

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