Having ADHD has made me experience software-based jobs differently than my friends in computing do. At my previous summer internships I often struggled to start work for the day, but I know I can start working very quickly if given a notification or reminder to start working. Last summer at my internship, I was mentored by someone with ADHD. I’d talked to previous managers before about this experience but it was never quite understood. Seeing someone else who struggles with hyperfocus gave me someone to relate to in a workplace environment and made me feel like I was in the right place (and more importantly that I wasn’t inherently bad at my job or wasn’t “passionate enough”). I hope mentorship through AccessComputing will be a similar experience. Although I enjoy the process of procuring jobs and working them, mentorship, especially from someone who understands the unique struggles of a neurodivergent person could help me find fulfilling work and support moving forward.
There are also many positives to having ADHD. Through experiencing work differently I’ve learned how to listen to my body and figure out what works the best for me. I often work well by bouncing back and forth between tasks, which has enabled me to stay on track to finish a triple major in Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, and Mathematics and a minor in Engineering Management; I’ve been on the Dean’s honor list every semester, too. I’ve also been balancing three on-campus jobs as a research assistant, a teaching fellow for an upper-level core CS class, and as a staff member at the campus Makerspace. In addition to on-campus work, I’ve gained a fair amount of industry experience through internships, ranging from engineering education research, to embedded system security, to SAAS security. I’ve grown to love research, as it lets me hyper focus on various specialized topics and has enabled me to work towards a Senior Honors Thesis. While this all may seem like a lot, I can’t work efficiently with fewer tasks which is definitely not the same experience most of my peers have. I hope mentorship will help me continue to focus all of my interests, while making me feel less alone.