Maybe this was all my fault. I encouraged Lauren to take AP Psychology because she has done well in Honors classes and I thought she would find Psych fascinating. She did not. And, after seeing the material, I did not. How can you take something as inherently cool as the human mind and make it as boring as three pages of medical terms?


And, to be honest, I underestimated the level of work required in AP level courses. Probably because I never took them. Remember, I’m a true-blue member of the slacker generation and I was perfectly happy earning easy As in Consumer Math.

The first test was a wake-up call or both of us. OK….lesson learned. Going to have to put some effort into this class, Lauren. Do a little independent work. Step up.

She tried. She really did. But she failed every exam. Projects and homework helped her keep her head (just barely) above the water.

Over Christmas break she showed me a packet of information outlining their final project. I have a degree and 30 years of experience writing about things I barely understand and I took one look at that packet and though: Good luck, babe.

But, then we sat down together and, with her new 2020 planner outlined a plan to help her complete the project bit by bit over two weeks.  Sunday — do the research and make notes, Tuesday — write an outline, etc.

One of the hallmarks of ADHD is struggling with organization, i.e. knowing what to do first and which steps to take to accomplish big things. Those with ADHD tend to just procrastinate and then jump in and start in three different directions.

But she followed that plan, religiously. And, you guys, she got nearly 100 percent on that project. It was big, big win.

Then she told me there was a final and it was cumulative. So, it would be a big test with all the material from the other tests that she mostly failed.


She made a study guide, but…we were two days out now. Things were looking bleak. I was afraid to even ask about it at dinner that night.

“Oh, my god, mom….I think I did really well! There were hardly any I didn’t know or had to save and go back to and that never happens in that class!”

Indeed…she pulled it off  and passed the final. Combine that with an A on the big project and other homework and assignments that saved her and she passed the class with a low D.

And, you’ve never seen a child (or a mother) so happy with a D:


This was the little happy dance she did when she returned from burning all her class notes and papers out of spite (or maybe joy).

burning notes

I suppose I should be unhappy with a D. I’m sure it did bad things to her GPA, but you know what I saw: A kid who was in way over her head who, instead of giving up and throwing up her hands, found a way to get the job done.  I think that skill is going to serve her much better in life than an impressive GPA.

This kid? She’s going to be just fine…wherever life takes her.