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Student Success Story: Ross Gage

Growing up I was always a good student. I wasn’t exactly a “straight A” student, but I was never a problem for teachers and always had a positive attitude toward learning. When I got to college, my ability to be successful in the classroom changed. I was suddenly struggling in school, and my grade point average was well below where it should have been. I was eventually placed on academic suspension and had to attend community college for a semester. The summer after my semester of community college I was told by counselors that I should be tested for a learning disability based on my previous academic performance. After taking numerous tests administered by a diagnostician and psychologist, I was diagnosed with ADHD. This was a little shocking to me at first. How had I gone 20 years without knowing? I don’t feel like I have ADHD! What exactly does this mean moving forward? Those were the thoughts spiraling through my head the rest of the summer.

That fall I returned to Texas Tech and showed some initial improvement by following a plan recommended by the diagnostician. The following spring I was accepted into the Techniques Center – a fee-for-service program within Disability Services at Texas Tech that provides academic support services for students with documented evidence of learning disabilities and ADHD. Although results weren’t immediate, I was gaining confidence and doing better than I had previously by using the study skills and learning strategies I was being taught. Working with my TECHniques Center advisor, we set goals and I expressed my desire to attend law school. We knew it wouldn’t be easy based on my first two years, so we set both short term and long term goals to help put me in the best possible position. Prior to my diagnosis I had attempted 56 credit hours and completed 25 with a .84 GPA. During my first semester with the TECHniques Center I achieved a GPA of 2.928. Although it wasn’t the 3.0 I was working towards, it was something of which I could be proud. The following fall I made a 3.46 GPA, and from that point on I never made below a 3.5 GPA during a fall or spring semester. I achieved my goal of finishing strong academically and graduated with an overall 3.452 GPA, including three 4.0 GPA semesters.

I now work for Congressman Roger Williams in his Washington, D.C. office. Representing my hometown on Capitol Hill is a great honor and I thoroughly enjoy helping our constituents. I’m currently submitting applications to various law schools with the hope of earning my J.D. Eight years ago I never thought I’d be in the position I am now. To be honest, I had no idea where my life was headed. My turnaround wasn’t a solo effort though, and I’m thankful every day for my family and the support system I had at Texas Tech. Their patience made all the difference in my life. The people that guided me on my journey have motivated me to pay it forward and help others struggling with their ADHD. Everyone has goals and aspirations in life, and I want to make sure ADHD isn’t stopping people from achieving them.

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