In reality, there are many students who are mentally challenged succeed in school and in their careers. Because discrimination exists, most people underestimate the capabilities of mentally challenged students.

Today we have a mentally challenged student, Damien Jones, who has managed to graduate with his name being on the Dean’s list.

Q: Which university did you go to and what was your major?

A: I went to Queen’s University and majored in Mechanical Engineering.

Q: What disability do you suffer with?

A: I currently suffer from ADD.

Q: How does this impact your ability to study?

A: Occasionally, when it hits me, I won’t be able to stay calm and read properly. I would become agitated whenever I read something that I don’t understand and right off the bat, I can start to feel my heart pounding faster. With medication, this is usually not a problem but when I am not on my medication, I tend to calm myself down by listening to some soothing piano music, practice my breathing techniques, and within 10 minutes, I should be fine again to study. When I am at this stage, I know I need to make use of this moment to study efficiently. There is actually an advantage about this over non-mentally challenged students because from what I see, they tend to procrastinate a lot.

Q: Do you ever get discriminated upon and how do you feel when someone knows you are mentally challenged?

A: To be honest, not much people knows I have ADD other than my friends. It is as if I’m a regular student. I go to class, pay attention and make notes, study at the library, and social normally. It is only until I tell them, they know. I don’t feel any different when people know that I have ADD, they treat me just the same. In fact, I don’t even feel like ADD is a mentally challenged issue for me at least.

Q: Being on the Dean’s list is no easy task. What were some of the study habits and/or advices that you can share with us today?

A: Persistence is the key. When I was in my first year at Queen’s, my highest mark was a D+. I was very depressed and often have thoughts about giving up and feeling inferior to non-mentally challenged people. This really crushed my confidence. However, with the support from my friends and family, I managed to pick myself back up and face every obstacle I had. I spent some time to review the assignments that I scored poorly on and spoke with my professor about why I lost marks and asked if he can briefly explain the concepts behind the question to me. Then, I would read the textbook and my notes to dissect the key concepts that relates to the specific question. It’s important to know what you did poorly on and reattempt those questions so that you won’t face failure again when it shows up on the quizzes or exams. When I needed help, I would contact First Class Assignment. They were a big and reputable company that assists with my assignments. Their prices were very reasonable too. I would study their solutions and bridge the concepts to my textbook and make new and simpler notes that I would use to study for my exams. This was my strategy in graduating with distinction.

Q: You mentioned First Class Assignment; did they only help you on Mechanical Engineering related courses?

A: No, they helped me on all my courses. I had to take core and non-core courses. I had to take statistics, physics, English, linear algebra, and my core courses. That said, First Class Assignment assisted with my English assignment, Statistics assignment, and Linear Algebra assignment.

Q: Did your classmates also struggle as much as you did for those courses that you had help on?

A: Yes, there is no way around it. These courses are very difficult and requires immense time to study and score high grades on. Some of my classmates also look for tutors to help explain complicated concepts but those who didn’t use First Class Assignment seemed to score poorer grades.

Q: How did you hear about First Class Assignment?

A: One of their representatives came to my campus and hosted an information session about homework help and tips to studying more efficiently. I wasn’t interested in attention this session to begin with but I went because my friend forced me to go and I somehow kept their contact in my drawer. This was one of the greatest choices I’ve made.