Fred, An adult with a history of academic failure and low self-esteem returns to school

Play Video

Introduction Of Fred

Fred is an intelligent man in his 30s that struggled with ADHD his entire life. His experiences in middle and high school were primarily characterized by academic failure that made him feel inadequate and that something was wrong with him. Fred lost interest in academics from an early age and had little belief in his abilities to succeed. In an attempt to find a more fulfilling and higher paying job, Fred attended several vocational schools over the years. Still, the same challenges he dealt with in middle and high school prevented him from completing any of the programs he started. With no advanced education or vocational training, Fred bounced around from one low-paying job to another throughout his twenties and early thirties. He decided to return to school and was scheduled to enroll in a substance abuse counseling certification course when he contacted GEL.


Fred’s lack of confidence in his abilities to succeed in an academic setting prevented him from acquiring the necessary skills required to find a more fulfilling and higher paying job.

Low Self-Esteem

Fred’s low self-esteem and pattern of failure in school cemented his belief that he would never be successful or find fulfilling work.

Chronic Procrastination

His tendency to procrastinate and engage in avoidant behaviors led to high anxiety levels and only served to fuel his negative self-talk.

Poor Study Skills

Fred’s lack of study skills and strategies needed to succeed in a demanding vocational program was a constant reminder of his past failures and a significant obstacle to moving forward.


Fred and his coach worked to develop his study skills and create structure around initiating and following through on academic tasks.

Create Structure

To conquer Fred’s pattern of procrastination and avoidance, the first thing Fred and his coach set out to do was create structure in his day around doing schoolwork as well as meeting personal responsibilities.

Develop Study Skills

Fred’s coach taught him best practices for using a calendar to keep track of deadlines, how to take notes, predict what would be on exams, extract the main ideas from his required readings, create study aides for upcoming exams, break projects down into small manageable chunks, as well as successfully manage his time so all academic and personal obligations were met by their respective deadline.

Action Plan

Fred also used a daily action plan containing the tasks he agreed to complete and the specific days he agreed to complete them. Fred would mark his progress towards completing tasks in the action plan on a daily basis, a process he found to be highly motivating.


Using the action plan created multiple layers of accountability as Fred would hold himself accountable for what he agreed to and allow Fred’s coach to act as his accountability partner.

I became a standout student to the point that other students in my program looked to me for guidance and support. - Fred



Fred’s significant improvement in self-confidence allowed him to successfully complete his vocational program and earn a well-paying job where he is valued and respected.

Growth Mindset

Fred’s new growth mindset and support from his coach allowed him to experience phenomenal and immediate results.

Increased Excellent Grades

Fred could not recall having ever properly studied for a test and possessed little to no study skills before working with his coach. However, Fred never earned less than an A in any of his courses throughout the 2-year certification program. Fred became such a standout student that other students in his cohort looked to him for guidance and support.

Career Promotion

While many of his classmates struggled to find internships, Fred landed a desired internship, ultimately leading to a permanent position. Fred continued to demonstrate his value at work which resulted in him being promoted to a management position in under a year.

Increased Confidence

He currently earns a good salary in a job he loves and is very much respected. Fred not only believes in himself as a student, but his success as a manager at a rehabilitation facility has given him the confidence to take on significant challenges in every aspect of his life. Fred continues to make behavior changes through work with his coach. He has seen significant improvements in multiple areas of his life, including sleep, exercise, and nutrition.

“I would have never believed that I could be so happy and successful in school. I see potential in myself that simply did not exist before.”


Join Our General Mailing List

Scroll to Top