Landon Hodges couldn’t finish her calculus test because someone in front of her was tapping their pencil. Ever tried to count to one hundred as someone else yelled out a different set of numbers? Hodges knew the method, something was just interfering with her way of getting there.

In elementary school, Hodges excelled in her classes. She loved to read. She was excited to learn. She always participated. She was a good student—until the education training wheels started to come off.

“Around 5th grade suddenly things weren’t getting turned in even though they were completed, or I would forget to do them or there would be excuses and I was just so unorganized,” Hodges said.

Finding The Source

One day, Hodges’ mom found an article about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in teenage girls and things made sense. She had Hodges review a checklist of symptoms. That forgetfulness, the lack of organization—they were on the list. Hodges said about 75 percent of the symptoms “hit the nail on the head.”

“I had been failing classes…and teachers were getting frustrated because I showed that I knew what I was doing…but the grades weren’t reflecting my ability,” Hodges said.

She was diagnosed with ADHD junior year of high school. She was put on medication. She then proceeded to get a weighted 4.0 that year. Hodges came home from school and thought, “Oh my god, I don’t feel stupid anymore.”

Now a junior at Drake University, a lot has changed. The symptoms persist, but she has a better understanding of how they affect her. Hodges cites a TED Talk for giving her the perfect analogy to explain how her brain functions.

“It’s like your brain is a TV and you have all these different channels but someone else is controlling the remote,” Hodges said.

Though focusing on schoolwork for a prolonged period can be a struggle for Hodges, other activities come easy. When reading for fun, doing art or completing a puzzle, it’s like her ADHD doesn’t affect her at all. The same thing happens when her boyfriend Davis Heck is around. He’s a logistics-minded, plan-for-the-future kind of guy. He’s the left brain to her right brain. She’s outgoing, bubbly, energetic and creative. He’s introverted, reserved, relaxed and good with numbers. The cliches are unavoidable but accurate. Opposites attract, they complete each other, etc. Their strengths are on different sides of the spectrum, but they’re complementary.

According to Heck, ADHD is only a factor of Hodges’ identity. Though his mind works in quantifiable measurements, one scale does not fit all. He defines Hodges by her creativity, her caring nature and her “emotional intelligence.”

“She wants to see other people happy and will do what she can to make that happen,” Heck said.

Whether you have street smarts, book smarts or people smarts, whatever, they’re all plural. Intelligence comes in variety and in multitude.

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