Pasadena City College Psychology Essay

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Alex is having his first session with a counselor and is recounting his life history:

I’ve just turned 20. I’ve finished high school two years, and I have been lost since then. I was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder when I was five, and it has been a struggle since then. My mother stayed home to take care of me full time. Through her effort, I thrived. I was in the gifted program from the first grade to high school. I started taking ADHD medications when I was eleven. I quit taking them after I graduated high school. I suffered from severe depression to the point that I attempted to hurt myself three times. The only reason for me living is my mom. She loved me unconditionally, no matter what. I had jobs here and there, but I ended up getting fired. I now live independently, sort of, with my friends. Most of the time, my mom pays for the rent. I have a girlfriend who I get along with, and I think we are pretty solid. I am applying for a job, but I hate being with people. I hate being in school; I think it is a colossal waste of money.

My sister is a nurse. She is my mom’s star kid- accomplished and successful. My only accomplishment is my car- I love working with my car, although it is older than me and it cost a lot of money to fix. I love driving it. I feel free when I am going. I love playing video games. It is a community that never leaves. I feel a great sense of belongingness. There I can be myself when I am playing with my friends. It’s an escape for me -an emotional vacation.

However, I am turning twenty-one soon. The pressure is too high for me to be financially independent. I do not know what to do, where to start, and how to start.

It is the reason why I am here.


  1. Why might Alex be finding it particularly difficult to find a job?
  2. Alex regards himself as a lost person. Do you agree? If so, what factors have contributed to this?
  3. Is there anything in Alex’s story that reminds you of your own experience in your adolescence or emerging adulthood years?
  4. How do general theories of human growth and development relate to a young person like Alex?
  5. What effect might Alex’s ADHD have on his development?
  6. What concepts of human growth and development are relevant here?

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