Question #3: What activities am I engaged in after this class?
The topic of focus is in every book and sermon and speech, but it isn’t as easy to maintain as some attempt to portray. So why not make the ability to focus a little easier by being honest with yourself? Do you have a date after class? Do you think about class, or are you thinking about the date? I have found that if I had something that was occurring after a class that was very exciting (or dreadful) that it made it more difficult to concentrate in class–and maybe easier to skip that class. I have had students come to class and not be able to make it emotionally through class because they were visiting a sick family member directly afterwards. I can only imagine the stress of students who provide daily care to family who have been physically and mentally incapacitated. If the activity occurring after your class is robbing you of your focus during the class, you may want to re-think your strategy and schedule.
Question #4: Is there a current crisis in my life?
Allow me to say this: life is not perfect, so if you are looking to go to school when NOTHING is wrong, then you will be waiting for a very, very, VERY long time. If you are in the midst of a crisis, then seek wise (and professional) counsel. (By the way, professional help is not your cousin Ray Ray, or your drunk Uncle Woodrow) Never make decisions based on emotion alone…especially immediate decisions with fresh and raw emotions. Some people want someone else to tell them that they should/shouldn’t withdraw from a course so that they do not have to think about the future effects of this decision, and that is not fair to anyone. This is a decision which requires great planning and thought. You will need a plan and you should NOT do it alone. A crisis can become something far worse when you do not get help. Once, I had 4 events occur within a three week time period that brought me to a standstill (I won’t name them because then we would get into a point of comparison…what one person would consider a crisis would be another persons cake walk). I immediately pulled out a pen and a pad and began writing out all of the situations that were occurring to me and did the following:
(a) which ones are the most immediate (This is CRUCIAL, and is often neglected by students. A sale at Macy’s is not more immediate than the fact that you have 48 hours to get in a car payment before they repossess your car).
(b) which ones would take the least amount of time to fix.
(c) which ones would cost the most and which ones can be fixed with little to now money
(d) Were there any that were life threatening?
(e) Which ones involved other people.
(f) Which ones can’t be fixed by just me–which ones will definitely involve other people?
(g) which ones are totally out of my hands?
These questions can bring focus back into areas and can allow others to help you in your crisis. If you answer these questions and it looks like you will be forced to drop the class, then so be it. At least YOU know that you did not lose the battle, you simply had to retreat for a time. If you find out that you do not have to drop the class, then now you have a two for one: you have a crisis being solved and a class to pass.