Don't Drop Out. Tune In.

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Dear Jack,

Here it is, the middle of April already, and I haven’t been to more than five classes since February. I’m a sophomore at a local university, and my major is in a field that I love, but I can’t seem to bring myself to go to school.

It didn’t used to always be this way. My first semester as a freshman, I finished with all As. Second semester wasn’t any harder, but I slacked off and got a C in one class. I took a couple of summer classes, including the one I got a C in, and I finished with an A in both classes, but fall semester was horrible. I skipped a couple of classes, then caught up, then skipped a few more. The semester went so fast and it was finals week before I knew it. I ended up with three Cs and an F. That was the first time in my life I’ve ever made a C, much less an F. My parents went nuts when they saw my grades.

I’m not stupid. I’ve always done well in school, though I wasn’t valedictorian or anything. School has always been easy for me. My IQ is near genius level. Yet now I’ve got Fs in every class except one.

I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Monday, I drove to school and then just sat in my car rather than go to class. Maybe I’m afraid to face my teachers after skipping so many classes. I just don’t know, and I don’t know what to do.

--Flunking Out

Dear Flunkie,

Wouldn’t it be a better world if all us supra-geniuses didn’t have to waste all those years going to college? Why won’t they let us just take the tests and get our diploma?

A long time ago in a university far far away, I had a physics class in which I made an A on every test including the final, yet when I checked the professor’s door for my grades, I had an F for the semester. I inquired as to why (that’s putting it mildly). He said I hadn’t turned in a single piece of homework. Not one. Frankly, he wasn’t sure how I managed to make A’s on all the tests without doing any of the homework. He didn’t accuse me of cheating, but he suspected it – enough to give me an F.

However, he said that if I would do all the homework before the end of the semester (btw, that was two days away), he would give me a B. So I did all of it – an entire semester’s worth – and I got my grade.

You need to go back to school today. Right now. Go to your professors and explain what’s been going on, even if you don’t know why. They hear sob stories all the time, but sob stories work. I know a woman whose success in college is due entirely to her sob stories, as she never finished an assignment on time. Your professors don’t want to fail you, and they’ll probably give you a chance to make up your work and salvage the semester to some extent. Maybe not all of them, but even one or two Cs is better than all Fs. And you’ll have the satisfaction of having tried, rather than just giving up.

You also need to talk to a doctor. If you don’t have insurance, see if there isn’t a campus clinic or something along those lines. My guess is you have attention deficit issues. I do not make this guess lightly, because I also have this problem. Just ask my editors.

Got a problem? Let Jack Waggon set you straight: jack.wagg@gmail.com

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