A way to avoid avoiding class

Sometimes I find it hard to persuade myself to do things. Taking a shower, for instance; doing my readings; going to class. The third one is especially problematic, because it’s not something you can do later on your own time. (Instead you must catch up by photocopying a friend’s notes, which is a hassle, and also costs at least 18 cents.)

On the other hand, it is in a certain way easier to go to class than to do one’s readings (when one does not feel like doing it), because fundamentally all one has to do is simply be there (unless you have a presentation or something like that – that’s another story, although I find even a presentation usually goes better than I fear it will once I’m in the classroom). Moreover, once I’ve made the decision to go and have stepped out the door of, I typically encounter no further obstacles.

For these reasons, I find it uniquely expedient in the case of going to class to have a few reliable techniques at my disposal to get me turned in the right direction. I have just recently invented one such technique – I daresay it is quite creative. Here’s how it works:

So, the situation is: I am saying to myself, everything is bonkers, I don’t think I will go to class, for indeed, what good did going to class ever do me, &c., &c,. – Rather than pointing out to myself that these thoughts are total rubbish and utter nonsense, I say, Alan, if you’re not going to go to class, fine; it’s within your power to make that decision. Having so decided, though, it would be good of you at least to let the professor know that you won’t be there. There’s no need to be ashamed about doing so, because if you’re not going to be there anyway, it makes your professor’s life easier if they know that, no matter the reason for your absence.—So, taking this to heart, I compose and send a quick email to my professor – something along the lines of, “Hello Dr. So-and-so, Please note I will be absent from class today. Sorry for the late notice. Best, Alan.” Upon sending the email, I suddenly say to myself—What am I doing? If I have the wherewithal to send an email, I have the wherewithal to go to class! And so I jump up and run to class.

I discovered it by accident one Wednesday night a few weeks ago. It turns out to be remarkably effective. Though it might bemuse your profs if you use it too many times – who knows.