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This and That, They and Them, These and Those, and Why Can’t I Focus?

As a student, you just want to be able to focus. You do want to complete your homework. You try. So you take a seat at the kitchen table. You open your textbook and read. You struggle through two boring paragraphs. Good. But then out of the blue you feel a need to clear the table. You just feel better when your study area is clear. Okay. So you clear the table. Good. You return to reading. It’s a struggle. And you still have 5 more pages to read. You lift your book close to your face to see only the words. Two minutes later, you lower the book to the table. You fumble through the pages. Eventually, you return to reading. You struggle through another paragraph. It’s a familiar cycle.

You just want to be able to focus. You see other students hand in their homework. It’s neat. It’s complete. It’s always that way. You ask: How are they able to focus? Don’t they get distracted? You learn they do, but the distraction is minimal. That’s it: You have no self-discipline, no self-control. That explains it.

No, it does not. Not in this case. If you accept the notion that your inability to focus is simply a matter of a lack of self-control you are setting yourself on a course for disappointment, for failure.

You just want to be able to focus. You’ve tried all sorts of things. You tried studying at the library. You tried the early bed routine. You changed your diet, drinking more water, eating more fruit and vegetables. You tried journaling, praying, meditating. None of which helped.

You cannot run if you have a broken leg, and you cannot focus if you have a chemical deficiency in the brain. You do want to be able to focus, but you can’t. Maybe you have Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).

Talk to your mom or dad or a school counselor. Explain your feelings, your thoughts. Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed. If you are depressed (which usually accompanies ADD), let the person know. Your objective is to get professional help. This includes someone who is open-minded to the possibility that you may have ADD and is who willing to offer you information and to point you to medical professionals who can diagnose the issue. If you do have ADD and receive proper treatment for it, the likelihood that you will be able to focus is great. The treatment won’t force you to do your homework, that’s a choice you make, but the treatment will succeed in allowing you to focus.

You just want to be able to focus. You can, but you must first seek professional help. I hope you do.

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