The Add Drop Date

In a university setting there is something called an add-drop date, the deadline in a semester to drop a class that isn’t going well. 

When I worked with engineering students, it was common practice to encourage freshmen calculus students to drop calculus if they are failing so as to now permanently damage their GPA (especially if enough of the course has passed that it’s mathematically impossible to turn their grade into a C or better). Dropping the course comes with no penalty on your transcript. 

Most of these students were trying, and their over-exertion in calculus was harming their other subjects. They needed to take pre-calculus, or try calculus again the following semester (this time, having done the first 6 weeks once before). 

With their worst course off your plate, they can focus energy on other subjects. Their mental health improved, their GPA remained strong, and they nearly always recovered. Some learned they needed to change their major without significant consequences to their scholarship. 

In the same way, there are things your organization should probably drop. You’re spending an abundance of time keeping what is failing afloat

There are some things you should drop. This is how you start:

Name the add drop date.

Put a date on the calendar, the add drop date. Then, ask yourself:

  • “In what area are we currently getting a C or worse?” and then,
  • “How much energy would it take for us to make this a B or better?” and finally,
  • “How much energy would we gain if we dropped it?”

Like we would say to these freshmen students, you can’t get a D on your health. The same thing goes for your organization, there is enough time to be able to recover almost everything. You can’t put off health.

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