Number one tip would be to stop reading negative posts!
Most of the problems here are founded in ignorance, by owners and service departments alike.
Read up on how to drive a stick, then operate the foot feed as if driving a stick and you'll be fine. Remember the car learns from your driving style and the harder you push it the more fun it will be to drive. These cars get out of their own way just fine!
If everyone who loves their Focus transmission posted, the ratio would likely be 10,000 to one pro vs con.
I think you made an excellent choice purchasing a Focus and will enjoy the car for years to come. Don't let the nattering nabobs of negativism get you down!!
Old Ford guy...