Opinion: Skipping class: what a waste



Christina Bucciere

Christina Bucciere

Christina Bucciere is a junior journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].

As college students, there’s a certain culture that comes with the territory, specific actions that are our rites of passage: pulling the dreaded all-nighter, indulging in late-night binge eating as decided by an alcohol-induced line of reasoning, starting the weekend on Thursday evening — you get the idea. We do these things under the assumption that, yes, they are simply part of living the college lifestyle and shall be discontinued upon graduation or at least when you simply can’t keep up. But there is one element to this student code of conduct that has me scratching my head in a combination of frustration and bewilderment: skipping class.

Life trips us up — I get that. Flat tires, flu season and the occasional alarm that can’t quite interrupt our glorious slumber are all, in my opinion, legitimate reasons to miss class on occasion. But simply lacking the motivational drive to untangle yourself from your cocoon of blankets, put on some presentable outside-world clothing and go to class is, to me, incredibly frustrating. Thousands of dollars —thousands — come out of either your or your parents’ pockets to pay for those classes. At the very least, we should be going to class just to make use of this substantial investment. Where is that “get your money’s worth” American spirit? When did going to class become the obnoxious gray cloud hanging over our social calendars? Why does it have to be a chore?

There is one class’ attendance record that has stirred this particular grievance to the top of my list. While I will be the first to admit that the subject matter of this course is not riveting, it provides essential information necessary to understanding the fundamentals of the major. Is it possible to pass this class without actually attending the lectures? Yes; all of the course materials and assignments are provided on Blackboard, so perhaps this course might be better suited for an online platform. Regardless, this section has a coordinating time and place for students to attend lectures in order to better understand the material on which they will be tested. On the first day of this class, I would estimate about 100 students took their seats, opened their notebooks and laptops and absorbed the professor’s notes and expansions on the chapter slides. By week two, half of the class couldn’t be bothered to show up. By week 11, 20 students are representative of a “good” attendance.

This is sad. It’s sad that class attendance ranks so low on students’ priorities list, no longer feeling an obligation to put their educational responsibilities before social opportunities or selfish indulgences. It’s sad some students have lost respect for their professors, the people who dedicate their lives to enriching ours. I can’t imagine it feels very nice when only a quarter of your class roster can be bothered to come to class and take advantage of what they have to offer. I don’t envy their interminable battle to keep students engaged, curious and entertained.

But most of all, this makes me sad for every lost opportunity that is wasted on empty seats. Each class period is a chance to learn more, understand better and connect on a deeper level. If you can’t find the energy to attend a major-specific class, should you be re-evaluating your interests? I would be lying if I said each of my classes is always thrilling, but I go because I care. I go because I want a full education. I go because I don’t want to look back at my college experience and know I could have done more, I could have been a better student or, worst of all, I didn’t learn as much as I should have.

Being college students is a complex balance between educational and social growth, but growing educationally has to come first. It is, after all, the main objective, to hold that diploma in your hands and use it to propel yourself into the workforce. So maybe it’s time to retire the idea of skipping class as just another part of college life and set higher standards for our educational careers.