To skip, or not to skip?

More lost than gained



I’ve learned a lot from my dad. He’s found that different persuasive strategies work better for different types of people.

“People are wired differently,” he said. “You can either appeal to them logically or emotionally.”

I tend to use emotional appeal more often than logic, but both are necessary when addressing the college student’s age-old debacle: to skip, or not to skip.

There are uncontrollable scenarios such as illness or family matters that prevent students from attending class. In my mind, these scenarios don’t constitute as skipping.

Skipping is the willful, voluntary (and usually purposeless) act of missing class.

Given this definition, I must argue against skipping. We have too much invested in our education to waste it.

That’s another thing my dad has taught me: “Be privy to how much you’re spending for things. You get what you pay for.”

Though it’s true that you get what you pay for, that doesn’t change the fact that Augustana is expensive. The quality of education we’re receiving is excellent, but in order to get the most from said education, you must be in class. Learning.

I’ve heard various figures estimating how much each class period costs. Most of these figures hover around the $70 range. Seriously, take that in. If you’re not in class, that money is lost.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m not acquiring thousands of dollars of debt to get a good night’s sleep. I’m acquiring thousands of dollars of debt to get a good education.

My father has often said, “You cannot teach a tired mind.” This is true, and there’s science to back that up. But is sleeping in the only remedy to tiredness? No. Take an afternoon nap, go to bed earlier, do whatever it takes to get your booty out of bed in the mornings.

I know how tempting it can be to turn off the alarm, turn over and go back to sleep. Like the rest of you, I’ve been there and done that. But up until now, I haven’t really thought about the consequences.

Just the other day one of my professors opened up to the class and told us an intimate, rather badass, story about her personal life. As it turns out, her husband worked for the Secret Service during the Bay of Pigs conflict. True life.

If I would’ve missed that class period, I also would’ve missed her story. Our professors, or at least the professors I’ve had the pleasure of working with here at Augustana, are truly fountains of knowledge. And that’s precisely why we’re here: to learn from them.

Class sizes are small enough to facilitate strong interpersonal relationships between students and professors, which ultimately lead to closer connections in the long run.

But there’s a flip side to that. In another one of my classes, for example, there are only eight students. If I were to miss that class, my absence would be glaringly evident. And, unless I had legitimate cause to be gone, I’d feel incredibly guilty.

At the end of the day, I think my dad said it best: “There’s immense value in your education. Appreciate it.”

Need a mental health day



College is expensive. Really expensive. So expensive, in fact, that it is almost impossible to attend a class without thinking about how much you are paying for it.

Unfortunately, the result is a campus full of students who tell themselves that they had better enjoy what all their parents call “the best time of your life,” which only adds monumental stress to that already contained within their homework. And they are paying over $30,000 a year to do this, which means that per class period they should be accruing X units of knowledge per Y dollars paid to the college.

This sort of naturally blooming anal retentiveness is not only a breeding ground for nervous breakdowns, it is also not conducive for an environment of positive learning. This undoubtedly brings to the forefront a question concerning attendance; is it permissible for a student to skip class?

There are obvious situations where skipping would be justified: a relative’s death, severe illness, your own death. But what about those less urgent motivations for failing to attend a class: that concert you were just dying to go to but it’s in Idaho, your best friend is stopping in town for a brief respite from traveling and you would really love to see him or her, or maybe you would just love a day to catch up on all the pleasurable reading of literature you began during the summer and have undoubtedly procrastinated. Is skipping class in these instances ever really okay?

Under most circumstances attending class is crucial. Professors don’t usually drone about nothing.

In fact, they most often use their time in class with students to expound on a subject they have devoted their career to. This is not to be taken lightly, and the personal touch of a classroom setting can be what helps a student determine his or her major. That being said, while skipping class may be considered a sin of the learning ethic, having any sort of mental breakdown is equally, if not more, detrimental to a student’s future.

Obviously finding an outlet to release the anxiety of such a breakdown, whether it is a professional counselor or a trusted peer, is one combative method, but that might not be enough.

Although it has developed a slightly pejorative connotation in recent years due to its association with lazy high school students and their desperate-to-be-liked parents, I am a rather big advocate of the “mental health day.”

While this should not be a frequent practice, and must also be a selective one, a mental health day can often times be what helps a student retain their sanity in addition to helping them focus their motivations in a calm rational way.

A mental health day can also function as a day to catch up on sleep, on personal reading, even on homework because it does not have to be done at the usual frantic pace required on a normal school day.

So, forgive me professors, but in certain situations skipping class is not just permissible, it may be essential.