I skip class a lot. I’m also taking six years to graduate. Coincidence? Perhaps not. Sometimes I miss because of a legitimate reason, be it illness, stress, work or otherwise. We all do, and there’s no use in beating ourselves up over it. But sometimes I skip because I don’t want to wake up or because I didn’t do the homework, and I’m too nervous to face the professors. I’m not the only one who does that either, and while we don’t need to go flog ourselves about it, it might be worth examining further.
At first, I thought skipping was a collegiate rite of passage. I thought a lot of unhealthy behaviors were college norms — did you guys know that bringing a Mike’s Hard to your 11 a.m. lecture class isn’t young, wild and free but is, in fact, highly concerning? Eighteen-year-old Lily didn’t. She thought it was so cool that she tweeted it, the dumbass.
In a way, skipping (not the drinking in class) is a rite of passage. In certain lecture courses, it isn’t even detrimental to your grade. I went to three Anthropology 101 courses apart from the test days, for example, and ended the semester with a B. For a lot of us, college is the first time we’ve had complete control over our own schedules. Of course we’re going to push the boundaries at first. Not to mention all the parties (another rite of passage) throughout your first couple years. Despite my mother’s sage wisdom — never skip work for a sunburn or a hangover — I’ve missed class for both unsatisfactory reasons.
But after a while, be it a couple months or a couple years of partying, we all (hopefully) settle down. Gone are the days of skipping because you’re hungover, or because your roommate invited you to a party or even because you just don’t feel like it.
Nowadays, skipping class isn’t fun. When I skip, I don’t leave the house for the rest of the day in fear of seeing the professor I blew off. I spend the time I would have spent in class staring at the ceiling and feeling guilty for not being there. This is in part because the stakes are higher in upper-level courses and attendance has become mandatory. It’s mostly because I’ve come to know my professors, and I feel like I’m telling my professors that I don’t care about their class. Whether we intend it or not, skipping class is a pretty big “fuck you” to your professor. The right thing to do with this information is to stop skipping unless you really have to.
Instead, sometimes we (read: I) spiral and let the guilt and fear get the best of us. We feel guilty and nervous about being unprepared, so we skip. Then we feel guilty and nervous about skipping, so we skip again. If you’ve done this, try not to. It’s rude, self-destructive and a massive waste of money. Lucky for us, our professors are compassionate, understanding and only an email away. They’d always rather hear from you late and try to help than never hear from you again and spend their life unsure if you’re alive.