Skipping classes causes a domino effect on grades, other students, bank accounts
Published: Thursday, February 17, 2011
Updated: Thursday, February 17, 2011 00:02
Your friends might be one, you might have one in your family or you yourself might even be one: The cunning and elusive class-skipper.
The tricky thing about the class-skipper is you can never tell who they are. Once in a blue moon, or when coincidentally there is an exam, they'll appear in your class sitting in a normally empty seat.
You'll start to question yourself on whether they are lost, or if you just never took the time to notice them.
It's actually quite easy to recognize the class-skipper. They usually wear the "classic" college sweatpants, only bring a pencil to class and sometimes have the classroom number scribbled on their hand or a piece of scrap paper.
What class-skippers don't understand is they are wasting their time, your time and your professor's time. Skipping classes has almost become an epidemic at universities across the nation.
Whether because of laziness, distaste for the class, illness or forgetting to set an alarm, it has become more common to miss class for an entire semester, only strategically showing up on crucial days.
According to the study done by sociologist and professor Gary Wyatt from Emporia University, "Skipping class: An analysis of absenteeism among first-year college students," about 20 to 40 percent of students are missing from any given class on any given day.
Wyatt said "skipping class affects the quality of a student's education as well as the morale of the faculty."
These facts and statistics do not sit well with UW Oshkosh instructors.
Crystal Mueller, English professor, said students who skip class are not only throwing away their education but their money as well.
"Skipping class seems obviously wasteful since students pay to go to class," she said. "The university is based on the notion of being exposed to a universe of ideas. It's a pretty narrow universe when fewer of us are there to exchange ideas."
Mueller said the biggest issue she has with class-skippers is having to take the time to recap past classes.
"The fact that students don't think about this is clear to me when someone asks, ‘Did I miss anything in class yesterday?'" Mueller said. "Um, yes. You did. And there's no way I can recapture all of that in an e-mail or a two-minute conversation before the next class."
French professor Deborah Beyer said attending class is even more vital for foreign language courses that require hours of listening and speaking each week.
"It deprives them of the opportunity to train their minds and ears to listening to the language they are learning," Beyer said. "They have to work that much harder to catch up on material. By skipping class, students actually create more, not less, work for themselves."
While all professors will excuse students based on illnesses or family emergencies, senior Kourtney Lechner said she has never skipped a class her entire life, even when she almost fainted during a class.
"Ten more minutes of class and we'd be done, and I told myself I had to stick it out," Lechner said. "I ended up passing out in the women's bathroom on the second floor of Swart. I woke up to some girl asking if I was okay."
Lechner said that regardless of the professor or the subject, she attends every single class.
"I attend class religiously because I feel bad if I don't," she said. "Some classes are useless, but if I go to class then I have a legitimate reason to complain and make my voice heard."
Paige Wagner, junior, said she attends class faithfully and that going to class was a value her parents taught her since she was a child.
"My dad is a teacher at a local Oshkosh high school, and he always pushed me to go to school and try my best from the day that I got on the school bus to go to kindergarten," Wagner said. "In my family, going to school is a commitment to learning, and I really like to learn."
Students are not only hurting their grades, but are stifling their education and future careers, she said.
"Skipping classes also prevents students from forming relationships with their professors," Wagner said. "A professor is not likely going to want to recommend a student from their class who rarely ever showed up."