Wednesday, June 17, 2009

How to Skip Class

The last thing you remember is doing everything in your power to stay awake to finish that homework that’s been waiting to be finished for days. Heaven only knows how you ended up facedown on your laptop with your hand still curled around a can of Nos.

Suddenly, you wake up and flail around for your snooze button. Peeking out the window, you let out a huge sigh. What you see is really discouraging. Not only is it raining icicles, but it’s so foggy that you can’t see past the glass in your window. So now you’ve got a choice to make. Do you or don’t you get up and get ready for class?

If you’re just feeling lazy and don’t want to go to class, you probably try to reason with yourself, and come up with an excuse to not go. April Bigelbach, a junior at Hennepin Technical College admitted to doing just that.

“Usually if it’s a Monday class, and I’ve worked all weekend, I’ll hit my snooze and go back to sleep,” she said.

This can be an extremely difficult choice to make, even if it’s the middle of the day. With all the things that college students are busy with, like homework, studying, work, and shopping, sometimes it can just wear you down. So is there ever an ok time to skip class? Lorence Thomsen, a teacher at Nayahshing in northern Minnesota, gets very frustrated with students who skip.

“If they choose to go to school, why not actually go to class?” he said. “You’re paying for it, so it’s just wasting money that could’ve been used in other ways.”

Angela Sharp, a math professor here at UMD, tries her best to get students to show up to class. Not only does she not have online notes, which makes it harder to skip, but she tries to keep class interesting enough to encourage students to go.

“I can remember having incredibly dull classes when I was a student and how painful they were,” she said.

Something else you might want to think about is the possibility of what you could be missing. Before you decide to skip a class, you need to check your class’s syllabus and see if there’s anything important scheduled for the day. If it’s just a work day, and you aren’t running behind on anything for the class, it might be ok to stay home and watch that X-Files marathon on cable.

However, if you wake up and are too ill to go to class, there’s a way to get out of it without getting in trouble for missing assignments or quizzes. If you can, get up out of bed and shoot your professor an e-mail as soon as you can. Tell him/her that you’re not coming to class, and ask what you’ll be missing.

That way, your professor will know to set aside anything that they hand out in class, so you can pick it up later. Also, this shows the professor responsibility. He or she will know (or think) that you care enough about this class to want to do well and not fall behind.

“My students are told on the first day of classes that they must inform me ahead of time of an absence in order to get an extension on the work,” said Sharp. “Extensions are only granted for those who have a medical or school related absence for the most part. I try to be understanding about the variety of situations that come up.”

Most professors have online notes or Power Points, which makes it all the more tempting to skip class. But once again, you need to make sure that if you do skip, you’re not missing anything besides those notes.

Another thing to take into consideration is your professor’s policy on missing classes. Some professors here at UMD have a set number of excused absences that are allowed during the semester. If that’s the case, you really shouldn’t use all of them at once.

Later in the semester, if you’ve used up all your excused absences because you’re lazy, and something like a funeral comes up unexpectedly, you’ll probably regret not saving one or two days as a precautionary measure. That’s when you have to do a lot of begging and pleading to be able to miss another class without consequences such as dropping a letter grade. But it all depends on the professor.

In all, think about these things when you’re trying to decide whether or not to skip class. Does it bother you to waste some money? Are you really sick, or just trying to come up with an excuse to skip? Does your professor have online notes that you can look at so you don’t fall behind? And don’t forget the power of the e-mail.

Really thinking about these things will help you skip class the smart way- if there is such a thing.

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