If you want to be a College Student, going to class might help.

What is it about today’s college student? At the university that I teach, finals start tomorrow and I am getting dozens of calls the last two days about when finals are scheduled. It is driving our Program Assistant crazy.

Students, get a clue!

In the class schedule you used to register with at the beginning of the semester, there was a final exam schedule. So you knew when our exam was going to be before you even signed up for this class.

Why haven’t you been coming to class? For the last two weeks of classes, the first thing I have been doing is writing the time and date of the final on the blackboard and then reminding everyone verbaly when the final is. When you call me and ask, the first thing I ask you is why you haven’t been to class. My informal survey has shown that 10% of my class has had family members die in the last two weeks. Yea, right.

Also, while I am on the subject, do not wait until the last class day to bring up missed assignments. If you missed a test three weeks ago, Tuesday is not the time to mention it. You are expected to make up work in a timely manner. i.e. You are expected (and were told) that all makeup tests were to be taken the FIRST class day you returned.

Ditto for class assignments. I didn’t do the paper because I was sick the day you showed the movie, doesn’t cut it. It took all week to watch it in class. So you missed classes the whole week, not just one day. You also were told that if you did miss the movie, you were expected to rent the damn thing. If you had questions, you should have asked them as soon as you returned to class.

I have four hundred students papers and tests I have to grade in the next two weeks. I do not have time to be coddleing slackers who think my class is an easy A. (It is if you come to class and read the damn book.) I don’t have time during the semester to force you to go to class. I don’t have time to force you to study for tests. I don’t have time to personally call you and give you the assignments if you didn’t go to class. You are legally adults. Try to act like it.

When I went to college, I knew my exam schedule weeks in advance. If I missed an exam (only once) I knew what I had to do to resolve the issue. I took responsibility for my education.

This is not high school anymore. I don’t have to pass you. I won’t if you don’t do the work.

You are college students. You are supposed to be the smart ones in the world.

Act like it!

What Revedge said, and:

Slapping your name on an essay that you found on the Internet does not make it YOURS.

Oh, and one more thing: your grandparent cannot die twice in the same semester. Nobody is that stupid. (Except possibly you.)

Man oh man do I feel bad.

I’m a student and I’ve been missing classes left and right. I’m going through the most severe bout of depression that I’ve even known, and paying attention to school is getting impossible. I keep breaking down in to tears in the middle of class. I am barely coherent enough to write, and I know that all my essays are crap because I am too busy crying to write. I’m on anti-depressents now and they make me sick and sleepy and dreamy and I can’t sit still and awake long enough to sit through class.

I’d drop my classes, but then the people that give me grants would come a-calling demanding their money back (money which has already been spent on rent and tuition).

Somehow I’ve got to get through the rest of this quarter. I hate giving my teacher BS solutions as to why my work isn’t done and I keep slipping out of class early. It really is no excuse and they won’t believe me anyway!!!

As a student, I’ll defend the conflicting finals thusly:

Sometimes it’s damn hard to be able to schedule classes so they don’t conflict during the rest of the semester. Add required courses into the mix, courses only offered during specific semesters, or the supremely wicked spawn of the two, and you can see why students would be so grateful to make their schedule work that they don’t always look to see when finals are.

My university also supposedly has a policy that if you have 3 finals scheduled within a 24-hour period, you’re allowed to reschedule one of them. But I’m not sure whether that’s official or a rule students made up, a la the “10 minute rule.”

Once I had three finals schedules on the same day, back-to-back. None of my teachers would change, and I had no idea how to force them. That was not a cool semester. I do cut classes, especially if they’re boring lectures and the professor offers nothing that i can’t get out of the textbook. Why waste my time when I could be sleeping or studying for something else? On the other hand, I don’t go running to professors at the last minute looking for favors. Being one of those kids who never speaks in class and cuts often, I know I’ll get nowhere, even if my papers and test performance say I’m a good student.

I think students treat college like high school for a variety of reasons. For one, many students at the university are simply not yet mature enough to appreciate that type of environment. maybe I fall into this category - one of the secondary reasons I skip class is because it’s something I never did in high school being Li’l Miss Overachiever. Another reason students don’t take the university seriously is because many professors are crappy teachers who give mind-numbing lectures and establish zero rapport with the students. I realize that rapport is pretty damn impossible in those gigantic lecture halls, but I’ve had professors in situations like that who genuinely did try (e.g. my Physiology prof.) and professor who didn’t even bother.

My wife is a professor and I see this all the time. This semester she had a student email her during week 8 of a 15-week semester wanting to know if she could still get a C in the class - the class she had never bothered to set foot into.

They all want to be spoon-fed. We coddled these people through high school and they are completely unprepared for college. A friend of mine who teaches college math had this exchange with a student:

Student: What can I do about that take-home test?

Teacher: What do you mean what can you do? You never turned it in, and it was due two weeks ago.

Student: That wasn’t my fault. I went to go look at it the night before it was due and then I couldn’t find it.

Not his fault? I’ve heard of students who claim it’s not their fault that they missed a test because their roommate didn’t make sure they woke up for it.

Many students seem to find the challenges of college a welcome relief from the boredom of high school. Many are completely not ready. Unfortunately our society now demands that all students attend college and demands college diplomas for jobs that can be done by the average high school graduate.

And yeah, there are many college professors that don’t have a clue. I myself missed a test in college because I never went to class. A psych class at LSU - I went the first week, all ready to listen and take notes and the professor literally read to us out of the book. Started on page one and just read. After two weeks of this I said, “Screw it, I can read.” So I just showed up for the tests - until she rescheduled one. I missed it and what could I say? So I ended up flunking the class and took it again. Once again, she read to us, but this time I knew someone in the class who just sat in there and did homework for another class, so she agreed to warn me if any tests were rescheduled.

But anyway, I’m amazed at the students I hear about. I wasn’t a great student back in my first round of college but I wouldn’t have dreamed of doing the things they do. So many of them have no sense of personal responsibility - everything that happens to them is someone else’s fault. They expect everything to be handed to them. They want to be given As for stating their opinion. “I think Jane Eyre is a robot from Mars.” “Can you defend that statement?” “Defend it? Just give me my A. You’re a bitch because you don’t agree with my opinion.”

This is not all students, of course, but it’s a lot of them. And I blame the high schools, which are more interested in building self-esteem - that is, making people feel better about not knowing stuff rather than teaching it to them.

I’m a returning student, back after 6 years off. This time, my GPA is roughly twice as high as it was the first go-round.

How? Well, let’s see:

  1. Most professors are kind enough to hand out a little paper called a syllabus on the first day of class. These are prety handy, so take note of the days that tests are scheduled for, papers are due, guest speakers are coming, etc. You can even (gasp!) write the dates these things are happening in your day planner! Also, there are office hours, email addresses, etc in there – use them! Don’t show up 5 minutes before the class the day that the big paper’s due begging for an extension.

  2. I don’t skip class. Ever. I made that mistake the first time. Once you’ve missed a couple classes, it gets easier and easier to stay away. Then, after you’ve missed several, it becomes “hell, I’ll never catch up, so why bother?” or “All I need is a C anyways”. Yeah, but if you fuck up and get a D, you are screwed.

I was amused by the sudden appearance about a month ago of the girl who sits next to me in my psych class this semester (and comes to class maybe once a month). Instructor arrives, and class begins. At the break, she asks me, “Wasn’t there an exam tonight?” No, I replied, he rescheduled it two weeks ago to be given next week. The look on her face was priceless.

  1. I ask questions about concepts I don’t understand. You don’t have to look like a goober to do this. You can call or email the instructor if it’s just tooooo embarassing to ask in class. Guess what? Instructors likeit if you make an effort to look like you’ve read the text! Your grade might actually improve! And if you participate, they’ll remember you and may be more inclined to help you out if you’re a couple points shy of higher grade, or a paper is late, etc.

  2. If you truly hate all of your classes, your professors, your school – change your major, change your school, whatever. Don’t just bitch about how awful the program is – it’s up to you to make an effort. There are people who’d be happy to take your place.

*Yes, I came thisclose to flunking out during my first attempt at college. I was on academic probation twice in two years before I dropped out.

My financial aid this time is dependant on me maintaining good grades, and I can’t afford to go without it. I also won’t get a job in my chosen field without a degree. Since I know this is what I want to do, I am working my ass off to do it.

A few notes on the subject of excuses:

  1. “Senioritis” is not a real disease. “Fraternity rush” is not a real religious holiday.

  2. It is easy to tell a real excuse from a fake one. Fake excuses are written in an excessively formal style and may grant the instructor academic titles she does not possess, substitute TMI for actual documentation, and replace offers to make up the work with cheap personal appeals.



::: laughing at ** Fretful Porpentine**'s fake excuse :::

So, am I a freak? Since I started university in the fall of 2000, I’ve missed a total of four days of classes (when I was so ill it took me, literally, about 10 minutes to make it from my bed to the bathroom). The only class I’ve skipped was when the professor told us, “The next lecture really isn’t that important, don’t come if you don’t want to.” When I have missed class, I email my professors and explained I was unable to make it (much like Fretful’s real letter, but a bit more formal) (but not like C. David Smith, Esquire :D)

I keep my syllabi in the front of each binder. I have an individual binder for each class. I keep a day planner where, on the first week of the semester, I write down FINAL EXAM (along with subject, room number, and time of day) on the day of the final exam. I have the test dates written out in advance. I write my homework assignments down on the days they should be done.

I cannot imagine missing weeks and weeks of a class. Why bother signing up for the class if you’re not going to go? I understand that there are shitty professors and classes where you can learn the material just by reading the book on your own, but… I dunno, I’m paying enough to go to university, it’s like I feel I should get my money’s worth by going to classes.

You are among the minority, it seems. Many students believe that they can skip class BECAUSE they’re paying for it. “It’s my money, if I don’t want to go to class, I shouldn’t have to.” (It usually isn’t their money.) I’ve even seen students who believe they are entitled to passing grades because they’re paying: “I’m not paying for Ds and Fs.”

Takes all kinds, I spose.

easy e do you go to the U of M? If you do, it’s probably a school policy. It is up here at the Duluth campus.

Anyway, my class attendance is directly related to the quality of the professor (unless attendance is taken, of course). I show up every day for the profs who put effort into teaching, know what their doing, and actually teach things. I rarely bother to go to classes where the professor shows up and wings it. I stopped going regularly to one of my classes this semester after the prof answered her cell phone during class, then had a 5 minute conversation. If the prof isn’t putting any effort into the class, why should I?

oh, this is the joyful difference between US college and the british/irish university system.

your lectures are pretty much compulsory. ours aren’t…in fact they’re sort of completely voluntary.

i’m doing medicine, i like about 80% of my class miss 4 or more lectures a week. if i know what the lecture is on, i’ll read up on it in the library, get a copy of the notes from someone who was there, and thus make a more productive use of my time.

practical classes are compulsory, and so are the assessments for them, but that’s only 8 hours a week. with 6 hours of anatomy as well, i think i’m entitled to miss a lecture if i’m staying in the library for 12 hours…and the entire lecture is just going over the relevant chapter in the book without adding anything to it.

last year my friend went to 3 lecture ALL YEAR. he lived in the library and got honours in every subject.you can do well self-studying, and it stops the spoon-feeding in its tracks.

I’ve always found class attendance to be overrated.

HOWEVER, I am 100% aware that 1.) this is a personal thing for me, and is certainly not the best course of action for most people, and 2.) I am fully responsible for any and all information distributed in class.

99.9% of our medical school lectures have been accompanied by a comprehensive handout. I learned early on that I could usually spend 15 minutes with one of these handouts and get just as much benefit as I could from an hour lecture. I realized that even when I did attend class, I wasn’t listening; I was just sitting there reading the handout and then being bored. I eventually stopped attending class altogether during my second year of med school; I would get the handouts and read them, then spend the extra time reading the textbooks. I understood things better, I got more sleep, and my grades shot from the B/C line to the A/B line.

Again, this worked for me because I have a strong preference for reading over listening for absorbing information, AND because I was disciplined enough to actually do the reading. It was a hassle sometimes, and I got a lot of crap from some of my classmates for “not taking med school seriously” because I didn’t show up and do the crossword puzzle, but I don’t regret a thing.

Unfortunately, I’m in the most miniscule of minorities when it comes to class-skippers. I taught a calculus class before med school, and when exam time came around, I had the usual “what can I do now?” stragglers come in and surprise me around exam time. I do remember one kid who hadn’t been to class very much, but he had really made an effort to do it on his own, and just came to my office seeking help on the finer points. I offered it gladly. The “So what’s this ‘derivative’ thing, again?” losers were all but physically thrown out on their asses.

Dr. J

Wow–slacker med student simulpost!

If zweisamkeit is a freak in the minority, I’m there as well. (For a couple more weeks, then I graduate and become a former member of that minority.) I never missed classes without a reason, which was usually a pressing project for another class. Over four years, I think I’ve missed 8 classes. None of them were for my major or minor, and I never missed a day of the summer semesters I took to get an edge.

I even went to classes where I knew I could get all the information out of the book. I find going to lectures helps reinforce the material from the book and it gives you a better idea of what the professor will choose to emphasize on the test. Plus, in my psychology and sociology classes, the professors would often mention statistics or facts that weren’t in the text.

In a semester, I get to know which classes I can skip and which I can’t. I found I could skip, for example, a fair portion of my Structure of English classes this past semester (which was good because they were my only classes on Tues and Thurs), very few sexual ethics classes, and no syntax classes ever ever. It ended up working out all right.

The main thing is I don’t expect the teacher or TAs to make any more allowances for me than for others; when I am in class, I participate; and in general I just use some common sense and resourcefulness.

high fives DoctorJ and runs back to the anatomy lab…mmm cadavers!!

St. Urho (by the way, your name comes from a Finnish saint, right?), no, I go to the UW.

I’ll confess that I am a class skipper. There are several reasons, most of which have been touched on before–poor lecturers (I didn’t attend my physics lecture after the second week of class, but I did go to discussion and lab), lectures that don’t teach me anything, sleeping late (I’ve been known to turn alarms off in my sleep), making up for being so hard-core in high school, beautiful days in May, etc. However, I AM paying for my schooling (okay, part of it is loans, but I will have to pay those back), and I take full responsibility for my actions.

I’d say I cut between a third and a half of the classes I enrolled in when I was in college the first time. Since there was no noticible difference in my grades in the classes I attended religiously and the classes I cut at every opportunity, I figured that I wasn’t getting anythng out of the lectures and “class discussions” (Ha!) that I was getting out of just doing the reading. Hell, I took a history course that I attended precisely five times (first day, second day, midterm, final, and the day the big paper was due) and still got a B+. I mean, what’s the difference between me falling asleep in class or just staying in bed? Especially if I’m still learning the material.

On the other hand, I never offered excuses, I never asked for special treatment, and if I failed a class (only happened once) or got less than a C (only happened twice), I didn’t complain or beg for a second chance or a higher grade.

Which is why the students described in the OP bug the hell out of me. These whiny jackasses make it harder for responsible class cutters like me to acquire an education without cutting into my valuable social life (double Ha!). Teachers get sick of dealing with these crybabies, so they crack down on all the AWOL students, even those of us who are willing to put the work into passing classes despite never attending them.

Well, let’s see, if you have two grandmas, and two grandpas… and whenever one dies the widow(er) re-marries…

Hell, you could have an endless supply. :wink: