They don’t make college easy. If you’re reading this, you probably already know that.
I believe I am doing well to keep on top of my school work and maintain a good GPA, but why do attendance requirements have an affect on how well I do in my classes?
On average, college students take 15 hours of classes and work at least one job. If they aren’t working a job, they are either an athlete who is required to attend practices six days a week for an average of three hours, workout four days a week for an hour and a half, attend study hall hours after classes and perform well at games on the weekends. Or a theatre student who is required to attend six hour-long rehearsals each night leading up to the performance. Or a nursing student who is required to attend clinical from 6:30 a.m.- 5 p.m. once a week and lab from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Aside from these school-related obligations, many students work a part-time job, or sometimes multiple, to pay for their college classes, textbooks and other necessities.
I consider myself to be an average college student. I am enrolled in 16 hours, am working two jobs and trying to keep my head above water.
On top of responsibilities related to school and work, we, as college students, have personal obligations to parents, siblings and grandparents back home. We are expected to call them regularly, keep them updated and visit them whenever we get a chance. Additionally, we have obligations to friends, roommates or housemates, to spend quality time with them and be there for them when they need us.
We also have an obligation to take care of our own bodies. We are told we must make sure we maintain a healthy diet, get at least eight hours of sleep each night and exercise regularly.
Add a romantic relationship or religious responsibilities and the to-do list continues. Technology increasing around us adds significant stress to our everyday lives, as well. We feel as if there is always something else that needs to be done. No time to rest. No time to be still. There is no wonder this pressure runs us down physically, mentally and spiritually.
According to the data collected from a survey by the American Psychological Association in 2017, there has been a 31 percent increase in students seeking appointments in counseling centers and 61 percent of college students seeking counseling report they are struggling with anxiety.
On top of all the things we have to worry about inside of our classes, at ACU specifically, we must worry about our attendance in these classes. Attendance is not required at most public universities.
In one class I was told if I missed two class periods I would fail the course. That leaves next to no room for getting the stomach bug or the contagious flu and being bed-ridden for a few days or take time away for a family emergency. What if I get a simple cough and cold and don’t feel like stepping out of the house? What if I just need to catch up on sleep before going to work for another six hours? Much less, if I ever wanted to skip class to attend something fun and nourishing to the soul like a concert or other special event, I can forget about it.
I understand that the argument for mandatory attendance is to prepare us for the “real world,” but the difference is we get paid when we show up to work in the future. Right now, we are paying to attend these classes, so I believe we should have the freedom to choose when we need to attend. The fact is, many of us could pass our classes without attending every class, with the proper amount of studying. Sometimes, I believe that we need to be able to focus more on our well-being than sitting in class listening to a lecture.
I think it’s time we reevaluate the need for mandatory student attendance.