Attendance should be a choice

Lauren Enos – Assistant opinions editor

For me to be a successful student, I need to attend class. I get nervous that I missed something vitally important, then I worry about getting all caught up, and it’s just not worth it for me. After being a college student for a respectable amount of time, I’ve learned this about myself through experience.

Yes, I have skipped many classes. Most times it wasn’t because I was sick, or had a funeral to attend, or because my car broke down on the road. I just didn’t want to go and I feel that I should be able to make that choice without repercussions.

I cringe when I’m confronted with a syllabus that outlines the penalties for unexcused absences. It makes me feel as if the professor thinks that I’m incapable of making my own choices causing me to feel like I am still in high school.  In my opinion, I should get to decide my own attendance policy because I’m the one paying to be here.

People in Classroom Photo courtesy of ThoughtCo

I realize that college is preparation for a students’ chosen profession and serves to ready students to enter the professional world. Attendance and punctuality is certainly important no matter what field you go into, but students aren’t professionals yet.

Instead of punishments for non-attendance, professors could simply say that attendance is vital to doing well in the course and that they highly recommend attending class regularly. If a student performed well, did their assignments on time, and participated in necessary discussions, why does attendance matter? If a student rarely showed up for class, did poorly, and expected anything but a poor grade, then that’s their own fault. They paid the tuition, chose not to be there, and reaped what they sowed.

Students have to make choices every day and it’s certainly not always easy. To pick up an extra shift at work or turn it down and study? To push that doctor’s appointment out another two months or go during class? To stay in bed or to go to class to watch a movie that’s available online?

Students need to discover for themselves how they work best and what they need to be successful. Part of allowing us to make our own choices involves the choice to attend class, even if it’s not advisable to miss it. We are adults, who pay to be here, and we should have the choice to not attend class without penalty.