Making it to class is half the battle

Lecture halls are always jam-packed for the first one or two days of class, and then numbers begin to dwindle. By the middle of the term, there are more empty seats than occupied ones. Then, out of nowhere, the hall is full again. It must be test day. This scene repeats itself across the country year after year. There’s another pattern that repeats itself, too: The students who keep attending lectures are the ones who get the top marks in the class.

Many freshmen get into the habit of skipping class because it is so easy to do so. There are very few extrinsic motivational factors in college. Unlike high school, there’s no detention for skipping class. In fact, most professors don’t even bother taking a roll call. This freedom can be inebriating.

Making Attendance Easy

Do you want to succeed in college? Go to class! Sure, it’s nearly impossible to make it to every class (we all get sick or sleep through our alarms from time to time), and it’s awfully tempting to sleep through your 8 a.m. lecture after a night on the town, but it’s undeniable that there’s a clear correlation between attending class and scoring well on tests and assignments. Most college courses are designed in a way that each lecture is independent of the others and very little material is repeated. Missing one lecture means that you miss a chunk of course material that you may never get the chance to make up.

Don’t think of attendance as a choice. Don’t use bad weather or a minor ailment like a cold or a hangover as an excuse to stay home. If you approach it the right way, it can be easy to make it to class regularly. You’ll find that you get in a groove and, soon enough, you’ll hate missing class.

Some students have success by forming an alliance with a roommate or classmate in which they monitor each other’s attendance record and push each other to make it to class every day. Preparation helps a lot. Getting to bed on time and having your book bag packed, including your completed homework, can make getting up in the morning a lot easier.

Chronic Skipping

Skipping class is a risky thing to do. Those who make a habit of it often find themselves sliding down a slope towards failure. By the time these students realize the error of their ways, they can be too far behind to do anything about it. Their progress is easy to track. Skipping classes leads to poor performance on tests and assignments, which leads to increased stress and anxiety. These factors snowball. Many students react to the stress they feel by skipping even more classes, which, although it temporarily allows them to avoid the source of their anxiety, only causes more problems in the long run.

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