It’s 7am, your alarm clock is buzzing and you know you should get up – now – if you want to make it to class on time. But the temptation of the ‘snooze’ button and your warm, comfy bed are too much to bare. Sound familiar? If so, you’re not alone. Indulging in lie-ins at the expense of lectures and seminars is the scourge of many a student. But missing class can have devastating effects on your studies and it’s important to nip any bad habits in the bud before they get too ingrained…
According to a recent Harvard study which analysed Tweets about attendance, 87% of students admitted to skipping class. And there are a number of reasons why: it could be good, old-fashioned laziness that keeps you behind; or dread at boredom in class; it could even be a sense of complacency (perhaps you think you know all there is to know about a specific topic already), or a confidence that you aren’t going to write your assignment on this subject-strand, so don’t need to bother going. But for some students, the reason behind skipping class is more sinister; for some, social anxiety, and perhaps even depression, can lead to worrying dips in attendance.
Although the reasons behind missing lectures and seminars can vary, the pitfalls remain the same…
You could miss out on important information
It might sound obvious, but missing class means that you forego the opportunity to learn about certain things; things that might just crop-up in an exam, or could form an integral part of an assignment. By missing class, you are – in a sense – setting yourself up to fail.
Active learning helps to embed knowledge
One reason you might be keen to skip a specific class could be that you’ve already read-up on the topic at hand and therefore feel you would get no benefit from attending class. But the interactive nature of class is a great way of cementing your understanding. Seminars provide students with the opportunity to discuss, debate and explore a subject in a way that just isn’t possible during self-study. Your fellow students or tutor might address a misunderstanding of yours, illuminate knowledge gaps, or provide you with the opportunity of viewing something from a different perspective. All of which could be vital in maximising your success. In addition, the note-taking that forms such a key part of higher education can help embed knowledge as you listen to facts and reframe them in your own words. Lecture notes are also great for revision and could seriously help to improve your grades.
You could harm the relationship with your tutor
Although it might not be on your list of priorities, maintaining a good relationship with your tutors is key to making the most out of your course. Not only will they form a better opinion of you if you have positive attendance rates (which could be key for securing a good reference come graduation time), but you will feel more able to approach them if you ever need their support.
You could miss out on the opportunity of meeting new friends
Attending class is the best way of creating strong bonds with your classmates, who could provide you with excellent support throughout your studies and even beyond if you really click. By skipping class you starve yourself of the opportunity to nurture good relationships; which form a key part of emotional health.
So, next time you feel the urge to skip class, think again. The benefits of regular attendance are manifold and will all contribute to your overall success. If you are really struggling, then seek support from your classmates and tutor and take a look at our blog ‘Studying with Depression’ for more advice.