If you’re a human, you’ve more than likely experienced being sick. It happens to all of us—some more than others. So isn’t being sick enough of a miserable experience? Should professors punish students for missing their classes?
Personally, I have a few issues when it comes to attendance policies in college. On one hand, I understand what they are trying to reinforce. Attendance in class is really important, and usually necessary when it comes to passing. If you don’t show up, are you truly learning anything? Engaging with professors and fellow students is one of the best ways to get a good understanding of the subject. Better understanding translates to higher test scores and retention of material. Plus, that class you really wanted to skip but went to anyway might be the class where you learn something life-changing.
On the other hand, this policy can severely hurt some students who have medical issues, family issues or who are the unlucky owners of a bad immune system. Medical bills can mount up if you’re required to show documentation for every time you’re sick and many students just can’t afford to go to the doctor for the common cold.
If you fall under this category, you usually know how to make up for what you’ve missed. Making connections in classes with other students and memorizing office hours can seriously help you when you’ve spent time getting to know the toilet. And, for those of us who spend more time under the weather than outside enjoying it, these connections have saved our test scores more often than not. But, policies that are meant to inspire the lazy can have a serious effect on those who aren’t.
I believe most students are aware of the (ever increasing) cost of college, and how much is being spent per credit. Whether you show up or not should be your own choice, and not up to the strict regulations of the attendance policies. An attendance policy isn’t going to make the difference of passing or failing if you’re too lazy to go to any of your classes. Reducing grades on projects or overall grades for a class solely off of attendance isn’t fair. If you’ve done the work and made an effort to communicate with the professor, then students shouldn’t be penalized because of a policy that’s too general.
So kids, go to class. At least pretend to be engaged and you’ll be surprised how much you learn. If you get sick, talk to your professor, talk to your peers and pray to the grading gods that your professor gets amnesia the day they submit your final grades. It’s pretty much your only option.
Click here for information on Ferris’ Birkam Health Center.