As much as I would like to pretend that I am a perfect student who would never skip class, that just isn’t an honest depiction. Just like any other college students, I have skipped classes before. Sickness, exhaustion, and sometimes just plan laziness can make an otherwise good student do the inevitable – skip class. In this post, I share my tips for keeping track of your skips, only skipping when needed, getting caught up on missed material, and more!
When to Skip Class
The truth of college is that going to class is super important, but sometimes you just won’t be able to. Maybe you stayed up late doing a project for another class, and you can’t even imagine keeping your eyes open in your 8am. Or maybe you are super sick and don’t think you can get out of bed. Maybe you woke up and you feel depressed or anxious and the thought of going to class is sending you to a bad place. Despite what some may tell you, these are valid reasons to skip class.
The most important part of not missing too much is to only skip when you really need it. Don’t waste your few unexcused absences on days where you would rather watch Netflix or you just wanted to drink the night before. Save them for days where the thought of going to class makes you want to curl into a ball of misery.
Find a Buddy (Or Two)
I cannot tell you how valuable it is to have at least one person in every class that you can contact if you miss a day. When the semester starts, chat with the people next to you and ask the people around you (the more the merrier), if they would want to exchange numbers and possibly notes if anyone were to miss a day. Almost always, the answer will be yes! Every student wants to have that back up, so don’t feel awkward asking someone else! Those same people are also super helpful to contact when you space out and forget what the assignment was!
Create an Absence Tracker
This has been super helpful for me throughout my years in college. Most professors will have their own attendance policy, with a certain number of unexcused absences allowed. On the first day of class, write these down in one place for you to go back to later. I like to fill out an empty notes page in my planner with each class, how many absences are allowed, and then I can check each box as I use the absence. This super helpful visual will make sure you don’t accidentally skip more than the allowed number of classes. My first semester at college I missed one class too many and lost 3 points, pushing me from an A- to a B+. Ever since then, I have carefully kept track of my absences and how many I have used!
Not that you should plan your skips in advance, but make sure when you are choosing to skip that you aren’t missing a major day. If there is a test, you drag your butt in there no matter what. If there is a vital presentation that you know will be important, take some medicine and show up. You don’t want to put yourself in a situation that you won’t be able to recover from! Last semester I had 4 classes in one day, and I was incredibly sick. I skipped 3 out of the 4, but I showed up for the fourth because it was the class before the test and she was going over the study guide. I made a choice and did as much as I could to stay on top of things.
Check the Syllabus
If you missed class, do NOT email the professor (unless they want you to). Professors never want to deal with students asking what they missed in class. Contact your buddy in the class, or if you don’t have one, check the syllabus for the class, where all the homework should be. Make sure you accomplish everything for the next class, so you don’t get behind on anything. Check blackboard and email as well, in case the professor sent out a reminder about anything that happened in class that day.
Review the Missed Material
Often, when college students skip a class, they do nothing to learn the material they missed. They cross their fingers and read their friends notes, hoping that will be good enough. I highly recommend finding the material covered in your textbook or online, and trying to self-teach yourself most of it.
If you are still confused, you should go to the professor or TA’s office hours before the test, and ask them to briefly refresh the topic for you. They will be glad to go over it with you, but do not expect them to teach you the whole lesson. Go to the office hours with specific questions in mind and know exactly what you are confused about. They can’t help you if you don’t know what you need help with! Another idea is to go to the study session. For many classes, the TA for the class will offer a study session before the test. If you don’t want to go to office hours, this is another great way to brush up on the material you missed and make sure you will still be ready for the test.
Conclusion + Final Tips
With these tips in mind, you can skip class like a pro! Here are my last few pieces of advice for you when skipping class!
Don’t Freak Out
Sometimes when you skip a class, you spend the whole time feeling guilty for missing. College is important, but you have to take care of yourself first. If your mental/physical health is suffering, you should take the break. You are probably not going to pay attention or add value to the class anyway if you feel horrible. If you still feel guilty, write an email to the professor, apologizing for missing. Explain the reasons you felt unable to come to class that day. Professors are humans too. Last semester when my grandma passed away, my professors were very understanding that I needed to miss a few classes. While your situation may not be that extreme, keep in mind that professors do care and want you to be healthy.
Don’t Make a Habit Out of It
There are valid reasons to skip, but it can be dangerous to make a habit out of it. My first semester at college, I used my new found freedom to skip class all the time. My classes were easy, so I thought I would get away with it. Unfortunately, poor attendance gave me two B’s, which are the only reason I don’t have a 4.0 GPA. Don’t let that happen to you! Keep track of your absences and make sure you are only skipping when you really need it. Not just when you don’t feel like it!
Do you have any tips for skipping class? Have you ever had to skip a class? Share your tips and stories in the comments below!