Why College Attendance Policies Are Absolutely Ridiculous

Why College Attendance Policies Are Absolutely Ridiculous

The ones that don't excuse absences under any circumstances, at least.
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When I walked into my first ever college class and heard my teacher address their personal classroom attendance policy, I almost fell out of my chair. She told us that there is no difference between an excused or unexcused absence, you only get three of them before automatically failing the course, and you can’t make up any in-class activities from the class you missed unless you’ve coordinated with them a week in advance.

Being the optimistic first-semester freshman that I was, I assumed that most professors would be more lenient since my college’s official attendance policy leaves all official decisions up to the professor. Unfortunately, I was wrong. Three out of five of my first semester classes had the exact same policy. Now, in my second semester, four out of five have the same policy.

I’m not the kind of person who just decides not to go to class because I don’t feel like it, so when I can’t make it, there’s a reason! On syllabus day, almost every professor says the words, “If you’re not here, don’t email me and tell me why. I don’t care.” Professors, I get it! You have 300 students each semester and a life outside of your job, but there is a difference between a student who doesn’t want to come to class because they’re going to the beach and a student who doesn’t want to come because they have the flu. The difference is, the kid with the flu will probably still show up… because of your attendance policy.

Professors, if you don’t want to administer tests, quizzes, or graded in-class activities to students who missed class because they were frolicking on the beach, that’s one thing. But the rules that state a student can’t make up work and will fail the course if they miss more than three classes is the reason that illnesses are so wide-spread on college campuses. If a student has a doctor’s excuse (or is even visibly ill!), be a good person and let them make up their work during your office hours! You’re getting paid to be there anyway, what does that hurt?

This being said, this expression of basic human decency should be extended to all other unavoidable events as well, such as the of a death of a loved one, a parent falling ill, or another inescapable crisis. Students have so much on their plates as it is. No one should have to worry about failing their courses in the midst of a personal emergency.

I think I speak for all students when I say THANK YOU to the professors who care about their students and try to work with them in situations they have no control over.

Your kindness and understanding mean more than you know.

Cover Image Credit: Photo by Mikael Kristenson on Unsplash

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A Letter To My Freshman Dorm Room As I Pack Up My Things

Somehow a 15' x 12' room became a home.

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Dear Geary 411,

With your creaky beds, concrete walls, and mismatched tile floors, you are easily overlooked as just another room we were randomly assigned to— but you were different. Inside your old walls, I have made some of the best memories of my life that I will hold on to forever.

Thank you for welcoming my neighbors in with open arms who quickly became friends who didn't knock and walked in like you were their own.

I feel like an apology is needed.

We're sorry for blaring the music so loud while getting ready and acting like we can actually sing when, in reality, we know we can't. Sorry for the dance parties that got a bit out of control and ended with us standing on the desks. Sorry for the cases of the late-night giggles that came out of nowhere and just would not go away. Sorry for the homesick cries and the "I failed my test" cries and the "I'm dropping out" cries. We're sorry for hating you at first. All we saw was a tiny and insanely hot room, we had no idea what you would bring to us.

Thank you for providing me with memories of my first college friends and college experiences.

As I stand at the door looking at the bare room that I first walked into nine months ago I see so much more than just a room. I see lots and lots of dinners being eaten at the desks filled with stories of our days. I see three girls sitting on the floor laughing at God knows what. I see late night ice cream runs and dance battles. I see long nights of homework and much-needed naps. Most importantly, I look at the bed and see a girl who sat and watched her parents leave in August and was absolutely terrified, and as I lock you up for the last time today, I am so proud of who that terrified girl is now and how much she has grown.

Thank you for being a space where I could grow, where I was tested physically, mentally and emotionally and for being my home for a year.

Sincerely,

A girl who is sad to go

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When Was The Last Time You Were Alive?

If you can't post it for everyone to see, was it truly a remarkable moment?

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Being alive is an essentially effortless act.

In theory, as long as you're eating food, drinking water, and performing as a human, assuming no major health conditions, most of us are living.

The tragedy I see most often is so very few of us are alive.

Now, I'm not suggesting you drop your textbooks and sprint up a mountain, or go broke trying to find yourself in new activities and events.

That's the illusion pressed onto so many of us. Social Media, more importantly, FOMO, has taught us that in order to truly be alive we need to make sure we travel far and wide, eat gourmet and unique food, and essentially, immerse ourselves in something phenomenal. However, regardless of what you do- don't do it without an audience and the value of your experience will only be justified by the number of likes you accrue on your #bestvacation ever because you #lovenature. With your back to the camera and wispy hair flowing in the beach air, you hit all of your angles, how else will you prove that you're alive to Instagram?

I fell for this too. I spent so much of my life constantly trying to get to the next phase life had to offer. High school was fun, but I was counting the days until graduation. Growing up in a small hometown wasn't awful, but I had sticky note calendars until my next vacation. And day in and day out, events would happen all around me that were just too "normal." I wasn't alive, but I was living.

Setting your soul on fire and truly living is so much more difficult than you could ever expect, but not because you have to drain savings and take along a buddy to snap all the perfect moments.

Choosing to be alive is realizing how important it is to be in this moment or phase in life and accepting it for all its worth. Instead of racing to the finish line or trying to sprint into your next season of assumed happiness, take time to notice all the beautiful and small things that make this moment so important. There is so much life to be found in simple moments.

Semesters are ending, we are all racing to summer. Perhaps in the process, take note of the routine cafeteria worker that constantly smiles at you and says hello. Or perhaps, giggle at the fact that in just a few short weeks that bus driver you see every single morning won't be apart of your morning routine.

The farther I get from what used to be my normal, the more I miss that season of life. I haven't lived in my hometown since I was eighteen, but I miss the simplicity that came with my drives to high school listening to Kanye West and the coziness of a small town opening its doors to start a new day. I never stopped to be alive in those moments, I was just simply living.

Wherever your next phase of life might be, it will always be there. You will always have something else coming. However, once this moment is gone. It's truly gone. Don't waste beautiful views trying to capture just the right picture for Instagram, take in the moment.

Living and experiencing life can be as simple as trusting that you're exactly where you need to be in life. Cherish each moment as you're in it. The next moment is coming whether you're ready or not.

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