Skipping class is about more than laziness

Patrick Brennan, Assistant Opinions Editor

Patrick Brennan, Assistant Opinions Editor

Patrick Brennan

Do you ever go to the grocery store, pay for some groceries, and then leave bags behind on your way out? This is the attitude of the class skipper, but it is really not as simple as it seems.

For one, mistakes do happen, in the same way that sometimes you might accidentally forget a bag of groceries. But a real class skipper is not one who makes a genuine mistake.

Real skippers know they have classes, have no good excuses, but skip anyway. This is so common in college and is hardly talked about. We expect that some students won’t be good with attendance.

Our naive notion is that class skippers are notoriously lazy. They could show up to class, but make the unwise choice because they have misaligned values.

However, the psyche of a class skipper is more complicated than this. It’s not like grabbing your grocery bags — willpower, pride and repression are all factors that keep students out of the classroom.

It is obvious that next to no one in college wants to fail. So for the class skipper, is the alternative, whatever they are doing besides class, just much more enticing?

Zach Werrmann, an electrical engineering freshman, has never missed a class.

“In some of my classes there’s a large number of people, so … I only notice (class skipping) during recitation with smaller class sizes,” Werrmann said.

The class skippers have a problem enacting their wills; they can command what they want (to do well in college), but cannot obey. In doing so, they show that there are non-obvious questions to consider about the ways in which we are both master and slave unto ourselves.

Pride is often a component in the class skipping mindset for younger college students. When taking the shortest path to completion, the prideful class skipper sees a route that is not always there. They take it nonetheless, only to find out later if their intended shortcut meets up with the right path.

Repression is one of the less talked about elements of class skipping. It starts with a class not going well or a student making a short-lived habit out of missing class.

To avoid confronting this sore spot in their life, the class skipper will reduce their thoughts on the class. This means falling behind more and skipping more, only to avoid the pain.

“Some people have connections, people they can get notes from. I think it’s more having to do with laziness, however. Just not wanting to get up and go,” Werrmann said.

Like cheating and plagiarism, class skipping is often glossed over in the syllabi as a naive mistake, like purchasing groceries and leaving them behind. However, the action is more complicated than that. We need to stop sweeping it under the rug and recognize a more honest dialogue about class skipping.

Patrick Brennan is the opinions editor of the Kentucky Kernel.

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