Attendance should not be mandatory

Emma Coppolo, A&E Editor

Attendance should not be mandatory. One of the things that you hear most when starting college is, “you’re adults, so we’re going to treat you like adults.” In many aspects, this is true. However, one thing majorly impeding this sentiment is the idea of mandatory attendance.Many colleges do not require attendance, but ours does. While I understand the reasoning of wanting to make sure we go to class, that’s also our choice. They’re right: we’re adults. That means that we have to actively decide to invest ourselves in our education. If students want to skip class, it should be their choice; after all, they’re the ones paying to go here.

I have had so many friends sit through classes where there is genuinely no information being taught. While their time could be much better allocated to tasks that actually require attention, they have to essentially wait-out a class that isn’t advancing them academically. The biggest problem that I specifically have with this is how stringent some professors’ policies are on missing classes. In some departments, students can miss what amounts to weeks of class with no questions asked. In others, nearly no classes can be missed without grades being altered. Some classes even have policies that only a single day of class can be missed without the student’s grade being affected. Even if the idea behind this is to avoid students skipping, it punishes students that have good reasons for missing class.

We’re in college; it’s supposed to be one of the best times of our lives. In my opinion, skipping class every now and then to take up an opportunity for a good experience is well worth it. Many of us have had our entire college experiences dominated by the pandemic. The world is finally starting to resume, and we should get to take part in that. A lot of us are such hard workers that we miss out on a good deal of fun that we could be having otherwise.

While I’m not implying that we shouldn’t be working hard, I am saying that we deserve occasional rewards for that dedication. Missing a few days of class should not be an obstacle if you’re able to make up the work you’ve missed.Both myself and many friends of mine have missed class for “mental health days,” which I think is completely understandable. College is hard, and sometimes we just need a day to take a breath. With modern technology, we’re never really away from school. On vacations, we’re answering emails.

At one in the morning, we’re writing essays in a dark room lit up by a laptop.  Missing a day of class to preserve your own sanity shouldn’t just be accepted but encouraged. Burnout is harder to resolve than to prevent. I think that our attendance policies are far too strict and students are the ones being hurt by it. I truly believe that, if we are adults, this is a great life lesson in responsibility. If attendance affects participation grades, I think that is totally fair. However, the way things operate now is simply ridiculous. I encourage professors to consider this reasoning and revise their attendance policies.