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Should college professors take attendance?

(IIP Digital)

(IIP Digital)

Alexis Weston | Staff Writer

Some days we’re extremely busy. Some days we’re emotionally exhausted. Some days we just need to sleep.

Every student can’t attend every single class that they have every single day. Of course, we are students. We need to dedicate a significant amount of our time to classwork and attending class. However, we are adults. Going to class should be our prerogative.

“If students want to pay not to come to class, they should be allowed to,” said Nelson White, a transfer student in the 5 year MBA program from Oakland, California. As a collective, the student body consistently goes on and on about the amount of money that we pay to come to a University that some of us consider less than excellent.

It would be easy to argue that attendance should be mandatory (whether it be a written rule or something we just naturally follow) for that fact alone. And in some respects, that viewpoint is completely correct. We spend way too much money to blow off classes like they’re nothing. However, it is our money that we’re spending. And what we do with it is completely up to us.

According to Grace Elliss, a second year 5 year MBA major from Fort Washington, Maryland, whether or not she misses a class, “varies on the importance of the class.” I hate to say this because I want to believe that every class is important and I fully respect all of our professors, but some classes just eat up our time.

We all have that one class where the professor talks about whatever they feel like talking about rather than something pertinent to the material for the entire class period. Like I said, we should give our complete respect to all of our professors, regardless of teaching style. But, if there’s something  more important to my academic career during that class, it’s more than likely that I won’t be in attendance.

Mental health is something that needs to be strongly considered when talking about whether or not attendance should be mandatory on college campuses. While each professor does give us about 3 days to miss class without consequences, sometimes we need a few more. If one of those days goes to working on a major assignment, another goes to being sick, and another goes to an extracurricular activity, that doesn’t leave any room for students, like myself, that have mental health issues that prevent them from attending class some days.

For some of us, we have days where it feels impossible to get out of bed. Sometimes, we even have days that we’re so emotionally exhausted we can’t even attempt to do so. We are human. We live complex lives outside of the classroom, and some of those lives involve having a mental illness. It’s something that our community is still trying to understand, but we haven’t quite gotten there yet.

We should be going to our classes. These classes are the reason that we’re here at Hampton University. But, it should also be understood that we lead full lives outside of these classes. We’re involved in multiple extracurricular activities, we do community service, we lead social lives, and we also need time to be alone and recharge. We won’t make it to every single class, and that’s okay. But, Hampton needs to understand that, too.  

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