Have some class; don’t play hookey

Despite that fact that these past few months have been a winter washout,  students who were kept inside on gray days are now coming out of hibernation in full force. Even the Boston Police have taken notice. 

“Police say students plan to skip school today”  read one headline in The Boston Globe last Friday. According to the article, the rising temperatures prompted police to station units around all beaches in the immediate area to monitor the plethora of students they expected would spend their day on the sand. 

No exception to the rule, many of these college kids were our own Emerson classmates. There are reasons to miss class, and then there are good reasons to miss class. Blowing off a Friday morning lecture because you hit the frat house circuit Thursday night is a reason to sleep in. Regretfully informing your professor that you would rather not show up and projectile vomit is a legitimate reason to stay in bed. But what’s a student to do when the jet stream gifts us glorious weather on class days?

Last week became a record-breaker as skies cleared and the weather channels touted 80 degree days. These rising temperatures seemingly elevated the number of students choosing blankets on The Common over seats behind desks. But it’s only March. If burned out students are apt to skip because of nice weather, perhaps professors should provide more incentive to choose classes over sunglasses. 

I will admit to being tempted by phenomenal weather and wanting nothing more than to feel grass beneath my feet. Even in class I fantasized about being outside, hear shouts from the nearby Quidditch team, and to try not to be engulfed by the clouds of strange smelling smoke that lingers across the public space. During moments like this I try, sometimes in vain, to remind myself that longer days mean the sun will still be shining after I mentally tough it through another lecture. 

[elementor-template id="60935"]

The correlation between superb weather and lessened productivity does not simply stop with college students. According to Kronos International, a company that specializes in workforce management, the phenomenon of adults ditching their desk and day jobs to catch a few rays is sometimes referred to as “Seasonal Absence Syndrome”.

The study surveyed 1,077 full-time adult workers and found that 39 percent had skipped work in order to enjoy pleasant weather. Further, instances of employees calling in sick or personal days goes up on Mondays and Fridays.  

The survey also asked employees, who worked in a number of office jobs, what their employers could do to make going to work during the summer months more appealing. The answers ranged from allowing employees to take Fridays off to providing more flexibility to work outside. 

Schedules are already set, and I doubt professors would voluntarily stop teaching their Friday classes due to 80 degree weather. However, promising students that class can be held outside on rare occasions is often a great motivating factor for students not to blow off their commitment. Plus, students would think twice about venturing into an area where they know their professor and all of their diligent peers could catch them playing hookey. 

Additionally, more professors should adopt a structure of randomized assignments that cannot be made up after the day of their completion. Students may groan and complain at the beginning of the semester when the syllabus informs them that pop quizzes are a possibility, but at least they’ll be present to complain and not off frolicking on Castle Island.

If pop quizzes and lost points aren’t enough to fully convince a student to haul it to class, perhaps financial reasons will. Extreme as it may sound, perhaps professors should bullet point three monetary figures on every syllabus: the overall cost of a class, the cost of each meeting, and the actual cost of ever minute spent in the classroom.

My parents have always told me that if I miss a class, I might as well go and rip a hundred dollar bill in half. According to the tuition information of Emerson’s website, each class costs roughly $4,016. That’s roughly $1.40 every minute you are in class. Think of how much some students complain about the cost of the laundry machines and realize that you could almost do one load every minute you are in class for the same price.

So, next time the sun is shining, the smokers don’t have to seek shelter from the elements as they light up, and the hallways began flowing with maxi dresses, remember that it’s not quite summer yet. I know it’s a drag sometimes, but find a reason to get yourself to class. Remember, a little vitamin D is not worth an actual D.