Should you skip class?

Tick, tock… tick, tock. Sitting in some classes, I wonder, “Why am I even here? What is the purpose of the lecture I’m sitting through, if it’s not being covered on the test, or final? Why did I only sleep 4 hours last night and make the choice to marathon “13 Reasons Why?””

Do you feel similarly in your classes sometimes? These days, I’ve been making the bold decision to skip class. It started when my friend from Rutgers talked about it to me over spring break. He told me, “Why should you bother going to class if you’re not going to pay attention anyway?” I was taken aback. All of first semester, I was so diligently going to class, despite of how boring I knew certain lectures would be and how unhelpful and irrelevant the recitations were in relation to the actual exams we had. But this semester, I came to a new realization: I have the freedom and power to decide what I want to do with my time.

In the past, I was kind of a pushover. As a child, my teacher’s comments about me were always along the lines of, “Audrey gets along with her peers well” and “Audrey is a good listener.” I was. I was cooperative and diligent, and I would read all the time. People think I’m quiet now, but back then, I was really, really quiet. I only had one other friend, she only had me as well I suppose, and we only spoke with each other. To everyone else, my teachers included, I would maybe say a few words and do as they asked to move on with my life. And they called that being a “good listener.” Fast forward ten years to now, this doesn’t hold true for me anymore.

There are two types of students, I noticed, in my classes. Students who are “good listeners”: those that generally have a gist of what’s going on, and not-so good listeners. People who skip class, watch sports live streams during class, text through their MacBooks or Facebook messenger during class, or even just zone out and sleep during class, I all consider under this category. When I look at these students, I wonder, why do they even come to class? And why are they even are in college if they don’t even want to learn? Of course, everyone has some bad days, myself included. Maybe their friend is having an emotional crisis during their class and they’re consoling them, maybe they had a midterm and an essay the night before and could only sleep 3 hours. But these kind of circumstances aren’t there every single day of the semester.

It’s always the same people I notice, to be honest, doing the same things during class. The same people volunteer to speak, the same people don’t. The same people are texting their friends, and the same people skip every time. I wonder why no one wants to change when we have so much new freedom and power in college to reset and try new things any time we want.

My goal this semester is to be less of a goody two-shoes. It was a big shift for me, but I went to a party this semester. And I hated it less than I expected. I skipped some of my recitations, and I spent a little more time hanging out with people past my “bedtime.” I spent a lot of money over the weekend on food: more than I was comfortable with, but really enjoyed the meals and conversations I had during them.

College gives us so much freedom and power to change our lives and make our own choices. I want to change in small ways, and valuing myself and my time, and more importantly, figuring out what I want to do with my life, are all things I want to accomplish during my time at Stevens. To answer my question, should you skip class? Yes, but only if you’re doing something more worthy of your time, something that is helping you accomplish your own personal goals. Because if you calculate it, the extra hour or two is a very expensive exchange.