Playing hooky, wagging, truancy…

Wagging uni is like kissing: it has more synonyms than are necessary and it’s irreversible. What’s more, it could leave your academic career more strained than this woeful analogy.

The only time when it’s a good idea not to go to a class is when a) it’s non-compulsory AND b) you already know the content that’s being covered (and by this I mean that you definitely know that you know what’s being taught).

I also acknowledge the sad reality that some students are forced to skip class in order to work so that they can support themselves. If this is you, I admire your courage and resilience in being able to support yourself and get through uni in difficult circumstances.

This article is for the rest of us, who might be tempted to wag class for other reasons – the allure of freedom, the desire to sleep, the compulsion to eat chocolate, lack of motivation, an unengaging teacher… it would be impossible to list all the possibilities.

Instead, I might mention some of the reasons in favour of attending class:

1. You’ll learn stuff. Which I think we can all agree is probably the main part of receiving an education.

2. Attending class is always associated with higher grades – even if the class seems boring, the students aren’t paying attention, and the teacher is terrible, attending class seems to make students do better on assessments. Simply put, not attending class is setting yourself up to fail. If you decide you really don’t want to do a subject, withdraw from it – a withdrawal always looks better than a fail on your academic transcript (that piece of paper that academic institutions and potential employers will see for the rest of your life).

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3. You’re paying for those lessons. (Even if you’re on HECS or another kind of loan, your future self is paying for those lessons.) You might as well get your money’s worth.

4. While it’s easy to fall into a vicious circle of feeling unmotivated, not attending class, and then feeling even less motivated (and so on), breaking this pattern is one of the most important things you can do for your motivation. If you find that classes drag along or don’t interest you, it’s likely that other students will feel the same way, and by attending class, you can interact with other students in the same subject, and perhaps find some solidarity and motivation, and help each other get through it. (This has definitely worked for me in subjects that I found uninspiring.)

Basically, attending class is the single most important thing you can do for your academic success as a student.

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