About a third of my classmates were missing when I walked into an 8 a.m. class this week, but it wasn’t a sudden, mini-epidemic that kept them from coming to class. Neither was it because the building was locked and they simply couldn’t get there. It was midway through the semester, so I doubt it was because they all forgot we had class scheduled for that morning.
No, a third of the class didn’t show up that morning because of the prevailing campus-wide attitude that showing up at 8 a.m. is an achievement.
This attitude implies that sleeping through an early class isn’t necessarily a bad thing — it just means the skipper wasn’t in the “achieving mood” that morning. If attending class at 8 a.m. was compared to an academic test, it’d be as if showing up was an ‘A’ grade, but skipping was still a ‘C’ grade.
We need to change this attitude — showing up to an 8 a.m. class should be an expectation, not an achievement.
The main complaint against this argument is that 8 a.m. is “too early” for class.
We grumble about it now, but before college we had to get through middle school and high school, most of which started between 7:30-8:30 a.m. On top of starting “early,” most of us didn’t have the luxury of walking to class five minutes before it starts.
Not all Pacific Lutheran University students live on campus and can walk to class, but then for commuters, getting up early for college classes shouldn’t be much different than getting up early for high school classes.
We may not have had much of a choice in the matter of attending middle school and high school class, but we successfully made it through those seven years of morning classes. If we hadn’t, we wouldn’t have been accepted into PLU, because we would have failed our high school class prerequisites due to lack of attendance.
Now, we have total choice of whether or not to attend an early class. Thanks to middle school and high school, we should be used to getting up early for class — but for some reason, college is different.
It could be because, in college, we have more control over our schedule as a whole. We decide how we spend our non-class hours, be it studying, working, taking part in clubs and organizations or other activities.
This gives us the responsibility to manage our time and make the choice of whether sleep is or isn’t a priority. It’s this choice of time management that plays a key role in whether we show up to our 8 a.m. class or not.
Regardless of how effective we are at time management and how tired we are, we need to consider the fact that, for a PLU student who takes 16 credits per semester and pays the tuition price of $17,220 per semester, a class for 4 credits costs roughly $71.75 an hour. Skipping that 8 a.m. class means blowing away cash, and a lot of it.
Additionally, remember that in many aspects, college is essentially preparation for a career. In the entry-level jobs that most of us will acquire after graduation, it’s not likely that hours are going to be flexible.
“8 a.m. is too early for work” isn’t going to fly with most real-world bosses. It’s better to gain a good habit of getting up early now rather than having to break a bad habit later.
Don’t catch the infectious attitude that says attending an 8 a.m. class is an achievement. Whether it’s learning to manage time, maintaining an old habit or establishing a new one, we need to make it an expectation to show up to all classes.