To skip or not to skip, that is the question

Photo illustration by Jed Jawisza

A student reaches for the snooze button early in the morning

Tanner Dana wakes up as his alarm blares an obnoxious noise that will only continue to annoy him the longer it goes off. He hits the snooze button and sees the time, 7:18 a.m., in big green numbers.  It’s early, too early, to be up for his 8 a.m. class.  

He sits up in his bed, yawns, stretches and looks across his room to see his backpack he packed last night after doing homework until the wee hours of the night. He looks back to his clock and then flops back down on the bed and drifts off.

“Sometimes you just wake up or have a day where you’re just like “man,” he takes a big breath. “You take that breath and say ‘I cannot sit in that class for 50 minutes, so I just sit on the couch,’” Dana said.

Unfortunately for professors, Dana is not alone among Castleton University students who skip classes.  Matt Zitwer, Camilo Cuadra, Andrew Nevins, Jeff Prestash and Brian Martin said that they too have skipped classes to sleep in or just to nap.  

“I skipped one this morning actually,” Zitwer said laughing.

According to a survey done by, 55 percent of students skip because they couldn’t get out of bed, 20 percent due to weather being nice and 2 percent because they were hungover.

Another big reason people don’t go to classes, however, is because they feel as though they won’t miss anything.

“I’ve probably skipped around 25 classes in my four years of college, mostly because I haven’t had enough sleep or to do homework for a different class.  A couple of times I’ve skipped to go hiking or to just play video games.  At the time, my social life took precedence,” said Castleton senior Tim Marsh.

Not all students can skip classes as easily as others, but for various reasons.

“I haven’t skipped a class since freshman year, but I skipped effective speaking like five times that year. We would give our speeches, but our teacher wouldn’t take attendance. I would do my speech the first day I could and wouldn’t go again for at least a day because we’d still be doing speeches and I still got an A,” junior Catherine Twing said. She has since changed her ways, and goes to every class she can. “I just feel like I’m going to miss something.  I don’t want to take that chance”.

Professor Helen Mango was enthusiastic about providing various reasons why she believes student skip.

“I could come up with several reasons. Uhmm… they’re exhausted for whatever reason and they can’t make it to class. They’re “sick.”  

Although these too are major reasons why students skip, Mango has one other reason that makes the most sense.

She says just two words. “They’re scared.”

 “They don’t understand what’s going on in class and they think that if they just stop showing up that somehow it’ll get better, that by avoiding the problem they’ll somehow solve the problem and it doesn’t work,” Mango said.

“I feel that I offer them something in class, some explanation that they won’t get from somebody else’s notes or the textbook, so they miss out

on context,” Mango said. “I know where they

have trouble”.

Some students are adamantly against skipping classes, most due to the feelings they get inside when they do.

“I have major anxiety whenever I skip class. I feel like I’m going to miss something really important, so I never skip.  Plus I’m paying a butt load of money to go here so I would be a dumbass if I skipped all the time,” said junior Jadie Dow.

That anxiety is understandable, especially when the teacher’s perspective comes

into play.

“It depends based on what class I’m teaching. This semester I’m teaching a Research Methods Course, which is a requirement for our major and it’s a civic engagement class. There’s a lot of work tied into it and when students miss class, I get frustrated. For me, particularly in this class, EVERY lecture is important because we’re doing something directly related to civic engagement,” said Castleton University sociology professor Jennifer Turchi.

“I also teach an intro to sociology class and I’ve got a

variety of students and if students skip, I’m kind of like ‘Well, yeah… they missed the material and that’s on them.’ It doesn’t bother me as much. You have to pick your battles,” Turchi said with a chuckle.

Vincent Guerrera never skips class due to a brotherly rivalry that started when his brother was in college and has only missed one class. He once went to Canada on a Friday and missed a late class.

“When I was going to CCV, I had a fever of 103, lost 10 pounds and had no voice, but still drove 30 minutes to my 8 a.m. class,” he said

Emma Faucher also agrees with both Dow and Guerrera about not skipping class.  She feels as though it’s a waste of her time to not go.

“I pay for these classes, and I want to get my money’s worth out of them and I care about my grades too much to not go. With my luck, the day I skip class will be the day that we get all the secret answers to all the quizzes and tests,” Faucher said.

When pressed for answers why students were skipping, the most common answer among students is the general “I’m not feeling well.”  

“I teach a 9 o’clock class and Friday morning classes after Fishtail night are often ill attended,” professor David Blow said. “I always love the great aunt that passed and had to go to the funeral excuse and the thing is that you can’t question it.  I want to find out where she lives and find out if it’s total crap or not,” he said

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