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Content Any Way U Want It!

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Content Any Way U Want It!

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Attend class for personal growth, self-investment

It’s that time of the semester again, when a significant number of University students decide that not going to class is one way to deal with the stresses of working, studying, maintaining social and family connections and … going to class.

The week before last I had 50-60% show up for one class and 55% for another. I’ve also heard colleagues tell of classes in which anywhere from 25% to 70% of students don’t appear.

In a Canvas announcement, I stressed to one class that maybe the most important skill you can gain from college is regularly showing up on time where you don’t necessarily want to be. If you can’t do that, any other knowledge, proficiency and talents you bring to a job will probably be negated when you

get fired.

Still, the main reason you should show up is not to please your instructor or your boss. That’s not really self-discipline, it’s internalizing someone else’s demands and


A former University colleague who took a job in Texas, Jon Miller, posted on Facebook a notice he’d sent to his students, titled “Showing Up.”

Dr. Miller acknowledges attendance and participation policies, but states that the main reason you should show up [on time], participate and not leave early is not points or grades.

Instead, he writes: “You should strive to be a person who Shows Up. A person who Shows Up is someone who fulfills his commitments and takes care of his responsibilities.”

The benefits are personal and intrinsic: “You will have the authentic sense of pride and self-worth that comes from consistently honoring your commitments.”

I discussed this problem with a class of first-year students last week and got some insight into why people might not Show Up.

Some classes are not engaging. Adjusting to life at the University uses up time and energy.

Some students feel as though going to college has not been their own choice, but has been imposed on them by the demands and expectations of their families, society and

the economy.

I know from private talks that depression is also a common factor.

All these pressures make you feel dependent. They blot out your identity.

They are like the cat in the fable by Kafka I wrote about in my last column: ready to eat you alive as long as you keep running toward the mouse trap.

One way to defy the cat and avoid the trap, to change directions, is to reclaim your time in college as your time.

Students often apologize to me when they miss class, but that misses the point. You don’t go to class for the instructor’s sake.

If you miss, you should apologize to yourself.

Each time you enter a classroom, each time you sit down to do homework, it is a gift to yourself.

Not to your parents or your teachers or your future bosses.

Think of it as a return on investment. Because you’re investing a lot of money to buy yourself that time.

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