Mandatory class attendance overlooks working students

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Mandatory courses with required attendance only add stress in an already high-pressure environment—especially for working students.  
 
In a university setting, many students are experiencing life on their own for the first time. This comes with more responsibilities, like buying groceries, attending medical appointments, or working part-time jobs. As commitments pile up, some students might not be able attend class on multiple occasions, and some professors may not accommodate them. 
 
Graded attendance fails to consider students who work to support themselves while in school. A student working a concurrent, part- or full-time job may have to pick up extra shifts or cover a co-worker at the last minute, and leave their class hanging. In a course that weighs attendance heavily, missing meetings can take a toll on a student’s grades. 
 
Students who work to support their education may be penalized by these strict requirements. It’s counterproductive and does little to assess a student’s progress or  knowledge of a subject.
 
Students pursuing post-secondary education are expected to be more self-sufficient than ever before—to be evaluated based on one’s attendance feels demeaning. As adults, we should be able to choose how we spend our time, including whether skipping class is appropriate. 
 
For the working student, mandatory attendance can complicate reaching educational goals. It gives an unfair advantage to unemployed students and adds another barrier between working students and their degree. 
 
This added stress can pose new problems. Missing classes when you’re graded on showing up can be a constant source of anxiety. Similarly, graded attendance disregards students struggling with their mental health, as well as those suffering from episodic ailments like chronic pain, seasonal affective disorder, or debilitating menstrual cramps. 
 
Not every reason for missing class can be explained by a doctor’s note. This shouldn’t mean a student’s academic standing should suffer. 
 
As the University strives to improve its mental health awareness programs and resources, it’s important to re-evaluate practices inside and outside classrooms.
 
Removing mandatory attendance from course plans won’t discourage students from going to class. Instead, it will be one less thing for students to worry about—which will allow them to focus on their studies instead of their attendance. 
 
This gives working students the opportunity to study on their own time and attend lectures as they’re able, alleviating unnecessary stress and resulting in a healthier and more accessible university experience. 
 
Brittany is The Journal’s Assistant Arts Editor. She’s a fourth-year English major. 
 

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