Post Classifieds

Students skip class for a variety of reasons

By Margaret Thomas
On April 7, 2004

The spring weather may have something to do with University ofMemphis students not going to class these days, but most studentsadmit they miss class throughout the semester at some point.

"The end of the semester is when I get tired of coming toclass," said Chris Walker, freshman graphic design major. "Duringthe beginning, I'm thinking about how I spend the money forschool."

Latrina Robinson, freshman nursing major, said she's more likelyto not go to class at the end, either.

"When you first start out, you're more focused than you are atthe end," Robinson said.

Other students said they take a break from classes during thebeginning of the semester.

"At the beginning of the semester is when I miss because I'mjust getting started," said Jai Christi Holloway, junior marketingmajor. "By the end of the semester, you want to crack down and makesure you get a passing grade."

It's also the beginning of the semester that plagues juniorbiology major Jason Bowens, who has trouble getting used to hisschedule and sometimes misses class because of it.

The same goes for freshman Shelly Alexin.

"At the beginning of the semester, I don't feel like getting outof bed. I try to pick myself up at the end of the semester."

Senior photography major Scott Fulmar also misses early on inthe semester.

"I'm only allowed three absences, and I usually use those upearly and then I'm here for the rest of the semester," Fulmarsaid.

But students and teachers have differing views on whenabsenteeism occurs.

The census among teachers is that students miss the most beforeholidays and the day before papers are due.

"It's always the Friday before a holiday," said Randall Warren,math instructor. "It may be the nice weather or the fact that theydidn't want to hear me (in class), but most of my students arepretty regular."

Doug Coupples, history professor, also said students miss themost before holidays like spring break but that it also has to dowith assignments.

"I have assignments submitted by e-mail, and many students whoaren't ready cut class to get their papers typed up," Coupplessaid. Coupples added that his book reviews are turned in threeweeks before the semester ends, which may be a factor in why somestudents miss toward the end of the semester.

Although some professors say the part of the semester does notseem to be reflected in their students attending classes, they havenoticed the warm weather lulling some students away from theircourses.

"Warm weather kicks in and flowers are blooming, and it's a nicetime to be outdoors," said Margaret Caffrey, associate professor ofhistory. "It could also be daylight savings time because students'internal clocks are confused."

H. Graden Kirksey, chemistry professor, sees the trend ofstudents missing class and even dropping out when they get theirfirst tests and quiz grades back toward the end of thesemester.

"In my opinion, absenteeism increases toward the end of thesemester," Kirksey said. "But those who stick with the course andtheir tests are good -- I don't see a pattern of missingclass."

Students agree that different times during the semester promptthem to miss class, but their opinions are skewed when it comes towhich part of the semester.

Students like Lucia Nelson, senior art history, are more proneto missing class during the middle of the semester.

"Right before spring break is when I'm the most burned out andmiss class," Nelson said.

Sometimes it's the alarm clock that causes freshman Shelby Goinfrom going to class, but he said the mid-semester blues are thereal problem for him.

"You want to start out good and end good," Goin said of hisclass attendance record. "In the middle, you get tired and you'vealways got the end of the semester to make up for bad grades."

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