Presence Required

December 6, 2017

In this short and quick article, I’m going to discuss the importance of attendance and make it relatable to you.




I’m sure at one point in every single one of our lives we have had the discussion of why attendance is important. I’m sure that some of us have had that conversation with teachers or professors about attendance issues. They talk about how it’s important to be in class because otherwise, it’s a missed opportunity for you to learn and you need to be present to understand the content. I’ll be the first to admit that as soon as I’ve turned around to walk out of a teacher or administrator’s office, I’ve rolled my eyes and blew off everything they said. I’m sure they hoped they had made a difference by having that conversation with me.


I had one of these talks once with my assistant principal in high school. I had managed to be absent from class so much my senior year that I was at risk of not graduating. In order to receive my diploma, I was required to make up 27 hours worth of detention. The problem was Christmas break was coming up in only a week and a half, and I had to make them up prior to that. I had to serve an hour of detention before and after school, a half hour lunch detention, and two Saturday detentions for the full week and a half - it only added up to roughly 20 hours. My assistant principal agreed to waive the remaining hours, but I could not be late or miss any single detention, or I wouldn’t be receiving my diploma.


I served my time and ended up graduating. I honestly had forgotten all about this experience, until it came time to write this article. My assistant principal’s conversation with me on my attendance clearly didn’t really make a that profound of an impact on me.  


The biggest problem I had with this conversation was that it came from an authority figure. I felt that because he had to say these things to me, that it wasn’t as genuine. It felt like he was just doing his job instead of having a conversation with me. Also, the things he discussed with me didn’t really spark my interest. For example, I had to take Intro To Psychology as a required class, and I felt like a captive attendee when I did show up. However, I was present on the day we discussed Pavlov’s Classical Conditioning and that has proved to be super helpful. If you’ve got a messy roommate try classically conditioning them to clean their side of the room by offering their favorite snack after they clean.


Now, had another student came up to me and discussed my attendance problem with me, I might have taken it more seriously. Why? Because they weren’t obligated to say anything to me about my attendance, but simply knowing they cared about me would’ve made a greater impact on me.




Imagine you just spent hours completing an 1,000 piece puzzle (or if you are me, you spend hours doing a 10-piece puzzle), and you go to put the last piece in, and you discover it’s missing. How frustrating is that feeling? Pretty freaking vexing. Well guess what, you are that missing piece.


Let’s breakdown this metaphor into steps:


  1. Imagine your favorite class

  2. There is 100% attendance

  3. Each person is a puzzle piece

  4. The atmosphere in class is the whole completed puzzle

  5. Hooray- we can see the whole picture of the puzzle and the atmosphere of the classroom is complete


Now, imagine you or someone else being gone from that class - a piece of the puzzle is missing. Each of us brings something to the atmosphere of a classroom; the questions we ask, the outrageous unnecessary comments, or merely our attentive presence. Every little bit of that is important, and when you’re gone, you’re essentially robbing everyone else of a picture perfect scene. So quit being a little thief.




It’s important to be there in class, not only for your classmates, but also for yourself. You could potentially miss out on an instructor almost running into another student with their mountain bike. It’s important to have college stories to tell, but it also says something about your own character and sets habits for the future.


We all know that one person that is never at class and it’s definitely discussed. “Oh, (insert name) is never here.” It has a negative connotation that is attached to it, and no one likes to be discussed negatively. Don’t be that person.


Attendance shows your own personal dedication and commitment. It shows that you have respect for yourself and your teammates. It also proves that you are a dependable and reliable person who can manage their time well. Be that person.




Here’s the thing: attendance is important. Whether it’s for school, work, dentist appointments, or whatever else you’re required to do. Showing up is one of the easiest things you can do in college and shoes aren’t even required!


So in essence, if you notice someone in a class isn’t showing up, it’s okay to give them a hard time about it, as long as you let them know that you care. Tell them that you want them present in class. Quit letting them rob you.


If you are the person that is never where you are supposed to be, find your way there. Find a reason to be there. Whether it’s your own personal gain or for the benefits of others.


If you need advice or help finding a reason to find the yellow brick road to class, need  assistance with classically conditioning your roommate to clean, or any other questions or comments, please feel free to email me at I’d love to hear what motivates you to get yourself present.


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