Major drop in attendance suggests students are suffering

Written By Chris Fischer, For The Globe

Lately, I’ve heard a few things about attendance. At the beginning of the semester, classes were full. But now? The population is few and far between. From what I’ve heard, faculty is even holding meetings to discuss what’s going on.

I think that there are a few reasons for this. As someone who’s current semester attendance is…kind of rough, I know I’m in the “problem” category. However, I don’t think that in this semester, it’s as dire of a problem.

(Oh, and a quick disclaimer. These reasons are extremely generalized, and I’m not saying that this is the case for everyone. I’m just trying to share my personal experience.)

First: Burnout and Adjustment. Even though it’s just past midterms, some people are already experiencing the burnout of classes. This is the first semester where we’re back (somewhat) fully in-person. Personally, I haven’t completely gotten back into the swing of waking up, getting dressed, going to class, doing homework, repeat. I’ve been—for lack of better words—spoiled by remote calls where all I’d have to do is log in, “pay attention,” and then go about my day.
Even though the workload is pretty much the same, it’s just that most of us aren’t readjusted to the classroom. With time, I believe that I’m going to get back to a more consistent attendance.

Second: Mental Health. Now, I don’t tend to use my mental health as a reason not to do things. I’m in a much better place mentally than I was last year. However, there are still times where I just can’t drag myself out of bed. I wish it wasn’t this way, especially for the classes I enjoy. I hate missing out on the instructors that clearly care about their job and care if you do well. However, there are times where I wake up and know I have to get ready, but I just stare at the clock. It takes everything in my power to get up and go. Some weeks are different, of course, but as of late, I’ve noticed a negative trend.

Third: Outside Factors.
Any of you who have been in classes with me know that I take the T, and even then it’s a 25 minute drive from my house, and so my commute is an hour and a half and I pretty much make it my personality. The T has a very strict but also very loose schedule. It’s a difficult beast to work with, but it’s much better for my nerves than driving downtown. In order to actually be on the train, you have to be there 5 minutes before it takes off so it doesn’t drive right past you. (I’ve had it happen to me before, and it’s not fun.)
Also, I work. I know a decent number of the student population does, so this doesn’t make me stand out. I typically go straight to work after I get home from classes, and work until 11 at night. I usually don’t get home until midnight, which leads to me going to bed around 1:30 or 2 in the morning.

Now, I’m not saying that attendance should totally be optional. Actually, I’m better at retaining information when I’m in the classroom, in an environment designed for learning. I’m just saying that although some of us don’t have the best attendance records, you shouldn’t think that we don’t care about our education. Every one of us at Point Park are all working hard and supporting each other, especially through the pandemic. We should continue to do so even after things return to “normal.”