Perfecting Attendance

Towards the end of every semester, it seems that at least two timeless thoughts cross the minds of every collegian: “How many classes have I skipped?” and “Wait – the final is when?”

Since finals are approaching in the coming weeks, you can look forward to some thoughts on them soon. I’d write about them now, but let’s face it: you can actually do something about your finals (cramming, cheating, or pushing your roommate to the brink of suicide so you can “take time off to deal with the loss” – so many options) When it comes to absences, there’s nothing you can do about it now. So, how about dwelling in the past?

Attendance in college is a particularly defining characteristic of one’s motivation and/or drinking habits. Often you’ll find that people who once spoke of ‘perfect attendance’ have been featured on the back of milk cartons since the first day of class. These are also the people guaranteed to be sitting in your seat when you arrive on the day of the final. What’s that you say? Yes, you are correct, it is protocol to stab them. Remember: if you hide the body before the exam is distributed, no one will even care – they were already missing, right?

Of course, there are some people who see attendance in a positive light. Maybe they’re studious creatures, gifted with patience for lectures and staying awake in class. Chances are that they are just trying to get those extra points because, well, they are going to need them. Badly. Some people show up still buzzing from closing out the local bars and downing the most important meal of the day (“beerfast”). Sometimes I miss those Fridays. Most times I don’t remember them.

If you find yourself in need of bonus attendance points during these final days, here are a few quick points of advice:

– Don’t wear bright clothing. Let’s face it – if the professor knows you and you have been a good student, never hinder your attendance by wearing vibrant colors. Your instructor will both notice your taste for pastels and make a mental note of your absences too. In fact, even if she doesn’t know you, don’t wear bright clothing. You want as little attention as possible. Once again, you are a phantom. Sign in and fade into oblivion.
– Orchestrate extravagant fictional emergencies. Your father was a world-famous paleontologist who was bludgeoned to death with a club years ago by suspects resembling the Geico cave men. The commercials traumatized you so much that you have been checking in and out of mental wards since they first aired. If it doesn’t make your professor laugh, perhaps it will make them cry. Sometimes it does both. Your mileage may vary. Go creative.
– Send in a clone. If no one recalls seeing you in that class, you might as well not even be the one to show up. Maybe you can track down someone who didn’t attend the class when they were in it. Give them a chance to atone for their sins. Haven’t you always wanted to be like Jesus? Don’t worry about atoning yourself – I’m pretty sure J.C. never had to apologize.

I’d love to stay and type, but I figure it’d be nice to show up on the last day. Sometimes, I really do spoil my professors.