By: Susanna Cerasuolo, M.Ed.
Why missing school is pretty much one of the worst things you can do.
When you’re really sick you can’t (and you shouldn’t) go to school, but when you’re just skipping school, well, I’d like to talk to you about why that is just an awful idea. It might seem nice to sleep in and watch TV all day, or to roam around town and see who’s out and about doing what, but the truth is, you are shooting yourself in the foot in a huge way. You just don’t realize it. Nobody’s losing here but you.
Here’s why skipping school (or being chronically tardy) is a really bad choice
1. You learn less
When you are not in school, even for 5 minutes, you miss learning skills and material that you will need to get into college and/or get a job. You may think that you can go back the next day and do the handout and everything will be fine, but you miss the discussion, you miss your teacher teaching you personally things you don’t yet know, and you miss the cool points your peers made in discussions. You miss getting smarter with everyone else. You miss practicing your writing, reading and speaking skills. You miss practicing your manners and business etiquette. (You also miss laughs shared with friends.) You miss out on a lot that cannot be retrieved.
2. You fall behind
When you miss a day in high school, you have 5-7 classes worth of work to make up, on top of the work that gets assigned on the day you get back. Who wants to do two days’ work in one day? When you miss school it’s easy to feel really overwhelmed and do not want to do the work at all. It’s easy to fall behind. The best thing to do with work is to stay on top of it. Skipping school endangers your ability to go to college.
3. You annoy your teachers
I was an English and Journalism teacher for ten years and I can tell you that nothing is more frustrating than the kid who says, “Did I miss anything yesterday?” Of course, you did. The question is rude because it implies that on some days your teacher does nothing, which is never true or your teacher would be fired. The question “What did I miss?” is also annoying because now you are asking me to go back and recreate yesterday for you because you didn’t feel like coming. Again, if you are really sick, teachers understand. I am talking to those of you who choose to miss school regularly. You are making it very hard for your teachers to have a good opinion of you. You are asking overworked and underpaid public employees to do more work for you. Your absences make us teachers sad, but they also make us work more, which is not a good thing.
4. You start a vicious cycle
It’s hard to get back on top of the pile when work piles up, so sometimes it’s easier just to stay in denial and let it keep piling up. This is a bad idea, though it may seem to feel good because every little grade counts in the grade book and zeroes are very, very powerful. The cycle of missing school is one that I have seen students fall into, sometimes by their own choosing and sometimes because of peers. Be strong and get yourself to school no matter how hard it is and what might be trying to stop you. School is where you need to be. It is the very best place for you to be.
5. You send a bad message to yourself
When you miss school you send the message to yourself that you don’t need to be there because you’re above that (not true) or that what they do in school is not important (also not true) or maybe that you shouldn’t go because you can’t do it and so you don’t belong there (REALLY not true). These are all bad messages that you would be sending to yourself, and messages are powerful things, so fight against these. No matter what is keeping you from going to school, talk to your parents and ask for help, or find a teacher you can trust and talk to them about it. You need to be in school and your teachers will do everything in their power to help you succeed there.
6. You put yourself in bad places
When you’re not at school where are you? No place good. Everyone else is at school, so you can’t be hanging out with the good kids. You are safe at school and you are not going to get into trouble at school. Go to class and stay out of scary or dangerous or lonely and depressing places.
7. You delay your dreams
You need to be in school to achieve your dreams, so when you miss school you are delaying your own dreams from coming true. Know clearly what your dreams are and then fight for them! Do not let anything stand in your way. Go to school and work to make your dreams come true. If you miss school you might have to go to summer school (yuck) or do extra coursework after high school before you can start pursuing your dream. Don’t delay your own dreams! Dreams are awesome and we want them to come true as soon as possible.
8. You cost yourself money
When you miss school a lot, you make it harder for yourself to get into college and when you go to college you will make more money and have a better quality of life. When you go to college you will also be able to do something you love to earn your living. We all hope to be able to do what we love and make a good living at it, and college makes this possible. You will most certainly earn more and struggle less if you go to college, so don’t skip school.
Missing a lot of school may seem harmless because the future seems so far away, but your future actually starts for real in freshman year of high school because that’s when all of your grades count for college. And in middle school you are learning the skills you need to do well in high school. So go to school. Do yourself every favor and show up to school early, stay the whole time and do your best. Your future will thank you!