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Wine bar on 2200 Penn opens doors
By Ella Mitchell, Contributing News Editor • June 14, 2024

Features: Cutting Class

It is 7:30 Friday morning and an alarm clock is going off somewhere on GW’s campus. After a long night of clubbing, many GW students are too exhausted to drag their bodies out of their warm, cozy beds on a Friday morning to attend class.

To skip or not to skip – that is the question.

Many GW students said they do not mind skipping classes if reading the text is sufficient, especially in large lecture classes. But when a class is smaller and discussion-oriented, students said they make an effort to attend.

“I skip all sorts of classes,” said senior political Carl Monaco, a political science major.

In the past three years, Monaco said he has developed a knack for deciding whether a class is necessary to attend within the first few weeks of the semester.

Many students base their decision to skip class on whether or not the lectures are necessary to pass the class. Because they use this method, most students interviewed said they do not think skipping class has much of an impact on their grades.

“I keep up with my reading and I turn in my homework,” said sophomore Jessica Levin, who majors in international affairs.

Many students interviewed said cutting an occasional class is OK because often the lecture mirrors exactly what is written in the textbook.

Incoming freshmen have also learned this so-called trick to beating the system.

“I skip class if I feel my time there isn’t worthwhile,” said freshman Mika Chatterjee, also an international affairs major.

Chatterjee said she usually only skips her lecture classes because she feels it is sufficient to keep up with the reading to pass the class.

Professor Michael Sodaro has taught a class on comparative politics for 22 years at GW. He said he noticed a drop in attendance after he started using his own book for the course.

“I try to provide in the lectures more than what is in the book,” Sodaro said.

Sodaro said attendance tends to drop at the end of the semester. Other professors agree.

“It’s early in the semester. As it gets later, not everybody is going to show up,” said graduate student Erin Creswell, a chemistry teaching assistant.

Although many students choose to do the reading over taking notes in class, there are a select few who find the idea a bit ludicrous.

“Attending class is the easiest thing to do; I’d rather go to class than read a whole textbook,” said junior Oren Shur, a political communications major.

Student opinions tend to depend on what seems easiest at the moment: reading 100 pages or taking an hour to go to class and take pages of notes.

Sometimes a class is just too boring to attend, students said. Some students opt not to go to class in the favor of a midday nap.

“If I’m going to fall asleep, why go?” Monaco said.

Among students interviewed, sleeping is the most common activity to replace class. Sometimes it is easier to simply roll over to hit the snooze button and get another hour of sleep for the day.

While skipping a big lecture class is easily done, students who are more involved in their major find it increasingly difficult to miss a class.

“Missing a class means missing part of the course,” said professor Tara Wallace, who teaches English. She stressed the importance of attendance in a discussion class.

“Things will come out in discussion that I will use in the exams,” Wallace said.

The cost factor is often an issue for many students. According to the GW’s Web site, each credit hour costs a student $608, making a three-credit class $1,824 a semester. For a course that meets twice a week, each individual class costs about $63.

“Some classes I could have skipped, but part of me wouldn’t because my parents are paying for every class,” said junior Steven Crimaldi, a journalism major and a creative writing minor.

Others put it in more relative terms.

“It is like buying a movie ticket and missing the show,” freshman Mike Copenhagen said.

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