So I don’t even have to go to lectures?
Oh the joy of discovering that if you don’t attend lectures, no one cares! Remember high school? There, if you missed even five minutes of one class, the teacher was on your case about it.
Welcome to university.
Here, if you miss five minutes of a lecture, you’re probably grabbing a snack or walking from your previous class. Maybe you’ve even woken up a bit late and are casually on the tram to uni. Whatever the case, there’s no teacher sitting there awaiting your arrival… chances are your lecturer probably doesn’t even know your name, let alone whether you’re in class or not.
Tutorials are a slightly different story, however, as most of these are attendance based. Unless, of course, you are a Commerce student, in which case, you lucky duck your tutorials aren’t even compulsory! I know what you’re all thinking… woo! I don’t even have to go to any classes! Yes, although this is technically true, it’s not highly advised upon.
My first year I discovered just such a delight of not having to go to classes only to be slapped in the face come exam time because I knew nothing. All those hours I spent joyously lying on the lawn or hanging out in the local pub, my lecturer spent telling everyone valuable facts for the exam.
Sure, I crammed here and there for the occasional assignment, let’s face it, Arts students don’t get much homework, BUT I soon learnt the hard way that it is a LOT easier just to go to those few short hours during semester to be prepared for the exam.
Even if you think going to a couple of lectures a week or so before the exam will help, wrong. Lecturers give you valuable information all throughout the semester so it is important to attend as many lectures as you can.
However, if for some reason you are unable to attend a lecture, most of the lecture slides/notes and even the recordings can be found online. Those online recordings will be lifesavers. Although while sitting in the lectures you are ferociously scribbling away notes, there will always be those few points you either can’t get down or just don’t hear properly.
The lecture slides will hopefully become available online the day before your lecture and I strongly recommend that you print these out and take them with you as it is much easier to annotate next to the slides than try to write out every word that is on the screen. I also strongly recommend highlighting important points on the slides and tabbing anything that you either don’t understand or simply want to go back to later.
If you do decide to travel down the road of not going to lectures, make sure you pay detailed attention in tutorials, do all of the required readings [and make notes] and, preferably, listen to the recordings of the lectures.
It is understandable if you don’t want to go to lectures, there are numerous reasons people choose not to. The most common, of course, is that it’ll be a nice sunny day outside and lying on the grass with your friends is a much better option to sitting in some lecture hall listening to a professor drone on about a subject you might not care that much for.
It is also possible that although it is a class that you find fascinating, you just can’t concentrate because, unfortunately, you have one of ‘those’ friends that can’t resist talking during every moment of a lecture. Yes, you could move and sit elsewhere, but let’s face it, who wants to sit alone when you could sit with your friends? In situations such as that, I would definitely recommend going home and listening to the online recording. In most cases, it is often easier to understand what is being said when listening to the recording later as you are doing it out of your own time, thus there is no one else around to distract you, and you are listening implicitly to every word your lecturer says.
Essentially, take it from someone who has tried all the options and learnt the hard way, go to your lectures, make friends with people who don’t talk during class and keep detailed, dated notes. If you don’t go to class, listen to the lectures online and still make those detailed notes.
Sure, it can be fun and exciting to decide at the last minute not to go to class, but make sure you catch up on what you’ve missed because you will fall behind faster than you realise.