Cutting class (photo)

A sleepy student snoozes away, June 20, 2018.

I started skipping class in high school. My buddies and I, the very epitome of a rowdy posse, would ditch to smoke cigarettes behind the school. Nothing like sacrificing your future for four drags of a Pall Mall, amirite?

This penchant for truancy carried on into university. Late nights highlighted by a half-dozen lukewarm Pabst Blue Ribbons and NHL 14 tournaments resulted in early afternoon wake-ups, often at the expense of class attendance.

I was cool, after all, and they always told me that Cs get degrees, so how much could one or two or 14 skipped classes really hurt me in the long run?

So to properly prepare freshmen for their year ahead, here are a few helpful hints on how to skip class and survive doing it.

First, avoid skipping important classes. If the prof has made it clear that the material for a certain class will be on the exam, don't skip. And if a class has participation marks, make sure to be there. There's nothing worse than losing 10 per cent off your final mark because you skipped half your tutorials to go smoke doobies behind the Physics and Astronomy Building with Johnny Hopkins and Sloan Kettering.

You can definitely skip philosophy class though, because if you really think about it, is anyone really even there?

You should also probably come up with some killer excuses for missing class. Keep it short and sweet. Your prof probably isn't looking for George R.R. Martin levels of world-building and character development. Something as simple as “I have a migraine” or “I had a meeting” or “The apes have finally taken over” will do nicely.

But most importantly, be sure to make friends in class. It's important that, in your absence, you have a trusted companion to take the notes you missed. However, be cautious about whom you choose. Brennan from Saugeen might be cool, but if he always shows up baked and consistently attends both Monday and Wednesday dollar beers nights at Jacks, maybe he isn't Mr. Reliable.

The absolute worst thing about university — besides actually going to class — is not getting the notes for that class you missed. When you message Brennan for those notes from Wednesday and find out he also skipped thanks to a hangover-induced midday Drugs Inc. binge, you'll be in trouble.

In the end, skipping a few classes here and there isn't the end of the world. Like most things, it's all about moderation. Skipping six classes in a row will obviously hurt your grades. But remember, you (or your parents) are paying the big bucks to come to Western University. Take advantage of opportunities to learn and grow both as a student and as a person. This place is a lot more fun when you actively participate in campus life. That includes going to class.

But if you did have a late Thursday night at the Barking Frog and your head is pounding harder than a LeBron James dribble-drive, skipping your 8 a.m. Intro to Basket Weaving won't kill you. And who knows, maybe Brennan from Saugeen will come through.

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