There is nothing lax about my school’s attendance policy. It’s almost universal at Chapman that if you have more than three unexcused absences for a course, you’ll start dropping letter grades or even fail automatically. They want us to learn, dammit. Sometimes I find this incredibly annoying, but that’s pretty circumstantial to when my alarm is ringing at 7:45am and I am considering rolling myself onto the floor as a mode of getting out of bed, rather than humming along to the melody of chirping birds as I gracefully rise. But once I’m up, I’m up, and I figure I might as well seize the day and absorb some new information. I do truly enjoy going to well-taught classes, regardless of the subject matter.

I like to have a broad range of knowledge on various topics, including those that aren’t my main interests, which allows me to genuinely enjoy attending the ones that have nothing to do with my major.

I understand that it’s not everyone’s style, but it is to this that I owe my completion of the freshman year breadth requirements. I do consider myself lucky to be this type of student, because I’m not sure how else I would have made it through Intro to Computer Science without putting my head through a wall. I was just curious what it is that my brother does for his profession, and wanted to try my hand while getting a math GE out of the way. It did in fact turn out to be one of those,

“Don’t cry because it happened; Smile because it’s over”

situations, and yes, I did switch that proverb around to make it apropos in this instance. But I definitely don’t regret it, because now when he talks about a program he’s working on and says the words “loop” or “string,” I can actually visualize his explanation and discuss it more in depth. That’s what I love about expanding my scope of knowledge, inclusive to all situations such as this.  

Many a time, my mom and I sit at the dinner table and listen to my dad and brother talk about quantum physics, and all the while they try to engage us in the conversation. And we do engage. We are dedicated providers of crucial conversation catalysts such as ahh, mhmm, what’s that again, and our favorite— that’s what I was gonna say— which give some semblance that we, too, know a thing or two about particles and waves. It’s not that we aren’t interested, mind you; we are very interested, and very lost. Our attempts to participate are not for naught, because I think I speak for the both of us when I say that we do enjoy a surface level understanding of quantum physics at this point, which is a far cry from Kansas for our liberal-arts oriented minds. We just can’t necessarily add more material of our own volition, except perhaps by asking critical questions like, “So how does all of this apply to black holes?” And things of that nature.

It’s always fun to be in the know, regardless of what you primarily study.

Whether you’re at work and your boss strikes up a conversation about the latest political strife, or your friend mentions that Super Bowl commercial about hurricane relief, it’s nice to understand what the hell people are talking about, and contribute. Today especially, we live in a world where false claims spread like wild fire, and it’s important to dredge through the muck and recognize fact from fiction. College classrooms are a fantastic place to start in my opinion. Not only are professors innately credible, as they teach the subject of their own research, but the environment is a hotbed for discussion. One of my instructors encourages us to fact-check her during every session, since much of sociological data is so dynamic that she could be correct one day and out of the loop the next. I appreciate this attitude, and think it is the most conducive way to facilitate questions, counter-arguments, and thought-provoking ideas.

This piece was supposed to be on the importance of getting your money’s worth for your education, and not skipping out on classes even if they’re less pertinent to your main interests. I took a different route than I’d originally thought, but I think the main message I wanted to get at still applies: Go learn something today. We will never regret knowing more. I’m not a perfect student, but I like to look at Chapman’s 3-strike policy as a convenience rather than the opposite, because there is everything to be gained by being in class and soaking in the new. After sixteen years of organized learning, it’s almost time to be catapulted into the world of “keep up or fall back.” As we all shoot for the former, it’s reassuring to realize that some obscure idea brought up in class tomorrow might spark your next brain child.

And who knows where that could take you?