“Eighty Percent of Success Is Showing Up”

“80% of success is showing up.” These days, more people recognize this quote by Woody Allen than those who even know who Woody Allen is, which is another sign that I am getting old. But, that’s besides the point.

Around the 4th week of each semester, professors are asked if there are students in their courses they are concerned may not be on the path to academic success. One of the main reasons some students are not achieving their academic potential is class attendance.  It isn’t lack of intellectual ability, but rather they are just not showing up.  There are students who, for whatever reason, are ignoring the biggest and simplest piece of advice given to them by dozens of people during their transition from high school to college: Go. To. Class.

One could argue that since students are paying to take these classes, they have the right to not show up if they so choose. One could argue that if a student finds the class material so incredibly easy, all they should have to do is show up for the quizzes and/or test in order to pass.  One could argue that if a student finds the class “boring” or “unnecessary” or “a waste of my time,” they should just be able to email in their assignments so they can work on their “important major-specific courses.”

One could argue these things. But they would be wrong.

The intellectual exchange that happens within the classroom, the conversations, the questions, the debates, all contribute to the college experience and student growth. A student’s participation in this process is just as important as getting solid marks on projects, crushing exams, or acing lab reports. Professors have the right to expect attendance and have the right to determine if a student has missed too many classes to successfully complete their course.  The integrity of a course’s curriculum depends on students being present in both body and intellectual spirit. Showing up with the desire to learn is key.

Sure, we could break down the overall cost of tuition and put a price tag on each individual class. But, that isn’t really the point. The point is that students, for the most part, have one opportunity to do this thing called “college.” Students get these four (or so) years to prepare for amazing careers. These amazing careers will require you to put in the work to reap the rewards and savor success. Sweet success.

And, as we know, 80% of success is showing up.