The university system is extremely flawed. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen professors struggle to express and lecture their students on topics that they’re expected to teach. Since this change, you can see a devastating growing rate of mental health crises in students. Especially due to isolation and overwhelming matters of societal differences, students have never been more burnt out, and the biggest issue we face is that professors don’t adapt with them.
Attendance restrictions in university were supposed to be calmer than high school. The idea was that you pay for your classes, and if you want to get what you pay for, you show up. If you decide not to attend your courses, the consequences would be on you. However, the majority of professors have made attendance a stern aspect of classes with little flexibility.
University is not the same as a job where you get sick days. University is supposed to be a learning environment that is structured and built to a student’s pacing. How is it fair that students are only given 3 absences for 16 weeks before it is counted against their grade?
It seems that professors get defensive when students don’t attend their courses. As a way to combat this, they find a way to basically pull students in and not consider these aspects that can make students dislike their course more.
As an example, in 2021, multiple students at the University of Nevada, Reno got sick following the COVID-19 pandemic. While students were able to get accommodations if they had the virus, students who were forced to stay home with colds until they got a COVID-19 test would make them lose the only absences they had. If a student was to get sick again later in the semester or if there was an emergency, it would degrade their course status.
Having illnesses and colds today, students are forcing themselves to come to class due to the lack of leeway they are given with attendances which then spreads the illness to other students. Sniffles can be heard in every lecture hall, throughout every season.
Professors also seem to misunderstand that they are not the only courses students take. Many of us have extremely long work hours, alongside additional classes which results in students not only being stressed out due to the amount of extracurricular work, but also school work and the requirement to attend basically every class without fail.
After all this, it would make sense why mental health amongst students is so poor, and unfortunately, the ignorance of professors will lead to it only getting worse.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that students tend to resent their professors due to this unintentional lack of understanding and empathy, and it shouldn’t be a surprise that the quality of work students produce will degrade in quality due to the amount they are being forced to do.
If we were to allow students to pass classes, even if they miss each day, at least the students would know that the option to prioritize their mental and physical health would be available if needed. As adults, students should be able to learn by experience what happens if you don’t show up when expected and the potential consequences that may come from that. On the other hand, students should also be able to learn how essential it is to take an off day they need for their own health.
These lessons are some of life’s greatest, and the majority of university professors are taking that away from their students. It is very disgraceful to see so many students suffer each day because of the requirements that professors have. It is heartbreaking to see so many sick students force themselves to do more than their body and mind can possibly do because of someone else telling them that they have to.
Students are young humans that can only do so much, and professors need to learn how to treat them in a way that is considerate, compassionate and empathic.
Opinions expressed in The Nevada Sagebrush are solely those of the author and do not necessarily express the views of The Sagebrush or its staff. Gabriel Kanae is a student at the University of Nevada studying journalism. They can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @NevadaSagebrush.