This post hits close to home, being a former college student myself.
I remember hanging out in the room next to mine with some girls who said to each other "let's try not to skip any of our classes this week."
Next week, they said, "okay, let's only skip a few this week - baby steps!"
One of them dropped out, but I think the other managed to pull her sh*t together.
If you can relate to those ladies, I get it - getting to class on time every day sucks, especially if you don't like the class for whatever reason, or love partying a bit too much.
But here's the thing:
College - like most things in life - isn't that hard if you can discipline yourself, and put in the work. Going to class (yes, all of them) is one of the best ways to succeed.
And yeah, we all know college is more or less really expensive high school, and you skipped class all the time in high school. But when you're paying five grand a class per semester, every day you skip class, you're wiping your butt with a few hundred bucks.
In an effort to help you turn out like the second girl (so you don't drop out of college), I'm going to teach you how to stop skipping class in college.
Let's jump in:
1. Stop Kidding Yourself
Listen, before I give you a list of tips that'll cure your laziness, it's important to be straightforward and upfront with yourself.
I don't want the rest of my time spent writing this post to be in vain because you can't own your sh*t and take action. There are a plethora of reasons why you may not be going to class.
Before anything else, I'd recommend you take a walk without your phone or any distractions, and think about why you're going to school in the first place. I mean really think about it.
Clearly, your main problem is a lack of motivation, respect for yourself, and self-discipline. If that's the case, those are your main issues, not the class.
Talking about it with people close to you or even a therapist might help - but until you learn to respect yourself and put in the work, blog posts written by random guys on the internet aren't going to help you change your behavior.
On the other hand, if you aren't motivated to go to class because you don't know why you're in college, I don't blame you. I actually dropped out of college because I knew the standard "go to college, get a job, marry and settle down" path wasn't for me.
In class, I often found myself thinking about making money online, via sales and online marketing. It was hard to go to class because I hated the class.
Why was I forced to learn about politics and poetry when I was majoring in computer science, to become a software engineer?
If you find yourself questioning your path, and that's why your motivation is lacking, I'm a huge advocate of taking some time off from school and figuring out what you want to do with your life.
Going to college because "you're supposed to go" isn't a valid reason in my opinion, unless you know what the end result is. For example, if you know you want to be a nurse, doctor, lawyer, etc. college is mandatory.
On the other hand, if you want to start a business, or have no clue what you want to do, why go 100k in debt for a degree you probably won't use?
I'm going on a bit of a tangent now, so let's get back on track. The point is, it'll be far easier to motivate yourself if you know why you're doing what you're doing.
Too many college kids go without knowing the end result, drinking their way through school without a plan. I highly recommend you nail down your purpose BEFORE anything else, so you can hold yourself accountable.
Once your purpose is clear, the rest will fall in line. Don't try to force yourself to go to class if you, deep down, hate/resent what you're doing. It'll never work, and your old habits/patterns will return.
Conversely, the girl across from my dorm room knew she wanted to be a nurse. While most around her were out partying, she was studying. Incredibly serious about school and becoming a nurse, she had no issue sacrificing her social life to wake up early, go to class, study, and get sh*t done.
What's the bottom line here?
Take responsibility for your life, figure out your purpose, and go after it. The motivation and self-respect - the importance of which cannot be overstated - will come when you know what you're doing is right.
2. Make a Schedule
Now that you have your goals clearly laid out and are serious about what you're doing, these tips are actually actionable.
Making a schedule is a great way to get sh*t done, especially in college. When I was in school, I was a full-time student, serviced several digital marketing clients online, had my own website to work on, and also liked going out to party from time to time.
Mix that in with time at the gym, frisbee games, and clubs, and you've got a busy life. Good luck going to class on time, every time, without a plan in place.
Enter a schedule.
You really don't have an excuse to not make a schedule these days. With free apps like Google Calendar and iCalendar that sink with your phone, you can structure your days, weeks, and months to align with your goals.
The Art of Manliness has a great scheduling tutorial that helps me knock out my goals week to week and is sure to help you stop skipping classes in college. You can click the link to see the full, in-depth guide, but here's a summary:
Scheduling your week is far better than creating a to-do list, which is a piece of paper where tasks go to die. Instead, a schedule is a to-do list on steroids, outlining not only what needs to be done but when you'll do it.
Start out with a brain dump, writing down everything you need to do in the coming week. Take 10-15 minutes and write down every single thing that comes to mind. You'd be surprised how many tasks you've got stored in your head. The brain dump helps to remove the stress associated with all of the mental clutter in your brain.
Next, you can schedule your "rocks" - the most important things you need to do - throughout your week. These are the non-negotiable, most important items on your list.
For most people in college, this includes going to class, your job (if you work), and studying. Block off the time you'll need for those things.
Next, I like to schedule personal development activities like reading, exercise, and meditation.
Lastly, I'll schedule a time for fun with friends. Schedules aren't made to restrict you from doing fun things. Rather, they're meant to enable you to do everything you want to do, if you could plan the perfect week. It's actually pretty awesome, especially if you want to stop skipping class.
If you schedule a time for an 8 AM class, schedule your bedtime early and read before bed so you get adequate sleep. For more information, check out our post about surviving 8 AM classes.
You don't have to hit the schedule with 100% accuracy, either. In fact, you definitely won't. But even hitting your schedule with 25% accuracy will make you far more productive than you were before.
I'd also recommend revising tomorrow's schedule the night before based on your progress the day before. It's great to forecast the week ahead yet impossible to do so accurately. You'll need to make nightly revisions to keep yourself on track throughout the week.
Scheduling your week is great not only for attending a class but general productivity. You'll love how schedules increase your self-discipline and accountability. A schedule essentially gives structure to your chaotic life.
Give it a shot, and I'm confident you'll love the result.
3. Don't Oversleep
You can't exactly get to class on time if you hit snooze a hundred times or worse, sleep through your alarm.
You don't have to go to bed at 6 PM like your grandma, but try to hit the pillow with 7-8 hours of sleep ahead of you. That doesn't mean sit on your phone for an additional three hours during that time either.
Your phone is an endless dopamine supply that'll keep you addicted and scrolling all night long, not to mention the blue light from your screen keeps you up longer and affects your sleep.
Read a book before bed - you'll get smarter and fall asleep faster.
That aside, even with adequate sleep, waking up early sucks. And if you have an 8 AM class, well, sorry bro.
Believe it or not, waking up early doesn't have to suck. We all know it's the key to get sh*t done, and always plan to "finally wake up early tomorrow and be productive".
But in that sleepy, groggy state when you first wake up (you know what I mean) it's nearly impossible to hold yourself accountable.
We've spent years researching the best way to wake up early WITHOUT feeling like crap. Further still, we wanted to learn how to consistently wake up early feeling energized, happy, and ready to take on the day.
It has everything you need to jumpstart your morning so you can finally wake up early and get sh*t done.
When you wake up, you're dehydrated, grumpy, and your muscles were in 'sleep mode' all night which is why you have that groggy feeling.
The best way to supercharge your morning is:
1. Hydrate yourself first thing to give your brain and body what it needs to function properly.
2. Give your body fast-acting, long-lasting energy. Most coffee doesn't do this because of the low-quality caffeine (there are two types, and coffee tends to use the crappy, cheaper kind)
3. Enhance your mood so you're ready to take on the day
Early Bird is a 'morning cocktail' with ingredients meant to accomplish all three at once.
It mixes with water for hydration and has electrolytes that hydrate you even faster. It also makes use of a unique blend of green coffee bean extract, a patented antioxidant blend of over 25 fruits and veggie extracts, L-theanine, and GABA. This blend can quickly eliminate the impulse to hit snooze and fills your morning with energy (without the crash).
If you want to check out Early Bird and finally wake up early feeling good and ready to take on the day, check it out here.
4. Make a Habit Tracker
Atomic Habits by James Clear is one of the best productivity/self-help books I've ever read. In the book, Clear talks about the importance of good habits, and shaking bad ones.
We are our habits, and our habits are who we are. A fit person is fit because they work out on a regular basis, and they work out on a regular basis because they're fit.
You're a good student when you go to class every day, and if you go to class on time every day, you're a good student.
The book goes into far more detail (you can check it out on Amazon, I highly recommend it) but for now, one of the best ways to form a new habit is to track your progress.
For example, when I wanted to make my bed every morning, I'd mark a calendar every day that I made my bed to track my progress. Seeing the calendar fill up with X's was fulfilling. You can do the same with any habit you wish to form, including getting to class on time every day.
5. Reward Yourself
This tip goes hand-in-hand with the last one.
Dopamine is the name of the game - it's pretty much why we do everything. It's our primal reward system. Dopamine is our brain's reward chemical, and typically fires when we do something that will help us survive or reproduce (i.e. sex, food, etc.)
Our lizard brains don't know we're living in 2020, with all the food we can eat, phones that give instant access to infinite information, video games, etc.
Our reward centers are confused and firing off all the time. For example, you'll get way more dopamine more easily from staying up all night playing video games, and going out to the club, than studying.
But if you want to succeed, you need to delay instant gratification and put in the work now so you can get sh*t done. You need to rewire your brain to give dopamine when you do things that actually further you towards your goals, rather than fake, meaningless activities. As fun as it is to down a bottle of booze or level up in World of Warcraft, those activities are meaningless.
Instead, things like exercise, studying, and working towards your goals are what you should be doing. Or in this case, going to class.
If you want to rewire your brain to get a ton of dopamine (rewarding, feel-good chemicals) from boring activities, reward yourself after doing something you dislike.
For example, after a full week of tracking your successful appearance in every class, treat yourself to some ice cream, a night of video games, or a night out.
You can do little things to reward yourself throughout the day as well. For example, fill a jar with 100 marbles, 90 of which are the same color, and ten of which are a different color. Mix up the jar, and set it on the desk.
Every time you go to your classes on time, take a marble from the jar. If you pull one of the ten off-color marbles, treat yourself to whatever activity you want, like 30 minutes of TV or going out to lunch with friends.
You'll rewire your brain to get dopamine from important things, not meaningless activities. When you can stop chasing instant gratification and start chasing excellence, your life will change.
6. Make Better Friends
You are the average of who you hang out with. If all of your friends are skipping class and spending their time doing stupid things - things you know are unproductive and a waste of time - ditch those friends.
Surrounding yourself with over-achievers and smart people who strive for excellence is the BEST way to better yourself. You'll learn from them and their good habits will enter your life too.
We learn from our surroundings and especially from your peers. You're a product of your environment, so design your environment for success.
Maybe talk to your friends and make a pact you'll all go to class on time, or have group study sessions to hold each other accountable. Environment design is powerful and a great way to get to class on time.
At the end of the day, you are in control of your own destiny. Some people are born without both parents, others are born poor, etc.
But we all have the power to choose our destiny and do what we know is right. If you're already in college, you're probably on the right track. Others would kill to have the opportunity you do, so don't blow it buster.
Instead, nail down your goals, and put in the work to get there.
Lastly, if you hate waking up early more than an extended family reunion, check out Early Bird!