To my student who didn’t show up for class

Come to class
Dr. Annie Specht, of Ohio State University, wants you to come to class!

By Annie Specht

It’s me, your college professor.

You know, the person who stands at the front of the classroom you didn’t come to and shares information you didn’t bother to hear.

Look, at the risk of sounding like the parents who may be helping you finance your college education, I’m not mad — I’m just disappointed.

I’m disappointed because I spent hours — HOURS — working on a lecture that was both informative and entertaining.

I researched the topic exhaustively, combing through the library, peer-reviewed journals, popular-press outlets and my own experiences to provide you with a well-rounded overview of concepts that you can use in the future.

(The notes online, while comprehensive, don’t contain the puns everyone pretended were funny.)

Annie Specht Ohio State
Dr. Annie Specht is a professor in the department of agricultural communication, education, and leadership at Ohio State University, and she wants you to come to class. (Ohio State University photo)


You also missed a great conversation among your classmates. Some of them not only came to class, they also did last night’s readings. They offered some really interesting insights into the material.

A few of the students didn’t agree with the authors’ premises, so we had the opportunity to talk through our differences of opinion and gain a better understanding of conflicting perspectives. I think you would’ve really enjoyed it.

Oh, and we talked about the project that’s due in two weeks. There were a few things that your classmates were confused about on the assignment sheet, so I took a few minutes to clarify the specifications.

You obviously understand the directions, as you didn’t feel your presence was necessary today, so I’m sure you can complete the assignment without my input.

Wasted money

A college education is a huge investment for, and in, you. I hate to beat the very dead “you’re paying to not go to class” horse, but you are, in fact, spending a lot of money to sit in your dorm room and watch Netflix.

Paying tuition and avoiding class is like buying a pair of expensive winter boots but walking around in flip-flops in January — it’s a waste of money that ultimately hurts no one but you. And Ohio frostbite is no joke.

Let’s be honest: I miss you. My favorite part of my job is getting to know my students.

We care

I want to know how you’re doing, what your goals and dreams are, what struggles you’re facing and if there’s anything I can do to help. That type of interaction can’t be replaced, no matter how many emoji you use in your apologetic emails.

I also write a mean (in a good way) recommendation letter, but I struggle to endorse students I rarely see and don’t know, especially because I assume that absentee students grow up to be absentee employees.

In closing, you missed a lot today. Not just the lecture, but also the understanding that comes from asking questions, engaging in discussion and building camaraderie with your classmates and instructor.

Also, I baked cupcakes.
See you tomorrow.

(Dr. Annie Specht is a professor in the department of agricultural communication, education, and leadership at Ohio State University, and she wants you to come to class.)

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  1. I absolutely LOVE this letter with its combination of sarcasm, with and self-deprecating humor. I also see the love for the student, albeit tough. I’m going to try to craft one of these for my absentee high school students. Message: I love you, but I hate what you’re doing. Thanks!


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