The Snooze Button Effect

10 more minutes
10 more minutes (Photo credit: cvogle)

Based on the Ramtalk:

“That miserable moment when you decide to skip class, then your professor spots you on campus an hour later. And calls you out. At least he knows who I am.”


College students have skewed priorities. Food, sleep, beer and graduation are among the top of student’s list — maybe in that order. Students wake up early for class only to look at their alarm clocks and decide that an extra hour of sleep couldn’t hurt, even at the expense of missing a lecture.

Professors who teach early morning classes know how it goes. Students don’t show up to their class, but instead come to the later classes in the afternoon. Chemistry professor Johannes Burghes refers to it as the ‘snooze button effect.’

“Those silly students think they can get away with getting extra sleep,” Burghes said, laughing. “I teach morning and afternoon classes, and I’ve observed that while my morning classes are nearly empty, my afternoon classes are over maximum capacity.”

While his chemistry students think that they are sneaky, Burghes is aware of each and every student who skips the morning class only to attend the afternoon class. One afternoon, he stood at the front of the class and told everyone that skipping the morning class would no longer be tolerated and that he would talk to every student who skipped.

Some students were frightened and started going to the morning class again, but others remained vigilant in their search for more sleep. Freshman chemistry major Andrea Guiglio said that she originally neglected to heed Burghes’ warning, but after she saw him in the hallway one afternoon, she had no choice but to start coming to morning class.

“I was so embarrassed,” Guiglio said. “Professor Burghes saw me walking to his afternoon class after I skipped his morning class. He gave me a very stern look and said ‘Andrea, I’m very disappointed in you.’ I can’t believe he actually knew my name! I started waking up early again the next day.”

What Professor Burghes is dealing with does not only apply to his science classes — the entire school is now infected with students skipping class to sleep or go to another class. The engineering department has seen a wild turn-around in student attendance where the introductory level classes are seemingly empty and the advanced courses are full to the brim. Professors can only guess as to what the cause is, but students know.

“I like watching things blow up,” said sophomore engineering major Andrew Wagner. “The beginning level classes have no explosions, so I skip those ones and come to the advanced classes where stuff gets blown up all the time.”

The oddest cases of students playing hooky at CSU are when the teacher and student are both ditching class at the same time. Although rare, this awkward encounter does happen. In one instance, highly-touted business professor Donald Trumpth skipped his own class so he could get some errands finished.

“I was in the produce section at the grocery store grabbing some lettuce and celery when I looked up and saw one of my students picking up a tomato,” Trumpth said. “I didn’t know what to say to the student who clearly saw me ditching class, and they didn’t know what to say to me either.”


After a short, awkward stand-off, Trumpth told the student, “When there are deals on produce like these, I can’t pass them up.” The student nodded and said “Yeah whatever, you ditch just like us.”

Collegian Entertainment Reporter Steven Jacobs can be reached at