Skip to main content
Skip sub navigation



It’s OK to miss a class now and then: you might be feeling unwell, or have an appointment, or there might be an emergency. Usually, you should try to schedule your life around your class times, but sometimes things happen and you might not be able to make it.

If you miss a few classes in a row, or you don't have a proper reason, it might be time to reflect on why. Absenteeism is a pattern of not attending your studies. You might be tired, overwhelmed by study, or just can’t be bothered. You might have something going on in your personal life. Or you might be having trouble engaging with or understanding the content.

All of these are common feelings for students – you can’t perform at 100% all the time.

But if you develop a pattern of non-attendance, it’s important to try and determine why before you fall behind in your studies. You will need to attend regularly for the duration of your degree to make the most of your time at university.

What to do

These are some of the common reasons that you might start to miss your classes.

  • If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your workload, you should take some time to look at your work-life balance. Using a planner and making time not just for study but also for things that you enjoy (socialising, hobbies) and things that will energise you (exercising, eating well, getting enough sleep) can help you stay motivated.
  • Different academics have different teaching styles, and you might find some units more interesting than others. You should persevere with your studies and focus on the end goal – graduation – even if you are feeling uninspired by some elements of the course. If you are experiencing a prolonged lack of interest that goes beyond a single unit or lecturer, talk to someone you trust.
  • Studying with others can help you stay motivated and make university more enjoyable. You could find some peers to study with: reach out to other students in your unit on your unit site message board, or browse our peer mentoring programs to find one that’s suitable for you. If your studies have an online option, attending in person can help create a sense of belonging to the student community.
  • Maybe there’s something happening in your life that is affecting your ability to study. You might be struggling with a physical or mental illness, or some type of trauma, financial difficulties, relationship changes or other life obstacle. You should get guidance from a medical professional and reach out to the support services below for help.

Getting support

If you want to talk about any aspect of your studies, you can make an appointment with a Deakin counsellor. They can recommend ways to improve your mental health, your attitude to study and your time management techniques. They can also help if you're going through a crisis.

If you think you have a medical condition that might be affecting your study, visit the Deakin Medical Centre for a check-up and a chat with one of our doctors. If you receive an appropriate diagnosis, you can reach out to our Disability Resource Centre. They can prepare an access plan for you to support your attendance.

Our study assistance team or your Unit Chair can clarify any element of your studies. If your attendance is not meeting the quota, it’s important to have a conversation about how to catch up so your academic progress won’t be affected. You can apply for special consideration if something in your personal life is affecting your studies.

If your concerns about your workload are more significant, or you need to take a break from your studies, you can consider altering your enrolment or your study load. You have the option of taking a leave of absence or intermission, changing your study load to part time, or discontinuing one of your units. This is a big decision, so it’s important to get course advice from Student Central before making this type of change.

More help and advice

The DeakinWELLBEING app can help you find balance and develop healthy habits, which may help with your motivation to regularly attend your classes.

If you don’t feel quite right, but you’re not sure why, ReachOut can help you figure out what’s going on and connect you with the support you need. They also have tips on how to nail your study-life balance.

Organise your week by scheduling in time for work, study, fun and rest using our weekly planner.

Last updated:
Page custodian: Student Services