I've had perfect attendance in school my entire life and it's made all the difference.
"Perfect Attendance" is hard. It's really hard. But I can't thank my Mom enough for enforcing this really important skill. We go to school and work with people who find every excuse to take a day off and after all of these years, I have ZERO toleration for these kinds of people. I had perfect attendance from Kindergarten through my senior year of high school, 12 FULL YEARS (however one year in Elementary school, aka 4th grade, they docked me for a half day because I left a few minutes early for a doctors appointment which I STILL debate to this day), so 8 consecutive years if you want to be more technical. But I'd like to point out, I was still IN ATTENDANCE the day they docked me. I don't miss school. I don't miss work. I just don't do it.
I grew up in a home where both of my parents worked and to be honest, it was the best thing ever. Why? Because my school day was never to detract from the ability of my parents to work that day. If I had a runny nose, I went to school. If I had a headache, I went to school. If I wasn't feel too great after getting a stomach bug or school cold, I still went to school. The only way I was ever to be allowed to skip school was for puking all over the nurses office, broken bones, or I was bleeding on the floor. I vividly remember puking for hours in the nurses office and calling my mom and telling her to not pick me up until the end of the school day. I was a trooper. Other than that, a simple stomach ache was no excuse. It always boggled me when my peers would skip school because they were feeling under the weather that day. Of course there were days that I definitely was probably too sick to go to school or I dreaded every minute of being there but I came to school anyway. Some may say that's unhealthy and inappropriate but I turned out just fine. I was always vaccinated and I went on doctor check ups every few months. My doctor always pointed out -- I was never sick.
Now a lot of you are thinking, how did you survive!? What about weddings, funerals, etc.? Vacations? Appointments? Well, I planned accordingly. We get the power in appointments, so I would always book them for after school. I can't even count the amount of secretaries who gawked and grumbled when I would refuse to take an appointment at 1p.m. because I didn't get out of school until 2:30p.m. But I stuck by it. School came first, my dentist check-up did not. Besides the results were always the same, "Teeth look great, but you need to work on flossing." I KNOW. Vacations were meant for time allotted for that time aka Spring break or Summer. My family did not take trips randomly out of the blue because they weren't taking vacation days and I refused to take off school. And important events like weddings and funerals? I was pretty lucky, I didn't run into conflicts. There was one funeral that I did skip and it's one regret that I will always hold but as I was mourning, I clung to my perfect attendance as a rational excuse to not face the reality of the death at the time. Though I ultimately regret not attending the funeral, I don't regret continuing on an achieving perfect attendance. Yes, I know it's a double negative, but it makes sense to me.
Even today, I haven't skipped a college class. I'm paying too much to miss out on the opportunity. Work is a more flexible schedule but I've never missed a shift. Ever. If I can't come in that day, I simply have someone cover for me but I've never intentionally skipped. No workday means less money.
What have I learned?
I don't tolerate *cough* *cough* "sick" people. I have incredible work ethic. I am ALWAYS on time. I have maintained strong bonds with my professors, peers, and bosses. It's pushed me to preserver through tough emotional struggles and under the weather health. Perfect Attendance is not something where I want a little certificate and pat on the back. It's something to have others notice that I will always be there. It's a sense of loyalty to whatever situation I'm in. I know there's a time and place for everything and I will always respect and understand the reason as to why I'm attending something. I don't come up with excuses as to why I can't be somewhere. I'm there or I'm not. We live in a world where so many people have excuses as to why they deserve a break. But a break should not be rewarded to someone who can't put in a full 100% everyday. I don't respect that. When I do have a break, it feels a million times better that I waited.
I'll admit, someone taking a day off is not a deal-breaker or that big of deal. However, that person will never be me.