Student arrives in class early

Coralie Carlson

Al Wais Layt, College of Liberal Arts junior, gave his professor a start Monday morning — just by going to class.
The political science freshman arrived to his 8 a.m. lecture on time, surprising even himself.
“I didn’t mean to do it,” Layt said. “My roommate set my alarm clock an hour ahead as a joke.”
Layt woke up at 6:45 a.m. on Monday, slipped on his jeans and drank a cup of coffee before he biked to class. But when he walked into the lecture hall, only the professor and teaching assistants occupied the room.
That’s when he realized it was 7:30 a.m., not 8:30 a.m. as he had supposed, Layt said.
His professor, Wanda B. Prez, screamed when she saw Layt entering the room. She said she initially thought he must be a burglar or a vagrant.
“I’ve never even heard of a student coming this early before,” Prez said. “This is truly an unprecedented event — especially for this department.”
Prez and the teaching assistants didn’t recognize Layt even after they realized he didn’t pose a threat.
“He is a student? In this class? I’ve never seen him before in my life,” said Ngo Ingleesh, teaching assistant and graduate student in political science.
About 25 percent of political science majors nationwide go to class early, compared to a 60 percent timeliness rate for other majors, according to an April 1997 study by The Chronicle of Lower Education.
Some of the aspiring politicians surveyed said they couldn’t imagine their professors saying anything important in the first 15 minutes of class, so they didn’t waste that time in a classroom.
At the University, one-third of political science majors got to class on time last year. The rest of the University fared better, with two-thirds of other majors making it to their seats by the beginning of class, according to the Office of Planning and Analysis.
The study revealed that morning classes had the poorest attendance.
Prez said she starts class exactly at 8 a.m., although only a handful of her 125 students make it to their seats on time. The rest filter in later or just buy class notes at Copies on Campus.
While Layt admits he has poor attendance, he said he still prefers early morning classes.
“It’s great to have the rest of my day free,” Layt said, adding that his tardiness did not improve for afternoon classes.
Although Layt sat through the entire 50-minute class, he said he didn’t learn any more by attending class on time.
“I just used the extra hour to catch up on my sleep,” Layt said.