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School of No Studying

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Joey: Hey, Yug, how come we never do any school work, anyway?
Yugi: It makes you wonder why we even bother coming here.

Due to The Law of Conservation of Detail, it's not surprising that most stories that take place in a school setting, or have school-aged characters as the main characters, wouldn't focus too much on the studying and taking-tests side of things. There are more interesting things to show than that, after all, and Alice and Bob having to buckle down and practice for their midterms would severely wreck their abilities to prevent Dr. Demonface from Taking Over The World.

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Sometimes, though, there's a real lack of logic to it. In Real Life, most kids in school focus much more on their studies than petty campus drama, but it's the exact opposite in "realistic" series like Degrassi or Glee. In less realistic, more fantastic series (like Haruhi Suzumiya), not even the Ordinary High School Students seem to care about tests and exams. This is especially egregious in High School series, where the importance of good grades and stable GPAs are at an all-time high.

It can be a Justified Trope since the amount of time spent in school with lessons not occurring in one school day can cover the runtime of even a one-hour episode; lunch alone can equal that of a half-hour one and many school-set shows take place over several days per episode.

Related tropes are Shouldn't We Be in School Right Now? and One-Hour Work Week. Non-academic examples fall under The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything.

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Examples of this trope:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • BlazBlue: Remix Heart: Most of the time, our team Remix Heart goes into adventure, "solving cases", and other things than doing schoolwork. It's slightly averted, however, e.g Mai finding some books in the library to study (which leads to the plot of the chapter) or 1-2 scenes of class activities.
  • Mont Blanc Uni in CITY appears to be one of these, since the students appear to just lounge around the campus until something interesting goes on.
    Niikura: This is a college campus. Ergo... It's a nest of people with nothing else to do!
  • This seems to be the case in Danganronpa 3, as the students of Hope's Peak Academy's main course don't have to attend classes, instead being given the opportunity to work on their talents. Even when Yukizome gathers the students of class 77-B and forces them to attend, it's for the sake of having them socialize with each other rather than having them actually study.
  • In Girls und Panzer, students on the Tankery team are given up to 200 tardiness passes as incentives to participate in tankery. Mako Reizei, who's chronically tardy, needs every single one in order to avoid being held back. On a broader level, after Episode 1, no one is ever seen in class.
  • As mentioned above, Haruhi Suzumiya. Not even Mikuru, the upperclassman, stops to worry about her grades (but it's implied she's not that bright anyway.)
  • High School Debut, as the title suggests, has much of its action take place in high school, and Haruna's initial concern is all about making a fresh start among her high school peers. She's never seen even thinking about school work, and her romantic interest only briefly wonders about what he should study in college. The only official school events that even get brought up are a ceremony to welcome incoming freshmen, a school athletic festival, and a graduation speech.
  • Downplayed in Kaguya-sama: Love Is War. Shuchi'in is an academically-focused school, studying is mentioned multiple times, and there are entire chapters devoted to end of semester exams, but the closest the series ever gets to showing the characters in class are a drawing session in art and cooking in home economics (the latter of which isn't actually shown). Given how the manga developed the most likely explanation is that the author didn't want to develop many characters at once and thus had early on decided to split the grades and homerooms up for the primary cast so they'd be forced to interact primarily within the student council. The art class, an elective, was explicitly set up to allow characters in a "class setting" who wouldn't have normally been seen together in one, and came after the author knew what to do with them (such as what should happen when Ai, Chika, and Kaguya are all together in the same classroom).
  • Neither Yuuichi nor Nayuki in Kanon worry about their grades, and seem to spend most of their time in class either sleeping, having conversations with each other, or lamenting how boring the class is. While the other main characters in the series have an excuse (Makoto is actually a fox, and thus doesn't even go to school, Mai is a demon hunter, etc.), neither Nayuki or Yuuichi have such an excuse.
  • Ouran High School Host Club: No one, not even Scholarship Student Haruhi, is ever seen actually going to class! Everyone's partying with the Host Club, or other school clubs. Justified, on the grounds that Ouran is an Elaborate University High school for spoiled rich kids.
  • Taken to a rather ridiculous level in School Days, where petty campus drama seems to be the only thing on anyone's minds. Well, that and steamy, underage sex.
  • The Misaki Academy in Twinkle Saber Nova has very liberal student conduct requirements, which do not seem to include studying. Therefore, the students spend most of their time participating in various club activities.
  • In Yuri Is My Job, most of the story takes place in the Liebe Girls' Academy Salon, where the main characters work part-time, so very little time is spent on class and even less is spent on studying or homework.
  • The Sun & Moon saga in Pokémon, while having a school and some studying, was underdeveloped in the usual school themes; from having no worries about failing a grade (because there weren't simply any to specifically study for), to a tremendous lack of elaboration on the other nameless students attending classrooms that are never seen. Rather jarringly, the next series has Ash's two friends enrolled in a regular school, with Go specifically still being forced to occasionally visit the school for the sole purpose of taking tests and being free to carry out his duties with the Cerise institute otherwise.
  • Nearly all of the focus in Food Wars! is on cooking competitions despite the series taking place at a prestigious culinary school. There were some scenes set in classes early on with the students depicted studying (or trying to study), but they were eventually dropped, with downtime set instead at the dorms. It's as if the main method of learning new material at Totsuki is through self-studying and through challenging each other to cook-offs. Mimisaki is seen as offputting and weird for improving his cooking skills by observing people better than he is and learning how they do things, despite this being something every student ought to do at a culinary school. (Granted, his habits of stalking them, tapping their phones, searching their bedrooms while they're out, and dressing up as them to study their personalities can be disturbing even in context, especially juxtaposed with his Face of a Thug.)
    • The most salient instance of this trope is that we aren't seeing any real trace of the non-cooking classes which presumably are there to get the high-school aged students their high school diplomas. We at least hear references to things students remember from cooking classes; de-emphasized because the narrative focus is usually on students whose backgrounds meant they already had semiprofessional skills upon entry.

    Comic Books 
  • Wonder Woman Vol 1: Despite years of stories that either partially take place on the Holliday College campus or include students from the college, none of the students are ever seen studying, and they're only seen in class on a handful of occasions.
  • X-Men: Applies to the Xavier Institute and its many, many students over the years, who usually spend their time on adventures, romantic issues, and just generally trying to avoid dying horribly. Slightly justified since the school started as a front to let Mutants get a handle on their powers, but then they became an actual school.

    Film - Live Action 
  • The two Pitch Perfect films are about college a cappella singing groups. Nobody puts any focus whatsoever on their studies, majors, and what not.
  • After the first two or three films, the Harry Potter films rarely contain any scenes in classes or studying for them unless they directly affect the main plot. Dumbledore mentions all exams being cancelled near the end of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and final exams and essays are rarely if ever mentioned thereafter. An exception is during the OWLs (that's Ordinary Wizarding Level exams to the Muggle) — naturally these receive some mention, being the most important exam that every witch and wizard must complete at Hogwarts.
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    Literature 
  • The Lovely Bones: Invoked in Susie's heaven—it's built around a high school, since she never got old enough to attend during her life, where there are never any classes to attend.
  • Nina Tanleven: Subverted in The Ghost in the Big Brass Bed - this marks the first book where Nine's adventures conflict with school (the previous two books took place over the summer), and while her time there is mostly off-screen, her focus on the mystery at Phoebe Watson's home leads to her being distracted and unwittingly neglecting her schoolwork, even while she's actually in class, and getting in trouble with her teacher for it.

    Live-Action TV 
  • A.P. Bio is about a disgruntled, terminated philosophy professor from Harvard who becomes an AP Biology teacher at a high school in Toledo, Ohio who refuses to teach his students any biology and strictly enforces a rule of them not learning any biology whatsoever. His principal is too much of a coward to take action against this, and as the series progresses it becomes more clear that the principal himself cares way more about his and the school's reputation so that he keeps getting more ribbons, accolades and funding rather than the future of his students.
  • Most Community characters worry more about campus life than their actual classes. In fact, the series features more and more episodes taking place off campus in Season 2 and beyond. Ironically, the reason the main cast came together in the first place was to form a study group.
  • The teenage spies in M.I. High never seem to have any work to do. In fact, they frequently leave class using the most flimsy excuses often enough for it to be a Running Gag.
  • The Swellview Academy for the Gifted in Danger Force is just a made up school used to teach the young teenaged members of Danger Force to use their powers to fight crime. Apart from that, they aren't learning anything else. This actually was a plot point in "Ray Goes Cray" when they were given two other students as the other gifted schools were filled up.
  • Patito Feo is a huge example. Most of the action takes place in high school, and most scenes are at break time. The school is in a inter-school tournament of singing bands, so there are many scenes involving the music class, but other than that, we never see an actual classroom, a chalkboard, books, or studying. Ever.
  • No one in The Vampire Diaries ever seems to have homework of any kind. A classroom is occasionally shown for exposition purposes, but school is only there in the far background, despite most of the cast being students.
  • Mahabharata: In the 1988 television adaptation of the original epic, King Dhritharashtra sends the sons of his brother Pandu along with his own sons to Kripacharya’s school to begin their education. However, he secretly wants to curtail his nephews’ education lest they know more than his own sons and thereby usurp the kingdom. He therefore keeps calling Kripacharya to his palace for all sorts of nonsensical reasons, leaving his sons and nephews completely unsupervised in school. The boys naturally just eat, sleep and play all day long.
  • While the main characters of Euphoria attend classes in almost every single episode of the first season, close to none of their time is spent doing or acknowledging any kind of schoolwork and instead furthering the drama in each others' lives. Many of the scenes that take place within the school, even some of the choices in outfits and music during the Winter Formal makes the lack of presence in teachers or administrators quite evident.

    Video Games 
  • The school day in Kindergarten consists of morning time (in which the kids are just left to their own devices), lunch, recess, and finally show and tell. Averted in the sequel; the gifted students in "smart class" take an evaluation on the computer at the start of the day, and the player can choose between attending gym and science class at the end of the day. Even then though, these segments are more of a backdrop for puzzle-solving and character interaction in the name of continuing whatever route you're on; not much focus is put on actually studying the subjects in question.
  • Lampshaded in Monster Prom - though it's technically set in a school (it's drawn like a high school but all the characters are 18 or over and the culture seems more like college), very little in the game references studying. Every day each character can go to a room to gain stats, and one of them is a classroom, but it's totally possible to go the entire game without ever going to class. If you do go, the game pokes fun at the trope by mentioning that outside of all of this prom craziness, you almost forgot that the main purpose of a school is to study.
  • Depending on your play style, the main character of Tokimeki Memorial may or may not spend a lot of time studying. However, even if you spend every single day at the library, the only characters who'll show up to study with you are the "studious" types; there's no randomly bumping into one of your other classmates (outside of one-time scripted events).

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY's Beacon Academy double subverts this trope. While the first couple of episodes after the group officially enter the Academy are based around classes and studying, it slowly begins to distance away from them until the third volume's turning point where the school is invaded by Grimm, forcing the students to leave, dropping the school-focused plot entirely. Justified for Haven Academy, as the group arrives there during summer break.
  • The Most Popular Girls in School: The series takes place mostly in a high school, but the focus is pretty much entirely on football, cheerleading, and school events. Characters are only ever shown in class once, and the only school staff member with any screentime to speak of is a lunch lady.

     Western Animation 
  • Averted in Ed, Edd n Eddy, once the characters start going to school in the fifth season. Despite the lack of onscreen appearances by other students or even faculty (due to the show's Minimalist Cast), the show still has characters attend classes and acknowledge things like studying, grades, and homework. Eddy is always scheming to skip high school, as he thinks he can make a living off simply scamming kids for quarters (when really his scams usually fail). Edd on the other hand would be admiring school if they didn't impose P.E. on him.
  • Timmy Turner in The Fairly OddParents spends much more time at school than most of his cartoon comrades, yet almost never even thinks about his grades and is just a straight-F student.
  • In full force in My Little Pony: Equestria Girls. The girls focus more on the upcoming competitions (popularity contest in the first movie, battle of the bands in the second, intra-school competition with Crystal Prep in the third) than actual schoolwork. Even away from the movie plots, they tend to be doing club- or interest-related activities rather than general study or being in a classroom. In general, this serves the purpose of more plausibly inserting outsiders among the student body and saves writer effort translating ponies to human analogues.
  • Undergrads is exactly like this. The characters are in every social event on the campus, but they never appear studying on-screen. All of the action happens between classes and free time, and it's never revealed what they're even studying.

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