Originally Posted Here: http://colorinschool.livejournal.com/962.html

  • Feb. 20th, 2008 at 2:51 AM
Writing

My poor blog is woefully not updated. I have all of these fantastic ideas of things I want to write about but somehow they got lost in the mix that happens between school and home. It has been a crazy few weeks. I think I forgot how much work there was involved in school as a whole. I think I also forgot what being around a ton of other people tends to do to my immune system. It can be bad enough when my daughter brings home every virus going around at school (with barely a sniffle for herself) and I end up sick for a week (or more) at a time! Now I’ve added an entire university campus where people are coming to class half-dead because they do not want to miss a class. I know that desire. I do not like to miss classes either. Unfortunately, one of the downsides of being chronically ill means that you miss classes. Which, I suppose, is where the title of this post comes from.

I have missed three classes (2 in one of my classes due to format) already. In my British Renaissance Lit class, that’s my total allotted number before I start taking grade hits. In my American Studies class? Two. Oh, and two tardies count as 1 full absence. And I’m not remembering the policy for my 19th Century British Lit class right now.

It’s the American Studies class that has me upset tonight. Everything after that is 5 points off my final grade. So, I’ve not even had a chance to get to the end of the semester, and I have already lost five points. I ended up being late to class on Monday. I had ten minutes between my first and second class to get an assignment for that class and my midterm essay for my 19th century class printed. Ten minutes should have been a super amount of time! The lab is the floor above my classroom in the Social Science building for crying out loud! But instead of it being an easy task that was done and had me on my way to class on time, I was ten minutes late and almost walked into class in tears. (And a cynical part of me now is wondering what the reaction would have been if I had.)


There are 2 open labs in the SS building. I went to the first one and it was almost full. I sat down at a machine that I swear was slower than my computer used to be on dial-up. I -finally- got it to do what I needed and went to print my documents…the computer crashed. Oh hell. So, I went to a second in the same lab. It was a bit faster but the same thing happened when I went to print. Now, it’s 1:58 and I am freaking out. I have to be downstairs in 2 minutes. I make my way to the second open lab and am trying to work in there…without realizing that this open lab stops being open at 2 when there is a class in there! I had to stumble my way out apologetically when the professor started class and almost fell on my ass on the way out the door. Awesome! I go back to the first lab which is no mostly empty and finally manage to print out the documents. I get downstairs, briefly contemplate not going, but finally skulk my way in the door ten minutes late.

Now, being late for class would not normally leave me near to tears. I suppose some of the problem was, for a start, that I’m in the worst flare I’ve been in for several months. It’s been triggered by stress (of which I seem to have acquired a lot of), being sick (I’ve been fighting a virus for a month), and the very rapid shifts in weather we’ve had the past couple of weeks. To top that off, I had not slept the night before (which I really don’t recommend when in a flare). Why? I had a paper to finish and three other assignments to get done for Monday. The four days I had allotted to finish all of these projects turned into two. Remember that virus I’ve been fighting? Yes, well, my daughter brought home a second version of it. She and I both slept almost all of Thursday and I slept all of Friday while she pretty much stayed in my Mom’s lap all day. Thankfully, she was on winter break from school. The poor girl was fighting a 102 degree fever for Friday and part of Saturday. Mom had to take her to the doctor Friday afternoon and I was so sick I could barely stand up let alone attempt to go to the doctor with her. Saturday morning, I found myself at the walk-in clinic at -my- doctor who decreed the viral infection had become bacterial and prescribed five days of hefty antibiotics and rest. Hah.

So, my four days turned into two. Apparently if you sleep for near 48 hours straight you make up for that by sleeping less than 8 for the following two days. Monday, I was at school through sheer willpower. I should not have been there. Not only was I sick, but I was having to push off taking some of my meds that would have helped the flare because I cannot take them and go to school so that was making -that- worse. Nothing like trying to walk about a chilly campus with your joints feeling as though someone stabbed knives into them! But aside from new and very strict policies professors seem to have about taking work only in hard copy format, I did not have the absences to spare. So, there I am trying to print things out, dealing with computers that won’t work which honestly? That’s not my fault. I almost fell and if I had I don’t know if I’d have made it back up again at that point and stumble to class. I e-mailed my professor afterwards and explained what had happened.

Her response…while polite…left no wiggle room. She suggested I try harder to get things printed earlier in the day or the night before. Well…I would have loved to, but you see, between dealing with a sick munchkin, being sick as hell myself, trying to make sure I get everything done including the assignment for you which I did not find out about until Saturday evening (because, having been ASLEEP for two days I didn’t manage to check Vista before then), I did not really have a chance to do so. I have a class before yours. I did not sleep all night. You tell me to try harder and I begin to wonder exactly what I am supposed to do! And the real kicker? Missing the 30 points from the assignment which gets averaged into the other quizzes and daily assignments grade would have been better than the potential the tardy created to lead to another absence!

I understand her point about having the same policy for everyone; I just do not agree with the policy. For a start, there’s no way that being late two times ever could equal a full missed class unless someone came in half an hour late both times! For another, while I understand that it is a very discussion heavy class, I think there really ought to be room built in for exceptions. Especially when she is always telling me how much I contribute to discussions and how glad she is I am in class! It is frustrating and discouraging to think that an illness I never asked for that has caused more complications in my life than I care to think about sometimes is now going to end up kicking my efforts at doing -well- in school right out the door!

I also don’t want to leave the impression that I am upset with my professor. I am upset with her policy (and perhaps a bit upset about the lack of understanding on being late), but I am not upset with her. I love her to pieces and she was the reason I signed up for the class in the first place. And she is fantastic about working with you on assignments most of the time as she was with me on our first test. But…it seems there is no wiggle room on this one policy no matter how good you’re doing or how hard you’re trying.

And I know this is a rather negative post but I think this has been a common theme for me for the past month. Attendance policies that are in place to keep people from being slackers are kicking my butt. I am passing my classes! I have done fantastic, well-praised work thus far and all I can think about are all of the points I am losing for days I have to make the choice that says “it is more beneficial for me to stay home than to go.” It doesn’t seem fair. I have paperwork from disAbled services (finally) to give to my professors but in this case, I’m not sure it’s going to make a ton of difference. Ms. Pope told me that if a professor can prove a valid reason why their attendance policy is necessary, they do not have to wave it for you, which I understand. I don’t like it, but I understand.

It just is very discouraging to be busting your bum to get things done and to still end up falling flat on your face (at least that’s what it feels like right now). Ah well. It is a part of this whole university thing that I signed up for…I just have to wrap my mind around it and stop letting it hit me like an “end of the world” type reaction. I can do this. I can.

  • Current Mood: disappointed disappointed

Original Comments:

chimeralharmony

Mar. 7th, 2008 11:25 pm (UTC)
Absence policies like that frustrate me. Auto-fail setups where you are failed if you miss X percent or number of the class sessions flat out piss me off. Most of the time, the reasons I have been given are “Your parents are paying good money for you to be here, this is demanding some accountability from you.”

Excuse me? One, my parents are not funding my education. It is a combination of my own hard earned money, and scholarships that I managed to earn by busting my butt in highschool, and continuing to bust my butt here. If I do the readings, write the assignments, get the notes from a classmate, do the tests, turn in the papers, etc, docking my grade purely on attendance is asinine. If 10-20% of the grade is participation, and a professor wants to cut points off of THAT amount for absences, fine. But if I’m participating in class when I am present and am clearly engaged, the only justifiable amount to take off is the same percentage of classes missed. If missing class discussions and lectures are such a problem for information retention and such, it’ll be reflected in exam results.

This policy is what really hurts a lot of disabled students, particularly ones with chronic illnesses and pain disorders. It seems that few, if any, Disabled Services departments have the ability to get absence waivers. I was told not to take so many classes if it was a problem. Oh, yes, because I have the resources to pay years extra of fees and I’m just peachy-keen with taking seven or eight years to earn my degree instead of four or five, and trying to balance issues of school vs employment for the extra time.

You bust your ass, often at the expense of your health, you try your best and do your work, and then you get slapped for an effing arbitrary rule.

Clearly, this one frustrates and angers me too.

Edited at 2008-03-07 11:26 pm (UTC)

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(Anonymous)

Mar. 26th, 2008 02:20 am (UTC)
thanks much
well done, man
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colorinschool

Mar. 26th, 2008 05:00 pm (UTC)
Re: thanks much
Thank you. 🙂
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