Asking for grace versus making excuses College Life

Hello everyone:

Life happens. Sometimes we have to work late, have a sick relative, or experience some other life emergency. As a college professor, I see it happen all the time.

What happens when you simply haven’t planned ahead well enough? Like to old saying kind of goes, “Failure on your part to prepare does not constitute an emergency on my part.” I had a student recently who wanted an extended deadline because he was working full time, taking several classes, and wanting to attend his sister’s birthday party. For this reason (which he somehow thought was my fault), he wanted a one-week extension on the due date for an assignment. After all, he couldn’t miss his sister’s birthday party, could he?

Well, I assume that she has had other birthdays in the past, so he knew it was coming. He probably also knew that he worked full time, so that shouldn’t have been a surprise. He also had access to his classes before he signed up for them, so he knew what the work load would be.  I’m still trying to figure out why I should cut him a break.

This week alone, over three classes at two colleges, I have had students whose bosses made them work overtime, a brother in an accident, and a sister-in-law who went into labor because her hubby had an accident. The last two issues were something out of the student’s control, but we all have to work overtime from time to time.

How do we prepare? Well, knowing the kind of boss you have before you start the class means that you work ahead so that you are prepared for the overtime he or she will probably insist you do.

Last semester, I had a student whose baby was due shortly after the class began. What did she do? She got the book early, looked at the syllabus as soon as she could, and began doing the research and preparing the documents she had to write. The baby was born at some point in time, but her work never suffered at all because she was so far ahead (I release discussion board topics one week ahead of time, so that a business trip or baby won’t keep you from getting behind).

As grace is concerned, I usually give my students one excuse per semester. After that one, you better be prepared or get ready to fail because you have excuseitis, probably not a legitimate problem.


Dr. Sheri


Sheri Dean Parmelee has a Ph.D. in Communication Studies from Regent University. She writes books on practical tips for people who become unexpectedly unmarried and is working on her second novel in a series of contemporary romance/suspense novels. She teaches at three colleges, working with students from freshmen to graduate students. Her hobbies include running 8 miles a day and reading biographies and fiction.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *