By Joesph Iemma
Since the dawn of institutionalized education, students have been thinking of new excuses for not showing up to class. Whether it’s an ‘imaginary’ death, dog ate the homework, car won’t start, or someone’s make believe sibling needs to be picked up from school, students will always be searching for that excuse that will tug at their professors heartstrings, and ultimately earn them an excused absence. Well hey, at least it’s not a generational problem, but professors have noted that excuses have become more unique than ever before.
“I believe it was last semester, which one of my students told me their cat was run over by a lawn mower,” said Cristina Bowser, a former English professor at LIU Post who retired last semester. “The cat was fine, of course, but the student “had to be there” for his cat.”
This is an awesome, ‘lights out’ excuse. How could a professor, unless he or she is half robot, not sympathize with their poor student and his cat and simply not excuse this young man’s absence? Did she excuse his absence? Yes, she did. She awarded him the benefit of the doubt. However, she was not going to believe another cat story from this particular student ever again.
In a conversation with sophomore chemistry major, Ismael Nehhas, he disclosed to me his wildest excuse. “I couldn’t show up for lab, I did none of my homework and I had to think of something quick. So I told my professor that I had to take my dog to the hospital because she was in labor with five puppies and that if we didn’t get Cornflake (his dog) to the vet within that hour she would die.” Did it work? Of course! Nehhas’ professor even texted him later that evening to check in on Cornflake, who was resting comfortably in his bed — yes, his bed. Cornflake was not even a female.
What about professors? Well, they give excuses too, just more ‘mature’ excuses. In an interview with Professor Sandy Held, a broadcasting and media arts professor, she disclosed the most memorable excuses she had heard from a fellow colleague.
“The student explained that her brother was in the Olympics and the family was going to support him. The story was true, but the professor was unmoved by the once-in-a-lifetime scenario and told the student the absences would affect her grade.”
Now, this is just unfortunate. Imagine someone in your family was partaking in the Olympics. What are the odds of that? Yet again, what are the odds of your professor not accepting that excuse? That’s the textbook definition of a let-down. Held, reminisced on a more comical excuse.
“I do recall a student claiming to be sick, then returning to class with sunburn. I wonder where she was.” Held said, jokingly, before getting back on a more serious note. “I do believe there are things in life more important than class. I did miss class last spring due to an emergency appendectomy. Sometimes students and teachers need a mental health day.”
Ah, don’t we all professor, don’t we all!
With this said, if you simply don’t feel like coming to class, just be honest; nobody likes a liar. However, if you’re going to ‘fib’ on why you won’t be attending your 8 a.m. class, at least be original. Although your professors sometimes assign you massive amounts of homework to do over break with seemingly no remorse, they just might show a little emotion, and excuse you of your “absence.”