- 6 years ago
- Wedding: May 2012
I teach at a school where most of the kids are first generation college students. I realize many of them do not know how to study or how to act professionally. For example, I receive emails and papers that have basic spelling and grammar errors, letters are not capitalized that should be, and I receive emails that look like texts to their friends and are address to “my first name”. I can handle this, but it greatly irks me when they act entitled (to something which they are not entitled). So I bring you my tips for college students:
1. If you miss the final exam, explain to the professor why you missed it and politely request to take it at another time.
You may very well have a valid reason, but you need to share that reason with your professor for her to consider allowing an exception. In my syllabus I stated I only allow it under extreme circumstances, such as you are hospitalized. I do not provide an exhaustive list of possibilities. A colleague recently had a student whose child died near the end of the term, and she was very compassionate and understanding about the situation, but it is rare and not the sort of thing you would anticipate would happen. Specifically do not just repeat over and over, “But I have to take it!” and “My situation does not fall into that exception.” If it doesn’t fit the exception and you won’t explain it, then I can’t/won’t help you.
Also, honey always wins more than vinegar (at least try the honey first, you can always move onto vinegar and up the chain depending on the situation).
2. If the professor makes an exception, express gratitude and follow any rules she sets out.
If the professor asks for documentation of your situation before allowing an exception…feel happy she will make an exception, count yourself lucky and provide the documentation. Don’t ask the professor how you’ll obtain it (and if she does tell you three easy ways she can think of, off the top of her head, that you can provide it, don’t continue to complain. The alternative is no opportunity to retake it). Again, be polite and thankful. She has to rearrange her schedule on extremely short notice to fit in an exam especially for you, which at minimum is several hours of proctoring, and possibly more if writing a whole new exam.
If someone else who is NOT your professor (or not a dean of students and above the professor) gives contrary instructions, it is only professional to notify your professor that you are not following her rules and to confirm this is acceptable. You do not know if the changed instructions are correct. In a work setting you would notify the person you report to if you were not going to follow their instructions.
3. Texting is not for professional settings.
Do not simply text your professor “I’m here” and expect them to have the exam ready for you, particularly if you did not follow directions (and the last verbal instructions were to “submit X before I will reschedule the exam for you” and the last written communication said “I have not received X”) It also helps if you show up at the right time/right day.
4. Finally, study guides are the responsibility of the student.
If your professor provides you with any information prior to the exam, such as study guides or test questions, be grateful. Do not expect that your professor will do so, or complain that you did not receive it sooner or in a manner you prefered (e.g. online versus via email).
Arguing with your professor just before the exam is proctored is also a bad idea.
Bonus: If you ask your professor to grade your exam immediately and she declines, accept that with good grace. Do not demand a second time she grade it immediately, particularly when you’ve already taken up the entire morning unexpectedly (as well as part of the prior day). Your professor has many things to do.
*End rant* Thank you for listening.