I Shouldn't Need A Doctor's Note To Excuse My Absence

I Shouldn't Need A Note To Excuse My Absence

Our grades shouldn't be affected because of external factors that prevent our presence in class.

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I had to miss a class recently to get my wisdom teeth removed. I went up to my professor the class before and told her, and because there's a policy about needing a doctor's note to excuse medical absences, I asked if she would need one from me.

And of course, she did.

This is nothing against my professor, who is an amazing teacher. This is entirely against colleges who have the ridiculous policy, IN COLLEGE, that you need a note from a professional to be excused for missing class.

Since when does having my butt in a seat mean more to my grade than the work I do?

We all know who's to blame for this policy: our fellow students who are lazy assholes that fake sickness or a death in the family to get out of attending class. Like thanks for taking legitimate reasons to miss class and turning them into phrases that immediately put professors on high alert, making them assume we're lying. You are 100% the reason this ridiculous policy is in place. You are the reason for an unbelievable level of mistrust towards college students and contribute to the negative stereotype that us college kids are all lazy people who don't want to put in the work.

If I get sick or am dealing with a medical issue, my first thought should not be "Crap, will my professor excuse me without a note?"

It should be "Where's the medicine??"

Just because someone feels sicks doesn't necessarily mean they're sick enough to go to the doctor or the campus health center.

Hell, they may not even be well enough to make the commute to the doctor to get said note. I had a group project teammate one semester who got food poisoning and couldn't make it to class, and she certainly wasn't feeling well enough to drag herself on campus to get a note from the health center.

It's also unfair to assume all college students can even AFFORD to go to a doctor or the health center every time they get sick or hurt.

Remember that stereotype of "broke college student?" It's hella real. There is no feasible way a college student actually could afford to visit the doctor or campus health center every time they didn't feel well enough to attend class. I've missed classes because of a bad cold and I'm not about to get a note because I didn't want to get my classmates sick!

What about students whose primary physicians are out of state? I had a classmate from PA who had to go back to PA just to get a note from her doctor to prove she had legitimately missed class due to sickness. SHE HAD TO GO BACK TO PENNSYLVANIA FROM MARYLAND. Because the professor refused to excuse her absence otherwise. Think about how absolutely insane that is.

Don't forget students with chronic illnesses.

I have a fellow writer who constantly misses class because of chronic sickness. I know people who deal with endometriosis and miss class because some days the pain is just too bad to move. Professors always think students like that are full of crap and "you can't possibly be sick that often."

And none of this even accounts for people who struggle with mental illness.

If you have a mental illness, you can't exactly get a doctor's note when you take a mental health day. You can't get a note explaining why you literally could not get out of bed because you were having a really bad depressive episode, or why you missed class because of a panic attack. You can't tell a professor "I've been struggling a lot lately with my mental health and I needed a day for myself to unplug from everything." Your professor will think you're just lazy and full of bullshit.

And don't get me started on missing class for a death.

There was a thread on Twitter a while back (which of course I can't find now) of people sharing their experiences with this, and it was honestly heartbreaking. The amount of horrible, traumatic stories I have read/heard from college students who had to deal with awful professors when a death occurred...it really makes you realize how many horrible people are out there, and just how many professors do not deserve to be teaching.

There are professors out there who will not excuse an absence AT ALL if you're out because you lost a loved one. That's right. You could lose a PARENT or someone equally close, and you're still losing a grade. Other professors require a freaking DEATH CERTIFICATE, receipt from the funeral home, or something equally ludicrous that will only traumatize the student further...simply to miss class without their grade dipping due to absence.

Losing a loved one is painful enough as it is. Imagine emailing your professor to tell them you'll be out of class to attend the funeral of a loved one - be it a parent, grandparent, sibling, best friend, longtime family friend, IT REALLY SHOULD NOT MATTER - and they tell you to get them PROOF that this person died. Or worse, "too bad, I don't excuse absences for any reason."

If you are a professor who can respond that, you are a cold-hearted Grinch who shouldn't be teaching.

I saw stories of people who lost multiple grandparents in a semester, and their professors refused to accept their absences because "no one has four grandmothers" (or something along those lines, but you get the point). As someone with three grandmothers (both my maternal and paternal grandparents are divorced and my dad's parents both remarried), YES, people can have that many grandmothers. And of course, people with LGBTQ grandparents.

But regardless, who are you to judge what's the "right amount of death?"

We can't control when people die. Let's also remember that when we're in college, our grandparents are usually around the age that elderly adults start dying (as awful as that sounds). When I was a kid, all my great-grandparents passed away within the same year and half - it happens.

To make all this worse? Most professors who do excuse absences for death will only accept deaths in the IMMEDIATE FAMILY. So if the deceased isn't a mom, dad, child or sibling, you're taking the L for missing class.

Because apparently, any other loved one isn't worth attending the funeral of.

Anyone who isn't direct family, according to colleges, isn't worth missing class to attend their funeral and pay your respects in the eyes of your teacher.

We're told we're adults once we hit college, but we're still treated like kids.

The policy of requiring a note or some other proof for missing class - just so 10% of your grade isn't chucked out the window - is a steaming pile of crap that doesn't take into account so many factors.

But apparently, your attendance grade is worth more than your health or the loss of a loved one.

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To The Nursing Major During The Hardest Week Of The Year

I know that no grade can possibly prove what kind of nurse you will be. I know that no assignment will showcase your compassion. I know that no amount of bad days will ever take away the empathy inside of you that makes you an exceptional nurse.

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To the Nursing Major During Finals Week,

I know you're tired, I know you're stressed, and I know you feel like you can't go on. I know that no part of this seems fair, and I know you are by far the biggest critic of yourself. I know that you've thought about giving up. I know that you feel alone. I know that you wonder why in the world you chose one of the hardest college majors, especially on the days it leaves you feeling empty and broken.

But, I also know that you love nursing school. I know your eyes light up when you're with patients, and I know your heart races when you think of graduation. I know that you love the people that you're in school with, like truly, we're-all-in-this-together, family type of love. I know that you look at the older nurses with admiration, just hoping and praying that you will remain that calm and composed one day. I know that every time someone asks what your college major is that you beam with pride as you tell them it's nursing, and I know that your heart skips a beat knowing that you are making a difference.

I know that no grade can possibly prove what kind of nurse you will be. I know that no assignment will showcase your compassion. I know that a failed class doesn't mean you aren't meant to do this. I know that a 'C' on a test that you studied so. dang. hard. for does not mean that you are not intelligent. I know that no amount of bad days will ever take away the empathy inside of you that makes you an exceptional nurse.

I know that nursing school isn't fair. I know you wish it was easier. I know that some days you can't remember why it's worth it. I know you want to go out and have fun. I know that staying up until 1:00 A.M. doing paperwork, only to have to be up and at clinicals before the sun rises is not fair. I know that studying this much only to be failing the class is hard. I know you wish your friends and family understood. I know that this is difficult.

Nursing school isn't glamorous, with the white lab coat and stethoscope. Nursing school is crying, randomly and a lot. Nursing school is exhaustion. Nursing school is drinking so much coffee that you lose track. Nursing school is being so stressed that you can't eat. Nursing school is four cumulative finals jam-packed into one week that is enough to make you go insane.

But, nursing school is worth it. I know that when these assignments are turned in and finals are over, that you will find the motivation to keep going. I know that one good day of making a difference in a patient's life is worth a hundred bad days of nursing school.

Keep hanging in there, nursing majors. It'll all be worth it— this I know, for sure.

So, if you have a nursing major in your life, hug them and tell them that you're proud of them. Nursing school is tough, nursing school is scary, and nursing school is overwhelming; but a simple 'thank-you' from someone we love is all we need to keep going.

Sincerely,

A third-year nursing student who knows

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Why Fordham Should Have a Safe Space Policy

On a campus committed to it's student's safety, why is emotional safety left out?

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Last year college Republicans were asked to leave Rodrigue's coffee house for provoking members by wearing pro-Trump attire within the shop. The reason they were asked to leave was because Rodrigue's upholds a "safe space" policy, which can be boiled down to the simple phrase: "No racism. No sexism. No homophobia." In the eyes of the members and patrons of Rod's, Trump embodied all of these things. Regardless of the politics of this specific incident, the phrase and policy seems redundant because this rhetoric can't possibly be allowed anywhere else on campus. Right?

As this incident made campus as well as national news Father McShane addressed the events in an e-mail to all students in which he made it clear he did not condone the approach of the College Republicans, as well as stated that Fordham has no official Safe Space policy and insinuated if it did this would silence voices on campus.

Let's examine what a safe space policy means and why it's important to so many members of the Fordham community. It simply means homophobic, sexist, and racist imagery and speech are not allowed. On a campus with racial minority, female, and queer students who chose to be members of the Fordham community as well as study here, live here, and pay obscene amounts of money to be a student, it does not make sense for these individuals to be subjected to abuses related to their identity. How can you focus in class when your professor misgenders you, a student makes a disparaging comment about your religion, or you fear for your physical safety due to the way you present yourself? Bigoted rhetoric is oppositional to academia.

Fordham is a private university, not a public one, and could easily legislate a basic safe space guideline on campus. I understand many of us that a safe space policy would protect do not experience outward aggression often, if at all, as the University does take steps to ensure our safety. So why no official policy? The answer is simple to me: money. Fordham receives hefty donations from conservative alumni whose own political ideology is contrary to the safe space policy. The choice to not outwardly support minority students is a decidedly economic and political one, despite Father McShane's plea for political peace on campus.

And what is wrong with silencing hateful voices? Tolerance is an incredibly important value, but should tolerance really extend to the intolerant? I found the logic behind not installing the policy as it would politically oppress individuals, incredibly interesting and telling. This means your politics are fatally bigoted and I would take a critical look at that. It's intrinsic to our perception of our school to remember that colleges are businesses and it is sometimes their prerogative to meet economic needs above the needs of their student body. However, this is hopeful. As patrons of this business, we can demand more of them and the most effective way to do this is economical. Invest money in places such as Rodrigue's to expand their voice, have your parents write letters to the school, tell at-risk individuals to not apply, and encourage alumni to earmark their money for minority student initiatives or withhold it unless the school legislates a safe space policy.

We as a student body should care for one another and above all respect the personhood of everyone on and off campus. Consider honoring the policy in your own lives and social circles, and demand Fordham to officially do the same.

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