This quarter I (the overachiever that I thought I wanted to be) decided to take twenty credits. This quarter still is proving itself to be one of the most complicated that I've had in the last three years of my education. In one week alone I had four major projects due, in all of my four classes, and I found myself lost in a routine of school at 8 in the morning and being up doing homework until 1 the next day. I found myself so overwhelmed by the sheer amount of stuff to do that I was starting to struggle. I knew that I wasn't alone in this struggle so I asked my mom what I should do (thanks mom), and she told me to talk to my professors.
I talk to my professors every day in class, and so I wasn't quite sure what I was supposed to do here. All through my education, I was under the impression that NO MATTER WHAT due dates are when something is due.
I found myself on the verge of an educational breakdown, and walked to one of my professor's office hours and just talked to her. I told her about how I am taking so many credits, what was stressing me, and what tolls that were taking on me as a person and as a student. She listened better than anyone else, she offered me an extension on her upcoming project, and she told me that no matter what I need that she would be willing to work with me to make accommodations.
It seemed more likely for me to be slapped in the face with a pancake than to have a professor tell me to take my time and take care of myself.
When I walked out of the office it felt like a giant load had been lifted off of my shoulders and that for the first time in forever I could take a second to just breathe. I had no idea that professors were so human, and that they like all other people understand circumstances. I was given time to catch up in my other classes and also time to make sure I was submitting my best work to that professor.
There is, of course, a huge difference in being able to ask for an extension and when you should know better. For example, you may want to keep these things in mind: how is your attendance? have you asked for an extension before? what are your grades like in the class? Have you been slacking on your responsibilities, or do you actually need more time to finish it? Students who do not show up, turn in their work, or slack are probably not going to be granted an extension.
I hate to say it but the lack of care from a student is obvious to teachers, and putting myself in their shoes, if I saw someone who just didn't care then I'd say no too. Ask yourself what kind of student you are, and make sure that you and the teacher are on good standing.
I recommend asking face-face because it adds a level of humility to ask for something that you really need. It is so easy to hide over a computer, and face to face makes it so that your request is more personal.
School is hard, and professors more than anyone know that. They try their best to make a workload that will work for their students, and when it doesn't ask them for help is okay. Being a student is understood.
If you find yourself in this position, I wish you luck, and I hope that your professors work with you.