My Aunt’s Cat Died


WP_000109As the end of another school year draws closer, my students rush to make deadlines and finish assignments.  I receive many entertaining emails from students, to explain an absence or a missed assignment.  And so for your reading pleasure, here is a list of some of my favorite excuses:

The Best of Rutgers Students Excuses

(Listed from not bad to wonderfully creative. I have chosen not to correct any grammar or spelling mistakes—much more fun!)

Hi, On last Night I found out that my Grandmother passed away and I will not be on campus today. Please excuse me for missing today’s class. On Monday I also will not be on campus becaue my family will get upset. I understand that our final paper is due but may I please have an extended time to hand in my paper. I am greatly effected by the lost of my Grandmother and I don’t believe I can give my best effort in my work in the state that I am in. Please understand. I look forward to hearing from you. Thank You (For some reason, this “my grandmother died” excuse, seemed heartfelt. But I wondered how this student was able to predict the future upset of his family, if he appeared on campus on Monday.)

I am sorry i was’tnt able to come to the class today. My sister was expecting a baby which she happened to dilver before her due date this afternoon. i had to rush to the hospital due to this emergency i wasnt able to make it to the class. (And you needed to rush to the hospital for what reason?  Did you “diliver” the baby yourself?)

I am extremely sorry this is late. I am out of town with my family, the time change threw me off, and we just now got back to the hotel.  (Are you in China?)

My boyfreind’s grandmother died.

My closest uncle died.

My cousin died.

My  aunt’s cat died. (I’m sure you will qualify for United Airlines bereavement rates)

I am J___’s  mom. He just told me that he has to take your course again. i would like to know what went wrong and why he failed the class. He is a good and contentious student and so I am shocked at this result. Does his GPA get affected by this grade What exactly was the problem . I really want to know what is going on with this course. I am paying very high fees for his education and would like to know what is the problem. Does he understand what has to be done in your class? (This email was sent from a distraught mother of a student, after the student plagiarized his final paper.  Besides confessing that her son is indeed contentious, she seems surprised that an F will actually have some bearing on his academic record. Wait till she finds out he stole a paper. )

I was in a car accident last week and my car was totaled. I have been unable to attend class for the past week because I am a commuter and have had no transportation. I will not be in class on Thursday. I was able to arrange a rental car through my insurance policy but they wanted to verify that the car was not drivable first. I am sorry for not contacting you sooner about this. I also had a family wedding over the weekend in upstate NY (I was a bridesmaid) and the area that we were staying had no internet or cell phone service. I have a copy of the police report for verification but I do not have a scanner to attach it to this email. I still have not received the paperwork from the insurance company. I look forward to being back in class.  (Just to get the facts straight– There was a car accident at the start of the week, no transportation available,  a rented car that for some reason cannot be driven, a family wedding with no internet or phone, an unavailable police report and a lack of paperwork from the insurance company.  Thank goodness at least she was able be a bridesmaid!)

I had other non class things that I had already scheduled prior to making the date for when I presented, and I initially accounted for this plan and scheduled my presentation for a different time, I was not aware of the conflicting dates between when I signed up for the event and when my presentation was moved to this is the same reason why i did not attend class today as I was elsewhere and not around for classes, I was also confused about the class schedule today seeing as I was moved to a day with three presenters and a peer review which leaves no time for one of the four planned tasks I am not really sure what happens in this confusing situation, but I hope this does not negatively affect my grade as a result of just poor communication between you and I, and lack of knowledge of when my event was when I was rescheduled to address this issue before it happened.  (My kingdom for a period,  a question mark, or a exclamation point—anything to prevent this long rant.  Besides being utterly confusing, it is clear that “poor communication” is only the tip of the iceberg.)

I got very sick over the weekend, and stayed up a lot of last night studying for my math exam I had this morning.. And now i can bearly breath and feel so overtired and have a significant headache.  I also have not been able to make it to the dining hall and I feel weak from hunger. (Let me call Meals on Wheels for you.)

I know you hear this all the time, but I will not be in class because I broke up with my boyfriend and this is really hard for me.  He told me he doesn’t love me and this was news to me.  I need to take time to process this and I don’t have any time to do this, so I need to miss class so I can process this.  (So instead of attending class you will be crying and lamenting the loss of your boyfriend via text, Facebook, twitter and phone, or as you say, ‘processing” it.)

I am really sorry I missed class today. I wish I had a good reason, but in all honesty, I take very hard sleeping pills. (At least this student was honest—next time, take soft sleeping pills.)

I fell off my bike and scraped my arm. (Ever heard of something called a Band-Aid?)

Im sorry for missing class. Are we doing anything important today? (No, we never do anything important in class. Why not stay home for the whole semester?)

I woke up earlier today feeling like a freight train crashed into my head last night and an atomic bomb went off in my lungs. I tried to wait it out for a few hours but it is literally getting worse. I am not going to be coming to the library today, but i will still research from my bed. (What tenacity! What commitment  and discipline!  Despite an atomic bomb exploding in his lungs, he chose not to visit a doctor but to continue his research from his bed. This student was so creative, that I verbally thanked him for the high entertainment value of his excuse. )

On Monday morning, when you are trying to think of a good reason to stay in bed and not go to work, or you need to be excused from a meeting, or even if you need to cut class, think of my wonderful students at Rutgers University and use one of their imaginative and resourceful excuses.

19 comments on “My Aunt’s Cat Died”

  1. Loved every one of those!!!! My favorite was the one you responded to … My kingdom for a question mark or a period!!!! Haha!!!

  2. Loved them–my best kid plagiarism was the brother who turned in a ppaer his brother had done for another teacher who had retired. Older brother had copied from Cliff Notes and wasn’t detected–younger brother just handed in his brother’s A paper and was genuinely surprised by the Cliff connection until he called his brother at college and discovered the truth. We laughed together–he took the F without a complaint!

      1. I’m had the crazy mom contacting me too. She used her son’s email in hopes that I would respond and assured me that “she had his permission” for me to discuss his grade with her. When I told/asked him about it the next class he was said “My mom hacked my email?!?!” lol

        My only response was “I cannot discuss your son’s grades with you, he knows the reason for every grade he has received in my class, you should discuss it with him.”

  3. Elisheba this is hysterical! I was little crying on the last one. My best excuse/interaction with my students was by far my first semester as an adjunct at Mercer I had a student who had previously failed the course and was retaking it with me. He missed tons of classes and was either sleeping or seemed high most of the days he was there. We had a group presentation at the end and he missed it (not a huge surprise – his group had prepared to not have him there just in case). The next class he came in and told me he had been arrested for possession of Marijuana and had to spend the night in jail, and was therefore unable to attend class. He then said “That’s an excused absence right? I mean, I was in jail…I wanted to come.” I asked him “Where you wrongfully placed in jail?” He replied “No,” So I said “No, it’s not excused, you probably shouldn’t have had marijuana.” He was obviously frustrated and said “Okay, so what grade did I get on the presentation?” I didn’t even answer him I just looked at him like he was crazy.

  4. OK – please excuse me for responding to this post so late. My life is hard, so I don’t always read blogs when they are posted. 🙂
    I just wonder – what IS “literally” worse than a freight train to the head and an atomic bomb detonating in the lungs?

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