Sometime or other, every college student is likely to have a personal emergency that could impact their attendance or performance in classes. Typical examples include:
- Death of a member of the family or close friend
- A health issue requiring hospitalization
- An injury restricting mobility or the ability to do academic work
Most universities have policies that support students through these tough times. Here’s what you should do when you are confronted with an emergency:
- Notify each of your teachers. Describe the emergency and ask for help. In most cases, your teachers will not count you absent. You may be given extra time on assignments. Whether you can make up a scheduled test is more problematic. Some faculty are very strict about missing tests.
- Inform your advisor or the campus student services office. In some cases, notes can be sent to your teachers to let them know of the situation. While this may be redundant with step (1) above, such notice generally is more accepted than your own notification.
- Identify a classmate in each course to get notes and assignments from. While faculty will generally be sympathetic to your emergency, they expect you to get caught up with the work.
- Develop a specific plan to get caught up. Put your plan on paper and share it with your teachers. This plan will help you stay focused, but it will also make it more likely that your teachers will support you.
- If you struggle with the emotional aftermath of the emergency, seek out help. Most campuses have grief counselors or others who can help you adjust.
The key to all of this is not to let one emergency lead to another: your failure in college..