Friday, September 9, 2011

Friday Five: Best Excuses for Late/Missing Work and Absences

Aside from the usual dead grandmother, crashing computer, and hungry dog situations, some of my students have been incredibly creative with their excuses for absences and not turning in work on time or at all. In the spirit of  wrapping up the Summer Quarter (the college I teach at operates on a quarter system, rather than semesters), here are the best I've heard during the past three years, and yes, these are absolutely true (in the sense that students actually used them). For the ease of my dear readership, I have translated these emails/conversations into proper English

1. .mys files: Professor, I wrote my entire paper and saved it on my flash drive, but when I went to open it at school, my computer saved it in some sort of mystery format, so I can't open it.

Ah yes. The .mys file. Amazing how Word will just change your file formats willy-nilly. And there's no program on earth that can possibly open it. Must be a Microsoft conspiracy. Against college students. During finals week.

2. Priorities, priorities: Professor, I can't come to class because my cousin is graduating and my aunt is having a party.

This student had already used the "death in the family," "car accident," and  "incredibly ill/emergency room" excuses. What's even better about this one, though, is that the class was a wednesday/friday class, and met from 9:50 to 11:35. IN THE MORNING. I don't know about you, but my family is also all about the quick, mid-day celebrations. Friday evenings? Saturday afternoons? No way, man. An hour and a half on a weekday is good enough for your milestone.

3. Overwhelming Pressure: Professor, I worked so hard on this paper, that I just completely forgot to submit it. 

I understand. Sometimes, when you work so incredibly hard on something, it's easy to forget that the end goal is to present it, submit it, or put it to use.
Incidentally, I compared the version that was emailed to me (the incredibly crafted one) to its previous draft. Shockingly... no changes. This is also the same student who felt I was so unfair in not accepting this submission (thus causing him to fail the course) that he sent a file to my department chair labeled GRAPE APPEAL. He must've worked very hard on that one, too.

4. WARNING: DISASTER AREA: Professor, I was working on my paper, when my cat jumped on my desk and spilled a glass of water all over my computer. It was smoking and literally almost caught fire from shorting out and I lost everything. 

Kid, you watch too much TV.

I'm not saying it isn't possible that she spilled water on her computer. We've all done that. But the whole sparking, sizzling, smoking disaster she tried to convey is highly unlikely. I even tried to find videos of this type of thing on YouTube. I found a video of a guy dousing his laptop with a garden hose while it was on. All it did was shut down. This could've been a plausible story if she left the theatrics out. And the cat.

5. Wrong place, right time: Professor, I am sorry I was not in class yesterday. I even got to school early and sat down in the classroom. But nobody came, so I thought class was canceled, and I left. It turns out I was in the classroom for my criminal justice class. 

If this was the first week, that's one thing. This was mid-way through the quarter. That's like going to work and sitting down at someone else's desk and not knowing it. Additionally, class cancellations are posted on the door and online. Sadly though, I could actually see this being true.

I'd love to hear some of the best excuses you've heard, whether from employees, co-workers, your kids, etc. Drop your feedback in the comments field. Happy Friday!


  1. A Zombie bit my dog and turned it into a Zombie Dog. And you do know that Zombie Dogs love to eat reports. So had to try and protect my report from my Zombie Dog. In doing that I accidentally spillt milk on it, which I found out that Zombie Dogs hate milk. So I was so happy that I saved my report and I left it on the counter. When I came back to get it I found my cat licking up the milk from my report. I didn't realize until after I got to school that my cat also licked the words off the page. So I went back home to cry. And incase you were wondering I had to put down my Zombie Dog Fluffy. Which is why I also missed all of last weeks classes.

  2. I don't even have a good response for this. But I'm baffled that these are actual excuses. No points for creativity for the cat-fried-my-laptop?

  3. Nah... It's far too cliche. But yes... welcome to my part-time reality. LOL.

  4. those are some good excuses i think im going to use some of them if i get a chance to.

  5. Great excuses! I once (honestly) had my final exam essay in my backpack, took the final exam test, thought to myself, "I should proofread the paper one more time."

    I left class, never proofread the paper, found it in my backpack several days later. The prof accepted it, but I'll bet she rolled her eyes at me.

    1. Yeah but I bet you were a good student. I would accept that sort of thing from a student who normally did great work. But these excuses tend to come from students who have used up all their other usual excuses for all the other work they didn't do. If they normally did good work, I might actually believe one or two of these!

  6. My hubby is a college prof and he can tell you very similar stories. The best one was when a girl finished her project, but locked it in her roomate's car with the car keys and she couldn't figure how to get it out for two days. TWO DAYS. Sheesh...

  7. LOL, yeah, that means she hadn't done it yet and needed those two days to complete it.

    It makes me laugh when they underestimate us.

  8. I think I need a Grape Appeal too. Or maybe I should just peal a grape.