In a semester like no other, the University chose to exacerbate academic stress. Against student outcry, the University clipped Spring Break short and removed the weekend between the end of classes and reading period’s official start date.
Recognizing students’ pleas for a weeklong Spring Break, Dean of the College Jill Dolan told faculty in January that students “would appreciate it if, when possible, you adjust your course workload accordingly and avoid setting assignment due dates right after the abbreviated break.” At a town hall this month, she acknowledged that some disregarded her advice.
We’ve seen this play out time and time again. Despite clear recognition of student breakdown, exemplified by an all-time high in clinical appointments with Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS), the administration has only given out passive suggestions to faculty. Departments could choose whether to count pass/D/fail courses as prerequisites and departmentals or to push independent work deadlines back — if they wanted. And individual professors could choose to alter expectations for final assignments — if they wanted.
Some might. Don’t count on it.
Emailing a professor or a dean to ask for an extension, for help, or for your stress to be addressed can be hard. You might think others have it worse than you. You might think someone else needs the extension more. You might be worried your professor or dean will think less of you. You might think people only ask for accommodations when there is no other way for them to succeed.
If you are looking somewhere for permission or a sign, this is it. Ask for the damn extension. Take up space. There is not a limited number of extensions. You are not taking an appointment from someone else by demanding a spot for yourself. If an opportunity to make these next few weeks less miserable for you arises, take it. And don’t you dare apologize for it.
If a professor shoots you down or an administrator says they cannot squeeze in a meeting when you need it, email again. Follow up. Ask for a Zoom call. Your health matters, and your health is more important than any minor inconvenience you could cause by advocating for yourself.
You are not burdening faculty members and administrators by saying you need help. This is their job. They are supposed to help you.
And furthermore, to any faculty members, administrators, and other people in positions of power reading this: offer help before you are asked. Send the Canvas announcement saying the p-set deadline is extended. Offer up a WASE calendar with added office hours. Slice the word count of the final paper. Message your residential college students that you can help them get a Dean’s Date extension. Follow up with the student who expressed they were having a hard time earlier this semester.
Students should not have to beg for their health to be addressed when the people in charge are already aware of the problem.
If there is any time for students to ask for help, it is now. And if there is any time to accommodate student requests, it is also now.
145th Editorial Board
Mollika Jai Singh ’24
Shannon Chaffers ’22
Won-Jae Chang ’24
Kristal Grant ’24
Harsimran Makkad ’22
Anna McGee ’22
Collin Riggins ’24
Zachary Shevin ’22