When you’re nowhere close to completing an assignment or you’re late for class because you overslept, you’re probably racking your brains for a legitimate excuse to get out of trouble.
However, you should know that your lecturers have heard it all when it comes to excuses students give, from missing classes to requesting extensions for deadlines.
Here are some popular excuses your lecturers are tired of hearing and better alternatives if they’re really true.
#1. The classic “it’s not me, it’s the traffic”
“Sorry I’m late, I was stuck in a traffic jam!”
The classic excuse for every Malaysian — rush hour traffic, especially in the morning, when really, you’ve slept through your alarm because you stayed up too late.
While your chill lecturer may not seem to mind your tardiness, a strict one won’t be too cool about it. They’re foaming at the mouth nagging you to leave earlier to avoid rush hour — otherwise, don’t bother coming to class at all. Your lecturers weren’t born yesterday and they’ve definitely heard this excuse way too often.
What to do if it’s true? Try this: “Sorry I’m late, traffic was unexpectedly bad today. I’ll make sure to leave earlier tomorrow so I don’t get stuck in it again.”
#2. The old “Turnitin crashed”
Looking for a deadline extension or a chance to resubmit your assignment?
This excuse, along with “Not sure why my email attachment didn’t go through” and “I had problems uploading my assignment on the website” are timeless tech issue excuses. It works even better if a few of your classmates report the exact same “problem”.
This definitely will get you an eye roll but alas, an extended submission date you receive.
What to do if it’s true? Provide screenshots with timestamps as evidence that the website crashed or there was a failure in sending through your email. You can also upload your assignment to Google Drive and share the link with your lecturer.
#3. The one where your laptop froze
Ah yes, the one where everything stopped working.
It’s fine if you’re done with your assignment and all that is left is submission, but not when you’re halfway through a 3,000 word essay and the horrifying blue screen of death comes on.
While some of these cases have proven to be true, they seem to happen over and over again, sometimes even to the same few students! And it’s usually followed by, “I lost all my work. Can I get an extension?”
What to do if it’s true? Use Google Docs instead as it will autosave your work. Otherwise, take a photo of your laptop and send it to your lecturer as evidence.
#4. The one where you blame the internet
“I couldn’t log in to Zoom because my internet was too slow.”
“The Zoom app was updating and it took a long time.”
You bet your lecturers have heard this all too often when it comes to online learning and Zoom meetings. When in reality, you overslept and missed the class or simply didn’t feel like attending.
While these are valid problems with online learning, your lecturers are probably not going to be so forgiving if it keeps happening to you repeatedly.
What to do if it’s true? Use your phone’s hotspot if your WiFi is down and close all unnecessary applications and browser tabs. When you’re logged on, turn off your webcam video and mute your microphone when you’re not speaking.
#5. The one where “there was a miscommunication”
College can get pretty stressful when assignments start piling up and you’re feeling like you’re running out of time to get it all done. Rightfully, you prioritise the important subjects and leave the easy MPU ones for later… until you forget to submit your assignment.
The quickest way to salvage your situation is to come up with an excuse where you thought the assignment was due next week and you didn’t realise it until that morning. Newsflash, your lecturer knows you didn’t do it! Even worse when they have repeated the deadline plenty of times in class and have put up submission dates on the learning management system.
What to do if it’s true? The best you can do is to get in touch with your lecturer as soon as you realise it. Your grades may suffer but you can try to explain the situation to your lecturer and hope they offer some leeway.
#6. The one where you blame your freeloading groupmate
Group assignments are stressful, but they’re part and parcel of college life. However, when it comes to group work, freeloading groupmates can throw everyone’s work off track.
So, when you confront your lecturer 3 days before submission and say “one of my classmates didn’t pull through”, you can almost feel the contempt from your lecturer. On the plus side, some lecturers will understand your struggle and you might get an extension, but unfortunately, you’ll still lose points for teamwork.
What to do if it’s true? Show a paper trail evidence to your lecturer that you’ve been pulling your weight. This includes meeting minutes, screenshot of email or WhatsaApp conversations you have with your group mates and completed drafts you’re assigned to. Chances are your lecturer will want to help you out if they know you genuinely tried to be a good team member.
#7. The timeless “there was a death in the family”
This is the most common reason for extension requests. Somehow every lecturer is bamboozled that there seems to be a spike in deaths of cousins and distant relatives whenever assessments are due.
Best believe that your lecturers don’t want to offend you by refusing to accept your sob story. Do they really want to be that lecturer who asks for proof of death?
What to do if it’s true? Provide any evidence you can such as a death certificate or an obituary posting from the newspaper to show that you’re not pulling the wool over their eyes.
As you can see, your lecturers have wised up on your antics and there’s nothing new they haven’t heard. Either you get creative with your assignment and submission dodging or you can practise full honesty with your lectures on why you’re behind on your classes. Know that your lecturers will understand and they would appreciate it even more.