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Chuuya Offline
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I've really missed the ball on this. - February 23rd 2017, 01:39 AM

I'm currently taking this course, Writing Fiction, which I'm taking from an instructor who I had last semester. We'll call him Dr. S. I really don't like him all that much, but he pushes me and I learn a great deal from his courses. I really like this course right now though. I began doing really well in participation and on his assignments - whereas last semester I did pretty poorly on everything to be honest.

Recently though, I had my phone out in class and he called me out on it.

I got incredibly embarrassed and guilty as I should have been giving him my full attention, and the rest of my classmates. It was unprofessional and immature of me, and I still feel really bad about it. He emailed me after class and said that he was sure it wouldn't be an ongoing problem, but that he would have to count me absent for that class period. Which is stated in his syllabus so it's not unfair. I'm not mad at him at all, but I guess I just feel bad about it and now I just feel bad about going to class tomorrow and all that.

I also recently got back two grades, one a smaller assignment which I got 3 out of 10 on. I was shocked to say the least. I get where I got the grade now that I look at it. After that I got back another grade on a bigger assignment. A 75 out of 100 and I mean while that isn't bad, the comments were like "You didn't do blah blah blah this and blah blah that."

So I feel like I really missed the ball on this. My depression has been really bad the past two weeks, which kind of explains it, and while I would like to go in and talk to him about these grades, I accept them and I know that the responsibility falls on me and not him, but he did say in the comments on one of them to meet with him to discuss the assignment and I guess I just don't know what to say. I don't want to lie, but I feel like saying, "I was having a rough week with my depression." sounds like an excuse.

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Re: I've really missed the ball on this. - February 23rd 2017, 04:19 AM

Hi, Lauren!

First off, it shows character the way you are taking responsibility for your actions, and aren't holding Dr. S's response against him. You are obviously very mature. On the topic of having your phone out, it likely isn't the best course of action since it's important to pay attention but I think all of us are guilty of distracting ourselves during school. When I've been studying, I've ended up on my tablet somehow! You don't have to do perfect and pay attention 100% during every single class, nor are you expected to always get perfect grades. That's a lot of pressure and it's important to take care of yourself while doing your best in school, and being kind to yourself even if you don't get a good grade. I know that is easier said than done though.

A 75 out of 100 is fantastic and I'm proud of you for that. And it was a big assignment too! Despite any negative comments that were on it, you did well especially considering you've been struggling with your depression even more so lately. It is good when your teachers give a critique because it makes you aware of what to do better in the future, but it is important for you to remind yourself of your accomplishments and positive notes when your teachers forget to do so. I imagine you work really hard and you do well.

My view is that an excuse is when you bring up something that doesn't affect you, but you try to convince the person whom is calling you out that it is the reason why you didn't do well. However, your depression truly does affect you and it can impact a person's ability to focus and do well in school. Therefore, it's a valid reason why you are having difficulties in school. Anyone who is willing to take a moment to take into consideration the affect depression can have on a person likely will not come to the conclusion you are making up an excuse, especially since your grades have been great before these past couple of weeks. The fluctuations in your grades show that you are having your good days and bad days, and those affect your grades.

Since your depression is truly affecting you in school, my advice is to see what he has to say, and then tell Dr. S the truth. Hopefully it will help him understand better. Plus, it's a very valid reason and a lot of students find their grades falling due to their struggles with depression. You aren't alone in that regard.

You mentioned your depression has been worse these past couple of weeks, so I hope you begin feeling better soon, Lauren. Keep us updated on this! I'd definitely like to know how it goes when you speak with him about your assignment. Take care and keep holding on. You know where I am if you need anything.
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Re: I've really missed the ball on this. - February 23rd 2017, 04:21 AM

Hi Lauren,

I'm sorry that you're struggling a lot at the moment. You know where to find me if you ever need to talk.

When you talk to your professor I do recommend being 100% honest with him. Explain to him that you were having issues with your depression and you weren't able to fully focus like you usually do. Most teachers are a lot more understanding then a lot of people realize. When I was struggling in college I was able to redo an assignment because of my untreated bipolar.

I know you were talking about going to see a nurse on campus to see if you can get your meds changed. Did you do anymore thinking about that?

The grade that you got back (75/100) is not bad at all, especially with the way your mental health has been. Please, do not take this out on yourself. You have enough going on as it is.

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Smile Re: I've really missed the ball on this. - February 23rd 2017, 04:33 AM

Hey, I know this can be hard. I've had the same expierenced this, perhaps maybe telling the professor that you have depression might help. Then, he wouldn't think you are using it as an excuse. And, maybe he will just learn to like you more. Hope everything gets better!
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Re: I've really missed the ball on this. - February 23rd 2017, 05:38 AM

This is just my two cents, do what you will with it. When it comes to "personal responsibility" I think it's a balance, not an either or of you take it for everything or nothing that happens to you. Now, most of society disagrees with me on this, so I'm guessing your professor probably would too.

Everybody makes mistakes, he knows that. While I personally think his policies are a bit harsh, I can understand them. I think you can cut yourself some slack here. You did it, you know it was wrong, you got the consequences for it, and it's over. Hopefully, he won't hold it against you if you go in to see him. Even if he does, you can let it go, as long as you don't do it again. I guarantee you aren't the only one, otherwise there wouldn't be a policy on it.

He might think mentioning your depression means using it as an excuse, there's really no arguing or defending yourself with someone if that's the way he thinks. I say wait until you can face him without feeling defensive or shame about it, and if you mention your depression, mention that you're also taking appropriate steps to manage it. How much detail you go into about your personal health or mental health is completely up to you. If you bring it up and he considers that explanation an "excuse" or "unacceptable", don't bother telling him again. That doesn't mean he's right or wrong, but you won't change his opinion on it.

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