When Life Hits the Fan: Staying On Track When Things Take A Turn
Maintaining your life at school when life gets in the way.
By Kyiara Griffin
March 20, 2012
When these or any other emergency situations are addressed and stabilized, then try to contact your job, your professors, and your family. (For ways to contact professors, review any syllabi provided. Many larger colleges and universities also have the information available through their website.) Explain the situation, and ask what kind of documentation will need to be provided. Set a date and time to submit missed assignments and deadlines, and, when the next reasonable opportunity arrives, meet the professors to catch up.
If You are Facing an Extended Hospitalization, Prepare Ahead of Time.
If you are an individual admitted into the hospital, let your work supervisor and professors know how long it will be before you are released. Ask professors if you can have someone pick up missed assignments from an office and submit work the same way (if email or a school website is not an option).
If you will miss a substantial amount of classes (most colleges require students to attend a certain percentage of classes), then ask the professor about your course options. You may be allowed to take an online version of the course (so you can still be in class) or to finish the class at a later time. Keep professors updated on any changes to the hospital stay, and remember to bring documentation back to each class.
If you are provided extended care for someone else and the care is a top priority, then speak to professors about any potential conflicts with the course schedule. Ask if it will still be okay to take the class with those possible restrictions. If not, drop the class and find another course option that is more suitable.
Online courses are viable options, but be prepared for potentially less flexible deadlines. (Some colleges have distance correspondence options, so ask your advisor about them.) If it is okay to continue the class, keep the affected professors updated about any significant events related to the care that will impact attendance, even it will result in slight truancy. Provide documentation as necessary.
If the care of another individual creates a greater time priority than can be dedicated to class and no other course option will work at that time, then drop the class. There is no shame in knowing your limits, and it’s best for your college investment to take classes when you can gain something from them. Otherwise, you are wasting hundreds to thousands of dollars to juggle conflicting priorities.
College is an amazing opportunity to improve your life, but attending college does not remove the other events that come at you. When Life arrives, address the challenges as they come. Although your priorities may have to be adjusted once again, your college plans do not have to be deferred. Life happens, but it does not have to blindside you.
To learn more about the ways Life can affect the people you care about and what you can do about it, visit the World Health Organization’s website.