It’s a bit of a different experience calling in sick when you’re in university – at least, mine has been a bit different.
Over the weekend I caught that severe head-cold/borderline flu that’s been making its way through the campus and I’m sure everywhere else. I’d been fighting it off for a while, but Sunday night I realized I was hit and going down.
Monday I was partially voiceless and unable to put a sentence together. It was time to call in sick.
During my time at the community college, when I knew I was going to miss a class, because I don’t like absences on my record, I would always email my instructor and let them know. They seemed to appreciate the effort, and it wouldn’t be reflected on my grade at the end of the quarter. There seems to be no reason I shouldn’t carry on the tradition.
Except it’s a bit different here at Durham University (and other university students elsewhere might find the same).
As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, I take six classes which are referred to as modules. Each module has a lecture once a week. Then each module has a tutorial where we meet in smaller groups of 8-10 people, every two or three weeks, depending on the class. In the lectures, they don’t take attendance. How could they? There’s 200+ of us, and as it is, it takes ten minutes for one class to leave and the next one to file in and shut the hell up. They’re not seen as mandatory, or compulsory (a term that just makes me cringe to use). However, the tutorials are.
I missed Monday and Tuesday, which, this week only meant that I missed one tutorial (thankfully). I tracked down my tutor’s email address, let him know, and got a response from him which read that I needed to let my college know as well as the department of the tutorial know.
So keep in mind, the only internet at my house right now is my phone. I don’t have the luxury of using a computer to do any of this.
In my bleary-eyed, struggling to remember what task I’m working on, brain, I’ve now got to figure out whether I’m to email or call these people, and what phone number or email addresses I need to use.
I couldn’t find anything. I ended up accidentally emailing the head of the philosophy department to ask to be excused instead of the generic secretary, and I called my college, got some kid who didn’t seem like he actually worked there, who took a note and told me to call back in the morning.
The head of the philosophy department was very kind, and directed me to the right email address to inform–another email to write. And the next morning I called the college again to find out if they marked me down or not. They then told me that I actually needed to get ahold of a “self-cert” document, that I could find online.
I could not find it online. And also, I was still sick, to the point where my voice was completely gone.
So then I emailed – I don’t know, I’ve lost track at this point, and I was able to get ahold of an electronic copy.
Oh wait, but it gets more complicated.
My tutor let me know that I could attend another tutorial scheduled later in the week (which I’m doing on Friday) to stay caught up. But I have no idea if that cancels out my absence or if it’s just at this point to make sure that I’m in the game.
Either way, moral of the story, is don’t get sick. Also, read every handbook they send you. It has all the how-tos of everything scribbled down in there.