There is always that panicked, palm-sweating moment when you realize you’ve forgotten a huge assignment. I will be the first to admit that this happens to me far more than normal people. I chalk it up to my extreme procrastination, distractibility, and forgetfulness: a lethal combination of traits when it comes to doing work. Believe me, it’s never intentional, but it always seems to look like it is. Luckily, I think I can save someone else some trouble with my own personal experience with this sort of situation. Unfortunately, this of course happened to me with a partner project within the first few days of returning from Orlando.
The week leading up to the forgetting of a major project was one of the most stressful I had ever had. It was the weekend of Pumpkin Fest, which meant that as a journalist I had to cover the event for more than one of my classes as well as The Equinox, while also trying to enjoy my last Pumpkin Fest.
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Following Pumpkin Fest, I had to write three separate articles for classes or for the paper regarding Pumpkin Fest (and because they were all wrap-ups, I couldn’t start them until the day after), my general weekly contribution to The Equinox, a separate article for another class, complete interviews for articles, as well as a long online exam all before we left at 3:30 a.m. on Tuesday. It was a nearly impossible feat, and I struggled with it immensely. I actually called one of my professors asking if we could hand in our articles on time, while we were in Orlando, instead of a couple of days early while I was still in Keene. I received a small lecture about following deadlines, but ultimately as long as I submitted it to someone in the class to hand in for me, the professor understood.
I thought that between the obscene amount of work I would be doing before I left and the assignment I would be completing in Orlando, I would be all set. I checked Blackboard for erroneous assignments I may have skipped and saw nothing. After I finished all of the work, and checked one last time to make sure I hadn’t missed anything, I decided to use my time in Orlando to relax. I attended conferences and learned a lot, but I didn’t give much more though to what was waiting for me back in Keene. I never would have guessed that the overwhelming amount of work I had completed was not enough.
The point of explaining how much I had going on the week leading up to my little trip is really to explain why I seemed to completely ignore that all-important assignment. I walked into class Tuesday confident that I had done everything I needed to do. Of course imagine my surprise when I see my peers running around printing stuff, knowing that there is something due that I had no idea about. I ask the kid sitting next to me, who happens to be my partner on said class project, what was due and he admits he didn’t go to class while I was gone. My jaw drops to the floor and I can feel my skin start to tingle, as I now realize my partner has been all but useless on this project. The professor, seeing my absolute horror, tells me that the final project was due today. I manage to stammer some sort of response before he says I have until midnight to hand in what I have.
I suppose the moral to my tale would be twofold. First, never, ever trust a partner on a project, no matter how good of friends you are. I had to write the lion’s share of our assignment due to copying and pasting on his part. And he managed to skip class on the one day I wouldn’t be there, therefore missing a reminder that our final paper was due. Instead of staying to help me with the paper after realizing it was due, he left class early. Luckily it took until my senior year to have a partner on a project that completely let me down, but please heed my warnings about taking on a partner if they aren’t necessary.
Second, and arguably most important, if you are aware you are going to be missing class ahead of time, keep your professors in the loop and ask about work that’s due. It doesn’t matter if it’s a funeral, wedding, a conference, school trip, visit home, or even a pre-planned mental health/catch up day; keep your professors on top of things. From my own personal experience, professors appreciate honesty over half-assed excuses.
I spent a few hours after class working on the assignment, not finishing it but coming close before I wrote my professor an honest e-mail, telling him I didn’t think to check the syllabus about the assignments related to the project, and he seemingly blessed me with leniency, though it’s hard to say at this point. If I had just asked for clarification about any assignments I would be missing in my absence, perhaps I would have been reminded of the project’s due date and would not have been forced to look like a fool for not knowing it was due.
Chelsea Mellin can be contacted at