The best worst excuses for missing class, as told by GS professors

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  • Some excuses for missing class are stranger than others.

Christa Feazell

We’ve all done it. Everyone has skipped class once or twice or five times. Sometimes students just need a day off. Sometimes genuine emergencies or illness strike.

But not all excuses are made equal. Some reasons for missing class are weirder, funnier and wilder than the usual “I wasn’t feeling well.” We contacted professors to ask what outrageous excuses they’ve heard from their students.

The morning struggle

Melissa Gayan, lecturer in the history department, described a student who failed two exams by midterms. When the student came to her, Gayan checked her attendance.

“The student missed more than half the classes,” Gayan said. “My first response was asking her why she didn’t feel compelled to come to class… She looks me in the eye and says, ‘But it’s so early in the morning.’”

The class was at 10:10 a.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

There was a firefight

One of the more unusual stories we found came from Marc Cyr, an English associate professor, whose student missed class to speak with the police regarding a shootout he participated in at his apartment building.

The student spotted someone messing with a neighbor’s motorcycle and got into a shouting match with them from his front porch, according to Cyr. The other person began climbing the stairs with a gun in hand.

“So my student grabbed his shotgun and blew a good-sized chunk out of a stair,” Cyr said. “… They exchanged fire for a while…the emotional toll of it all might have contributed to his needing a rest. He told me he felt like taking off the last week of class to go to the Bahamas, and he did.”

A different sort of side-hustle

Joe Pellegrino, a literature and Irish studies associate professor, never saw one of his students again after receiving a notification from the student’s lawyer. His student had been arrested on drug trafficking charges. He assured Pellegrino that he was perfectly innocent.

However, the story hit the papers a few weeks later. Pellegrino said, “The photos of the 20 kilos of cocaine and cache of small arms – along with a rocket-propelled grenade launcher – that were taken from his apartment assured that he was convicted and sentenced.”

Pellegrino never saw the student again.

So next time you feel guilty for missing class to take an extra nap, just reassure yourself that it’s not the worst reason your professors have heard.

Cyr said it best, “You have to at least give the students credit for honesty. Not academic credit, mind you. Just credit.”