Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Dear Student with Mono

I'm sorry to hear that you're not feeling well and that you want us to waive the attendance policy. I understand that if you had known that you were going to get mono that you wouldn't have skipped those classes earlier in the semester, but you can't unring the bell. (I could also spout clich├ęs about hindsight being 20/20 and Monday-morning quarterbacking.)

In response to the possibly rhetorical question in your email, I have had mono. I got it in November 1994, near the end of my last term in college. Really, once I got the steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and was able to drink fluids again, I was pretty much OK as long as I took it easy. Probably helps that I hadn't been partying and over-extending myself for the prior few weeks (like it looks like you'd been doing by the photos on your Facebook account). So I didn't miss any classes because of mono. I did, however, get special accomodations that I asked for. I got some deadlines extended. Here's what I did: In advance of the deadlines that I wanted extended I made an appointment to see the Dean of Special Circumstances. (Yes, I worked on this before the work was due, so if I didn't get the extention I could still try to get stuff done on time.) I didn't take a shower before going to the 9am appointment, so I looked like hell. I also had Student Health send over a copy of my records before my appointment with the dean. The Dean of Special Circumstances took pity on me and contacted my professors asking them to grant me extensions. And they did.

So when graduate schools asked for a copy of my final term grades, it said "Not reported, Incomplete, Incomplete." But since by then I won an outside fellowship with full funding for six years, they didn't seem to mind that much.