A Finals Dilemma

Despite my careful efforts this semester to craft the perfect schedule, the roster of classes I ended up enrolling in this spring resulted in me being scheduled to take three finals on one day. I thought it wouldn’t be a big deal, as I heard that most professors are sympathetic to your plight and generally try to make arrangements for you if you notify them well in advance. With that in mind, I enrolled in my classes, making sure to email all my professors on the first day of class that I was in this conundrum.

The first email response arrived promptly. “Taking three finals in one day is actually quite common. Just be sure to prepare well and you’ll be fine.”

The second email response came in. “Since this is such a huge class, I can’t make alternate arrangements for students that don’t have absolutely unavoidable conflicts.”

By this time, I was feeling slightly panicked. Where was the sympathy? Were these people soulless drones that didn’t have hearts? At the rate that their replies came in, it seemed like this was pretty much an automatic rejection, with no consideration for my situation.

The third response, from one of my TAs, filed in a bit later. “I’ll see what I can do.”

I hardly allowed myself to hope for too much, seeing as how my other two professors were so reluctant to do anything. After a few rounds of email tag, I finally received a response this morning from the first professor. Apparently, my CS professor had contacted my Stats professor to suggest a solution of having me take another section’s final (in another time slot) instead so I wouldn’t have to take three finals in one day. The department head was also CC’ed on the email.

While I’m not sure if I’m going to accept the offer yet, I am honestly so touched by the sheer amount of effort that my professor and TA went to try and come up with a solution that would work for everybody. It probably would have been so easy for them to just outright reject my request like my other professors and simply tell me to just suck it up, but rather, they came up with a proposal and contacted the necessary people to make it happen. I’m not sure how much coordination really went on behind-the-scenes to get this organized, but I am so appreciative of the work that they did to just offer me this option. This experience has definitely restored my faith in the humanity of (certain) professors; this also is one of the reasons why I really like the CS department. In some ways, this department has most embodied the sense of community, more so than any other department I’ve ever encountered in my time here. I’m not sure if it’s just the sheer rigor of the curriculum, or the nature of the students that are drawn to this field of study that facilitates this particular setting, but whatever it is, CS has got it in spades.


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