Written by Michelle Curry
Sometimes life doesn’t go to plan. Things can happen such as illness, covid, and family emergencies.
The most important lesson I have learned in life is to always be upfront and honest if you are struggling.
Email your lecturer/course coordinator
In all email communication, the subject should include your subject code, student name, and number.
Remember that like all of us, lecturers get many emails a day, and some teach multiple classes, so this makes it easier to identify.
Be honest about how you need extra time or want to chat before/after class. There have been many lecturers who have set up a private Zoom links and we have talked on another day outside of class and this has been beneficial.
Applying for special consideration
If you experience misadventure or extenuating circumstances and require a longer extension for an assessment you need to submit a request for Special Consideration. Follow the directions located in your subject outline located in Interact 2.
These requests are sent to your subject coordinator for their consideration, and approval/rejection.
7-day Automatic Extension
Now a game changer had appeared for session one this year, to reduce the number of emails lecturers receive and for automatic clarification. Each session you can apply for one automatic 7-day extension request, no reason required.
Some key advice from one of my lecturers this session was don’t use this “get out of jail free card” on smaller assignments, or early on in the session unless you are desperate. Use it the first time and next request you will need to provide documentation.
Now I’m in my 3rd year of full-time studies, I have had a variety of subject coordinators who for extension requests the length and documentation required differed greatly.
In the past I have had subject coordinators who to have an extension student have had to provide doctor’s certificates and email draft copies of where the student is up to. We have also been told a flat-out no (unless in extreme circumstances).
Keep working while you have your request in place. Something written down is better than nothing and you are one step closer to finishing. Even if it’s just dot points.
With many assessments due the last week of sessions, often extension requests can be difficult without documentation.
My advice is to get a start on those assignments early. If you happen to miss an exam or become ill during the exam period contact your subject coordinator ASAP and ensure you have documentation. Misreading the timetable is not an acceptable excuse for special consideration.
My experiences with special consideration
I finally caught Covid the week of Christmas last year and was transported to our local hospital via ambulance.
Although I had already notified my subject coordinator the first day, I tested positive with a medical certificate (from my doctor). I sent her an email advising I was now in hospital and attached copies of the hospital PCR and certificates as all I had with me was my mobile phone.
I kept her up to date each day and was allowed for an extended special consideration request to be given without having to complete the formal request.
If you happen to get covid and become unwell, phone your doctor, and get a medical certificate (these can be emailed without attending in person). I also know some people have sent screenshots of their PCR test results as evidence.
When your request is declined
Now I hope that by being honest, upfront, and supplying all the relevant documentation your request will be approved however sometimes this can be declined.
Having experienced this last year, I can express how deeply upsetting this was, especially when I poured my heart out and explained my reasons why.
My best advice is to reach out to your course coordinator for advice and help.
Depending on the feedback as to why your request was denied we have these support services available:
If your request is before the census date you may decide that it’s best to drop or change subjects. Reducing your load or changing subjects may be a better fit and there are many different pathways to obtain your degree.
I am currently a 3rd year student but I am completing subjects from my 2,3 and 4th year timetable.
During session one last year, I spent a lot of time working with the counselling team and other support staff on my exam anxiety (Which I wrote about here in Charlie) and finished with a Dean’s award that session!!
In every subject, I use all the support services available from the library staff, the academic skills team, or in-built tutors.
I have learned to advocate for myself, and if you don’t feel comfortable asking in class or via Zoom if you’re an online student, send an email.
You are at university to learn and so many people want you to succeed. But you also have to put in the hard work and ask for help.