In an eight week course, even the best students may not play an ace every time. A jack might slip in there, hopefully not a ten—or lower. It can happen though. Instructors get their hopes up, and then comes the disconcerting performance. An eight week course is double-time pace, and life brings its inevitable drama, hopefully not overly chronicled on Facebook.
A student might normally be attentive to detail, only to have fatigue from outside the classroom lead to work reflecting carelessness. It is a normal temptation. The forethought to ask for an extension or for extra help is better than thinking, “My situation is so stressful that I do not have time to ask.” That is true with life flights and ambulances, but most of the time, life stresses make room for communication opportunities.
Most of us have experienced the person famous for letting others know about being busy. Busyness has become an identity, a badge like “Sherriff” or “VIP,” except that the busy-badge usually edifies only the wearer.
Even the best students get tired though, just plain worn down, and it can be embarrassing to say, “I’m tired. May I have an extension?” Perhaps images of a hard-nosed instructor come to mind—one who talks about the good old days, and sucking it up, and toiling all night. Instructors have likely had their times of needing an extension too. “We’re all in the same boat,” my mother-in-law often said.
As a grad student, I did bridge repaving work two summers in the 1970s. Before being repaved, a bridge had to have weak concrete jackhammered up before all was sandblasted to prep for the pour. The best hours were early in the morning before the heat set in. One night, after a late pour, we asked our ornery old foreman, “Can we come in tomorrow morning at 7:00 instead of 6:00?” He replied tartly, “Boy, I’ve worked many a night all night until 4:00 or 5:00 AM, slept an hour, and then been back to work by 6:00. You can’t make a living lying in bed.”
We looked at his hands once again. He was missing all or part of five of the ten digits on his hands. We could only wonder if a little more rest might have done him some good