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Zoe Patrick


Excuses Better than 'My Dog Ate My Homework'

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5 months ago
5 months ago
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As students we’ve all put on our thinking caps to cook up a ‘plausible alibi’ explaining our whereabouts when we’ve missed classes and deadlines. A student’s excuse ranges from the generic to the elaborate, and from the unbelievable to the TMI (too much information).

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Traffic is the most worn out explanation of all time for being late. It has been used so often that teachers have a counter strike – ‘If you knew there was traffic, why didn’t you leave earlier?’

The hour after lunch break is usually the most annoying for teachers as we students saunter into class, excuses at the ready. The excuses begin with “there was a long wait at the canteen” or “my friend made me wait in the crowded toilet”. But lucky you if “prefect duty” was your excuse for anything and everything. Your freedom was probably unrestricted throughout the school and college premises.

We get extra creative when it comes to submitting assignments way past those nightmare deadlines. It often involves us killing a family member or a pet to make the story sound worthy of sympathy and more likely to be excused. Somehow, it’s always our grandparents that we send to the grave and bring back to life whenever necessary; it’s always that the funeral for the neighbour’s dog was of more importance than that Monday deadline.

Only a handful of students dare to use bizarre, far-fetched excuses that will probably get them into more trouble rather than save them. An unbelievable (but true) excuse a professor of mine recalls from his college days was of his batch-mate who came late to class saying, “I got married”.

Sickness is often used as a get-out-of-doing-work free card. Our acting skills are put to the test whenever there’s a class quiz or P.T. class. A teacher, remembering his childhood said, “I found out that I could get out of P.T. if I pretended to have stomach cramps.” All he had to do was pretend to double-up and groan in “pain” to avoid any form of exercise. But the ruse didn’t last long as he was found out by his principal. The headmaster inquired as to why he was there and who his P.T master was. As he was slightly naïve as a child he replied by saying that his P.T master was called “Hitler”, a nickname he later found out to be given to the PT master for his tyrannical aura.

This reminded me of my own excuse for getting out of P.T. class. I simply had to say “Sir, girl disease” or “It’s my special days” to my teacher who was too embarrassed to get into details and would say that it was okay to sit this one out. But the same didn’t work for my younger sister whose female PT teacher would respond with a “nothing doing, go” or “what nonsense” to any lame excuse much like mine.

Speaking of gory details, “I had diarrhoea” is a classic example to avoid any further questioning. Out of pity and perhaps personal experience does your teacher extend your deadline to a few days later.

Every student’s desperate attempt to save their own bottoms is something most of our professors are well aware of, because they probably used the same ones in their youth.  They’re catching onto our shenanigans. So, maybe we should come up with excuses that go beyond irritable bowels. 

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