Thursday, December 31, 2009

Graduate student: Missing classes - best friend is ill. Advice please?

I'm just starting my MA, and found out this morning that my best friend is terminally ill with cancer. She found out she had cancer earlier this summer, but doctors just found out that it has spread. I have a ticket booked to go see her in November during reading week, but I don't think she'll live until then.

I went to talk to the graduate coordinator about having some time off classes during the second week of classes, but she said that there is no way that I miss classes. I don't know what to do. How can I tell my friend that I can't come see her because I have class? I mean she's my best friend and I'm so upset now. Do I go anyway? I though about just calling in sick, but I don't want to start the semester out with a lie and I don't think it would work since I already asked for the time off. Any advice would be great!!Graduate student: Missing classes - best friend is ill. Advice please?

One of the things you'll learn is that things happen in life that turn it upside down and change your priorities. You always have to decide, what is most important to you.

Your graduate coordinator is treating you like a child, rather than helping you to mature as an independent adult. In graduate school, you're expected to work independently, because you're motivated to be there. Your graduate coordinator should be supporting toward that independence.

You should talk with your individual teachers to find ways to achieve each course's goals on your own, while you're away. If that's not possible, then you have to make an adult choice.

Will you visit your best friend before she dies and support her as she struggles with her mortality? Or will you choose to finish your class and let her slip away?

Your friend will be in your life just once; you can always retake the class.

Personally, if I couldn't work out an arrangement with the instructor, I'd drop the class and see my friend.

Ultimately, we study to learn to live our live productively and compassionately. If there's no room for showing compassion to our friend, then what are our studies really for?

If you decide to stay and finish the term, you may need to be prepared to live with regret. If you go and visit your friend, please ask for another graduate coordinator when you come back.Graduate student: Missing classes - best friend is ill. Advice please?
I would talk to your professors individually and say it is imperative that you see your friend that has cancer. Just tell them up front that there is a good chance she wont live until the time you were supposed to visit her. Education is important but this is your best friend, and the University should be willing to make special arrangements with you. Good Luck

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