Absentee Student Surprised by Low Grades


Billy Buck thought everything was going well in his classes at Delta State until he was surprised with a paper due date which urged him to check Canvas to find that he had a D in all his classes. He came to me with his story to fight against what he felt was an unjust situation.

Billy said, “I was sure my grades were good, even though I hadn’t looked at Canvas since the second week of school. With only two weeks left of the semester, all that I had left to do is sit back and relax. I was so ready to relax that when I missed my 10:00 class for the second time that week, I didn’t stress about it.”

I agreed with Billy. Everyone knows that the last weeks of school are when the stress simply melts away. Finals are nothing to worry about. I did have to ask how Billy learned about his surprise paper, though.

“I learned about it from another student. A classmate–who I swore for three semesters was named Suzy, but is actually Erin–asked me if I was almost finished since we had to turn it in at the end of the day. As I didn’t know about any paper, I assumed it was something small and decided to ask the professor for an extension.”

I asked Billy if he received his extension and was very shocked to hear him say “no.”

Billy agreed to share his emails from his professor in order to prove to everyone how preposterous it was for the professor to turn him down:

Dear Professor,

I was hoping you could give me a little more time on for the paper that is due tonight. I didn’t know we had a paper and was surprised by the due date. I’m sure I can get it to you by next Monday.


Billy Buck from American Lit         


Dear Billy,

We’ve talked about this paper every day in class for the past three weeks. The guidelines for it have also been on Canvas for over a month. The paper is supposed to be at least 2500 words with accredited sources. I can’t give you an extension because even with it there is no way that you can get those sources and the word count in so little time and it be a reflection of good work.




Billy said that this response motivated him to get on Canvas. He was surprised to see that he had D’s in all of his classes. “How did that happen? I’ve barely been in class to get such bad grades. There must be something wrong with the professors.”

I agreed with Billy that there was no way that their grade is that low because everyone knows that a student has to actually attend class to receive their grades, low or otherwise.

Billy said he decided to look at the guidelines for the paper due today after all; he was sure it was not as big of a deal as the professor claimed–”he was only saying that to make me take it seriously.”

Billy told me that after looking over the guidelines, “The module said that the paper was worth 35 percent of my grade but I think it was just a scare tactic. It said the module had been open for, like, two months, but I doubt it.”

After finishing his look through the guidelines, Billy decided to send one last email to his professor, which he again shared with me.

Dear Professor,

Can you give me an extra credit assignment? I didn’t realize my grade was this low and could use something to boost it up to a B.


Billy Buck             



No. I don’t give extra credit, I said so on the first day of class. No exceptions.




“I can’t believe he thought anyone actually listened on the first day of class!”

This insane assumption along with the injustice he felt was what made Billy outraged enough to come to me to tell his story.