"HI!! I AM S___ L___ FROM YOUR ANTHRO CLASS [date/time] PERIOD. I AM EMAILING YOU FROM MY COUSIN'S CELL PHONE. TODAY IS MY BIRTHDAY AND MY FAMILY TRICKED ME AND TOOK ME TO SANTA CRUISE FOR MY BIRTHDAY BY SAYING IT'S AN EMERGENCY GIONG TO MY UCLES HOUSE IN LIVERMORE. I HAVE BEEN STUDYING FOR EXAM AND READY TO TAKE IT. I WOULDNT BE ABLE TO MAKE IT TO [the university] TO GIVE THE EXAM TODAY IN TESTING CENTER. I WAS WONDERING IF YOU WOULD BE KIND ENOUGH TO GIVE ME MY BIRTHDAY GIFT "A CHANCE TO MAKE UP THE EXAM". I REALLY NEED THIS CLASS TO GET INTO MY MAJOR. IT FILLS TWO SECTIONS IN MY GENERAL AIDS [!!] PROFILE. IT WILL BE HIGHLY APPRECIATED. THANK YOU!"
This email arrived yesterday (Thursday) around 4 pm. The student had approached me the day before, after lecture, to announce that he had missed Monday's exam and needed to take a make up. First, he made no excuses or apologies. The exam counts as 1/3 of his grade, but in his head, it was clearly on par with, say, going to the store for a gallon of milk and coming home without it. (Several other students missed the exam as well, of course, but had the good sense to at least feign being upset over it.) Me: "Well, you should have let me know, at the latest, on Monday morning, but I'll go ahead and take a copy of the exam over to the testing center and you can take it this evening or tomorrow evening between 4 and 9--be sure to schedule an appointment with them within the next hour or so. They are closed on Fridays, so it's today or tomorrow, or not at all. I'm handing the test back on Friday morning." Student: "You're kidding, I've already got two other tests this week! And I really have to study for those." Me: "Well, you had this one on Monday and if you had taken it, you'd be standing here with only those two exams to take. I really should be asking you for a medical excuse, but I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt because I need to get your exam over there or they won't get it processed for you by this evening." Student: "Oh, thanks so much!" My response to his email of yesterday evening was "Oh, I'm so sorry you missed the opportunity to make up your exam, but I think that you still have time to drop this course with no penalty. Happy Birthday." Guess who was back from Santa Cruz and in class this AM, asking to please take a makeup? (You guessed it.) My response: "You can take the exam in my office right now, and I'll give you half credit in place of the zero you now have OR we can wait until you take Exam 2. If you make a 75%, I'll give you an essay exam over the material we just covered and count your score in full. He went for the latter (no surprise). I'll bet my first-born that he doesn't show for Exam 2. He'll be off in Santa "Cruise."