Most of us have missed a seminar or a lecture at some point, and the majority of people will use a safe, generic excuse like “I had the flu” or “I had to go to my cousin’s wedding.” However, some students choose to be slightly more inventive with their excuses. When I asked a few of my friends to tell me the best excuses they had ever given for missing a seminar or a lecture, responses ranged from brutally honest to vague and suspicious.
One approach is to be so original with your excuse that no one could possibly guess that you’d made it up. A great and probably York-exclusive excuse which one student used is “I got stuck behind a group of geese. They just wouldn’t let me get past to get to the seminar!”
Sometimes it’s best to be as general and unclear as possible with your excuses. One student told her seminar tutor that she had to permanently change her Wednesday 9.15 for “personal reasons” so that she wouldn’t have to miss Kuda Tuesdays. Another sketchy excuse one of my friends used, which will probably only work if you are female and your tutor is male, was “I didn’t feel well because I had this thing… I get it regularly… about once every four weeks.”
A few students I asked seemed to decide that honesty was the best policy when it came to excuses. One English student sent her tutor an e-mail saying “I hadn’t done the reading so I didn’t really see the point in going to the seminar.” One similarly blunt excuse I heard, which second and third years will definitely sympathise with, was “It takes me half an hour to walk to campus but the lecture’s only one hour long. It just seemed like a waste of time.” If you really don’t mind offending your tutor, you could be as harsh as the student who said “I chose to go to another better tutor’s seminar instead.”
Some image-conscious students choose to give their seminars a miss rather than, shock horror, turn up not looking their best. One chose to skip a seminar because “It was a laundry day, so I had no clean clothes to wear,” and another told his supervisor that he couldn’t be seen in his seminar because “I had a really horrible haircut and I didn’t want anyone to see me until I could get it fixed.”
These excuses are definitely more amusing than the classics, but if you have to miss a seminar because you slept in or you’re hungover, maybe it’s wiser to go with a more traditional excuse like “I have food poisoning.” I think that the golden rule of excuses is if you wouldn’t believe it, your tutor probably won’t buy it either.