Q. What if I get sick for a month or something? Is my semester basically over?
A. The short answer is, "Yes." If you contract an illness or have an injury that immobilizes you for a month, my little Poli Sci class is among the least of your worries. Call it bad luck, the machinations of Satan, the vagaries of a chaotic universe, whatever makes you feel better, and try again next semester.
Q. Do you actually agree with this policy, or do you just enforce it because you have to? (Translation: What are the chances I can guilt-trip you into giving me an exception?)
Should your dire situation occur at the end of the course, there is a small chance that we can work out the possibility of an incomplete. The department is very strict about this, and I am stricter. If you ask for an incomplete, it should be with the understanding that you will probably be told no and that the reason will have little or nothing to do with your particular catastrophe and far more to do with its timing.
Q. What does that mean?
A. Light candles in the hope that you don't find out.
Q. My (job, boyfriend, childcare) is way over in (insert remote location here). I'm going to have to haul (insert cargo here) to get here on time. Can't you give me a--
A. No. You knew the assignment was dangerous when you took it. You made the schedule.
Q. Do you realize that we're going to give you a really awful time of it when you're late to class or miss class altogether?
A. Yes, and that is as it should be.
Q. Why can't college be more like the real world without all these trivial rules?
A: *facepalm* Try showing up twenty minutes late for business appointments three or four times in your first four months as an equipment sales representative for Motorola, then talk to me about how trivial and arbitrary all this is.