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Dear Professor, Here's the Real Reason I Missed Your Class Again

The most helpful emails in health
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Dear College Professor,

There’s something I would like to let you know. I woke up this morning, got dressed and ate, but as you took role, I’m not in your class. It took everything in me to get out of bed this morning, and I planned on going to class. The moment I went to leave my house I felt paralyzed. The world around me started to spin, I felt my heart drop and I couldn’t catch my breath. I knew exactly what was going on, but yet I was still scared. As your taking role right now you probably called out, “Alizabeth Stachlinski,” then once it was silent you thought to yourself, “What a surprise.” As I’m sitting on the floor in my living room trying to get the strength to walk up the stairs, thoughts are going through my head.

“I’m going to fail.”

“I should give up now.”

“I’m missing something important.”

“Everyone thinks I’m a failure”

“People don’t think I care.”

“I can’t do this.”

“I need help.”

“Should I call someone?”

“Should I go to the doctors?”

“I’m fine, it’s anxiety.”

“I’m fine, I’ve felt this before.”

“I’m not OK.”

“I won’t be OK.”

“I need to take notes.”

“I need to read the PowerPoint.”

“I have to get upstairs.”

“I can’t miss another class.”


Most importantly, professor, I’m thinking of a lie to email you about. Anxiety doesn’t seem like a valid excuse. Should I be honest and tell you or should I lie? If I’m honest I’ll probably be looked at like a “freak.” Professor, you probably wouldn’t understand. You would most likely think it’s just an excuse I came up with. That I needed to get over it and push through it.

Well, professor, I emailed you and it went something like this: “Professor, it’s Alizabeth Stachlinski from your ____ class. I just wanted to let you know that I missed class again today because I’m still sick. Could you please let me know what I missed? Thanks in advance, Alizabeth Stachlinski.”

I then feel guilty because maybe I should have just told the truth but I feel society doesn’t treat anxiety or mental illnesses as valid excuses. They are a lot like physical illnesses, just harder to see. Anxiety isn’t just an excuse to get out of certain situations. It is a real health issue, that doesn’t get easier even when I know what it is.

Professor, I missed your class today, but yet I’m sitting in my bed trying to calm my breathing down sitting with my notes open. I missed your class, but I’m sitting here doing the same work. I go over the PowerPoint and I take the same notes as if I was in class. I feel more comfortable here because I’m not being “judged.” I missed your class, but I’m already punishing myself enough for doing so. I hope you understand that I do care. I want to be successful, it’s just harder for me. I wish I could email you and tell you the truth, but I feel you wouldn’t understand.


Alizabeth Stachlinski

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Thinkstock photo via kieferpix

Originally published: March 7, 2017
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