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Fibromyalgia Action UK
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Stress, Uni & Lecturers that do not understand.

As most of you know I am studying my Masters in Psychology. The course is quite demanding and is busy with a lot of course work. When I meet with my Disability Advisor, she agreed that I could have a 1 week extension on my coursework as I cannot sit at the computer for long periods of time.

So .. I got an extension for coursework that was due last week, which was find. I now have another piece of coursework which is due tomorrow, so I send the course coordinator who deals with extensions a email and an extension request form yesterday. I've waited about worrying all day because the original deadline is tomorrow! I eventually decided to phone him to ask if he got the email and if it was possible to get an extension. His reply was ..

"Will you be wanting an extension for every piece of coursework? Why don't you plan you time more effectively and then you wouldn't be needing an extension? and why do you need these extensions?!

Well I explained that I have no idea if I will need an extension because I have chronic pain in my neck, back and shoulders which is constant and so unpredictable. I can't sit at the computer for hours like other students, or stay up all night finishing essays.

I was so upset by his comments and I have tears in my eyes as I am typing this. No one seems to understand that, even though I am 23, I cannot do what everyone else in my class does, I need some adaptations for my course work and exams etc.

I also emailed my Disability Advisor saying that I they are not happy about giving extensions, when I genuinely need them and asked if they should be asking personal questions about why I need the extension.

I'm just so tired, upset, annoyed and disappointed, I just want to go to bed and curl up in a big ball!

12 Replies
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I was at University 5 years ago and although I had not had been diagnosed with fibro, I had the start of it but was also having a lot of family and home issues going on. I went to see the course leader as I needed to defer a couple of assignments and have extensions also during my second year. He was brilliant, listened to all the issues and gave the ultimate decision, even though he wasn't in charge of all my modules. Would you be able to approach yours.

I put in a formal complaint regarding negative attitudes over my situation by my tutor, you could also do this as it can be seen as discrimination. You could ask your disability adviser to assist you with the request of extensions or support you with a visit to the course leader.

Good luck

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Hi Jom,

My course coordinator is the one who was rude, so I have spoke to my disability advisor who has emailed him about me being allowed extensions on course work due to my disability - he still hasn't replied! I'm feeling much better about it as another lecturer has been extremely helpful, I do not need to sit the 4 hour exam, he is going to email me the exam paper on the day of the exam and I have 2 weeks to do it at home .. BIG YAY!

C x

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I think theses 'upmarket teachers' assume the right to know all your personal stuff, would they be happy enough to tell you all their problems. I would get your advisor to get in touch on your behalf xxxxx

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Hello Ozzy Girl,

My advisor emailed him to remind him that they have more than enough medical evidence to prove that I require extensions and other considerations .. YAY!

C xxx

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This is great news and I hope your lecturers take note xxxxx

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Hi CR, I understand your frustration and commiserate with you. I think you would be wise to find out if you have an 'individual Learning Plan' which you are entitled to because of your special needs. Ask your disability tutor if extensions to hand in dates can be included in your learning plan as this will make it easier for you to have an automatic entitlement to them.

Unfortunately there will be some students who try to get extensions without good cause so some tutors will automatically be suspicious of anybody who asks for one. When I was a tutor I even had some students who made up stories about the death of family members in order to get extensions - sadly this is fairly common too (though more so with undergrads) and is a reason why some tutors are likely to be less than helpful. So try not to take your tutor's reaction to heart too much, he had probably had so many requests for extensions that day that he had run out of patience (not an excuse to speak to you as he did, but perhaps a possible reason why) Instead ensure that your disability tutor is fully aware of your situation and that all of your supporting documentation is in place. If you do have the need to ask for an extension again try to negotiate the extension at least a week in advance. You will be more likely to receive a sympathetic reaction. Good luck with your work and I hope you get the results that you are hoping for! Jane x

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Hi Lady Green Fingers,

I have spoke to my disability supervisor who has emailed the course coordinator and reminded him that they have more than enough medical evidence showing that I will require extensions for my course work. One lecturer has been great and has organised me doing the exam paper at home over two weeks, rather than sitting for 4 hours straight! However, the course coordinator is suppose to be organising an alternative coursework instead of doing the presentation .. He has not bothered and the presentation is Tuesday .. I have argued that I am not submitting the alternative by Tuesday as it has not been released yet, five days before the due date and the rest of the class has had 6 weeks!

I have been stressed about the whole thing, things are just building up and making me more worried and anxious about university. I have never felt like this before, I feel things are out of my control and I hate that!

Anyway, hope you've had a good day!

C x

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Hi I am doing a Counselling Diploma Level 4 and there's lots of essays journal writing exams etc. I have asked for extra time in my 2 hour exam. I don't know yet if i will get it, I was told by my tutor to bring a in a docs letter, she said I didn't need to get a new letter an old one would be ok. Gave Tutor this months ago last week I was told I needed a new one and I needed it in 4 days! II went to docs I couldn't collect the the letter for at least a week. I handed it to the person in charge of adult education, who scanned it quickly gave a look of distain or disbelief and said well you'll just have to wait and see what we can do..!!

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Hey!

Oh I hope that something can be organised, some people just don't realise that these things really affect people. The worrying and waiting about for an answer will not be good either! I hope you hear something soon, good luck!

C x

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Best of luck with your courses. My course leaders have both been sympathetic to my needs. I needed extensions and could only attend half the lectures at one point due to a fractured rib. The course leader was even sympathetic then as I had a note taker so could easily catch up by reading her notes. I am having 2 years out due to health problems and have even been granted library use so I can continue my studies in preparation for my return, hopefully next year. I am so sorry you are having problems and wish you all the best as you attempt to continue with yours.

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Hi Angel Dance,

Thank you! Oh that's great, they sound fantastic :) .. I am getting there slowly, one of the other lecturers has been great and has organised for me to do the exam over 2 weeks rather than 4 hours, which is great news yay!

Hope your studies go well, good luck!

C x

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Oh that is good. What a relief that must be for you.

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