Feeling super disconnected and isolated - Feeling a lack of support academically

Hi all. I've been feeling a lack of support academically; lately, it feels like any support I reach out for or ask for gets turned down or professors are trying to make my life harder. I had a family emergency recently that's been affecting me for the past 2 weeks. I can't take a leave of absence or go back home considering the negative relationship with my parent, which I've been actively trying to distance myself from, but it's still been affecting my mental health (and therefore my physical health) substantially.

I missed class the other day and we had an exam coming up. When my professor emailed to check in because I missed class (which is unusual for me) I told them that I needed a take home exam due a few days later (instead of taking it in the classroom with the rest of the students) because of the ongoing family matter that has been affecting my studies. I don't think I've really had the ability to prepare for the exam. This was deemed not an equitable accommodation (I do have accommodations regularly, but I'm unsure how many students truly have a family emergency going on on top of this). She let me know about the decision at 8pm and only gave me an extra 24 hours to prepare. In my opinion, we have and take the honor code very seriously here and this accommodation wouldn't change the mastery of concepts or any of the learning goals of the exam; it's not a modification, so I'm confused as to why it was considered not equitable.

I'm writing this taking a break from my all-nighter cram session. I'd also like to mention that all-nighters, as you all may generally know, increase my PTSD symptoms. Feeling frustrated and like I was backed into a corner to sacrifice my mental and physical well-being to take this exam. Honestly getting a bit too close to my emotional breaking point with school and the lack of support. Any advice or thoughts?


I don't know where you are, but in the UK we have a students union, i don't know if there is anything similar where you are? Somewhere students can seek advice on such matters?
Welcome to the forum


Did the professor offer any other supports for the exam?

We can fall into black and white thinking when disregulated. Is there a way of seeing it differently? Maybe it's not about not showing support but about exam regulations? Idk.

Or when you have the headspace, talking with your professor about it in person? Sometimes communicating via email is hard. (i. E whilst it was very late for you to get notification from your professor about the exam, so you had less time to digest that: your professor also worked until 8pm to respond to you. Wasn't the response you wanted or needed, and I don't know their working hours, but here in the UK that would be someone working longer hours than they are paid to do, which is showing support and care?).
Unfortunately, I think this happens a lot at universities. It's possible that the professor does care, as Movingforward said, and it's true that email is very tough for communication. It's also possible the professor does not believe in giving accommodations. Talking would help unearth this. I understand why they would be concerned about you taking a test, potentially with open book, and turning it in days later after other students have completed their exams, but it's frustrating they didn't suggest an alternative. Do you have an advisor? How about any student support organizations or the Dean? Would you consider going to the counseling center?

Finally, if you are cramming and you take the test, will you have time to rest afterward or do you need to roll into more classes? Is it possible the best option is to drop the class or even request leave?


Feeling frustrated and like I was backed into a corner to sacrifice my mental and physical well-being to take this exam.
This is a totally valid feeling to have.

But when this exam is in your rear-view mirror, maybe circle back and try to reframe the situation? Not agreeing to the specific accommodation you asked for is disappointing, but it isn't always mean it's a flat No.

Alternatives might be: getting longer than everyone else to complete the exam in class, taking notes, taking a break mid-exam... I've used all sorts of different types of accommodations during study in my past. Lots of different things can be helpful, if we can't have the specific thing we asked for. So, next time, if the initial answer is "No, I can't agree to the accommodation you've asked for," try something else!