opened notebook on table at library

How Reaching Out Can Save Your Grades: Missed assignments and Falling Behind in Classes

If you’ve been keeping up with me you’d know I had a chaotic start to this semester. And as a result, I quickly fell behind in all of my classes. I had an extension for an assignment that I still couldn’t turn in; I wasn’t able to keep up with discussion posts; I skipped lectures so I could catch up on term work. It was never-ending. And I didn’t even mention the one quiz I almost didn’t submit.

Somehow though, I managed to finish that overdue paper, caught up with missed discussion posts, and successfully got the quiz over with.

So how on earth did I do it?

bed with stuffed dog and blue blanket on top

If I learned anything about academic setbacks, it’s that communication is on your side.

I emailed my professors, explaining my situation. Please know that you never need to go into detail about your circumstances to a professor; I indicated that I had a personal situation that made it difficult to hand in term work. Keeping your professors in the loop can decrease your chances of getting penalized for lateness and they can understand your situation better (unless you have an unforgiving professor, then my heart goes out to you).

After those emails, I got in touch with my accessibility advisor. I told her what was going on and what I needed to get my assignments in and she reached out to my professors on behalf of me, requesting disability-related accommodations. As for the quiz, I probably didn’t do great on it

stationary (pens, pencils, highlighters) on desk

Now that I’ve submitted my overdue work, I can now focus on catching up with my weekly work. But life happens and I’m just glad I wrote something to hand in. But if you’re ever in a situation like me and you’re overwhelmed and have missed assignments, know that it’s not too late. In this major setback, I learned that I couldn’t have done it if I didn’t ask for help. So if you’ve missed a few assignments, a test or you’re falling behind in your courses, the following services can aid you:

Accessibility Services

I have a learning disability and am registered with accessibility services so my accessibility advisor helps me with a lot of my academic setbacks. For those who are registered, booking an appointment with an accessibility advisor can aid you in catching up with classes and other academic needs. For more information visit:


Your registrar is the one place that can help you when you’re struggling with courses. Sending an email to your registrar is the first step in catching up with term work. If you have an issue with a professor or a course issue that couldn’t be resolved, registrar is also available to help.

Additional resources for academic and personal needs:

Peer Support

Peer Support is a space that voice your concerns and feelings and connects you to U of T services that catered to your own needs. It’s a great starting point for when you have a problem but don’t know who to turn to. See for more information.

U of T Telus Health Student Support (formerly U of T My SSP)

This chat/phone service is great mental health service that provides counselling and support to U of T students from anywhere in the world and in many different languages. It is a mobile app where you can talk about anything academic or personal and it’s completely confidential. I’ve tried it myself and if you can read my article about U of T Telus Health Student Support if you want to know my experience. Otherwise, see

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