Opinion: Don’t Risk Your Life to Get to Class

By Mary Kate Wirfel

 

I have been going to Hilbert for three years now and I have had my run-ins with bad weather. My first year, I dormed here and what I noticed that this college never closes.

My freshman year, we had cold weather and bad roads and yet there was still school.  Immaculata Academy, an all-girls Catholic high school, located within walking distance of the Hilbert College campus was closed, but the college was still open.

I now commute, even though I don’t have my license, my family members volunteer to drive me.  From time to time, I was almost involved in several car accidents caused by the weather.

The commuter students outnumber the residents.  Some of these students commute from places like Springville, Arcade, and Tonawanda which are long enough drives and the snow makes it even harder to get here.

Professors here have an attendance policy and the students get penalized for not showing up to class.  Where the students are really getting penalized is in their paycheck.

The tuition here costs a fortune, over $20,000 per year.  In order to spend your money wisely, you have to show up every day and go to class.  The only break you get is if the professor cancels class, because they cannot make it in.

It’s okay for professors to cancel class and not show up because of weather but not for students to miss class because of the weather.

The only time this school was closed, while I was here, was during the epic November snowstorm in 2014.  If there was not a travel ban in Hamburg, I believe school would have still been open.

I do love it here. But I think you have to be safe. If the school is open and the weather is bad, just stay home you can make up your work later.

Your safety is more important than school even though you’re paying for it.

2 comments

  • Prof. Chris Gallant

    Great job, Mary Kate! I would always say, if you don’t feel comfortable driving then don’t put yourself into that situation. Your life isn’t worth it. Also speaking to your professor often and telling them about your concerns is important. Hilbert is an excellent place because of the relationships the faculty and staff build with students. The rules on attendance are tough, not for the occasional absence ( I usually build in two unexcused absences into my two day a week courses) but for the repeat offenders who abuse the system. Thanks for loving the college and being part of the Hilbert community.

    Liked by 1 person

  • A good reminder to trust your own judgement when it comes to road conditions. Most professors should accommodate an absence if it based in some sound reasoning, like treacherous driving.

    This is also a good reminder for students to get to know their professors–early. As an instructor, I always trusted a student when they said they were too nervous to drive in for class, but I know I felt more trusting, and therefore was probably more lenient toward, students who had introduced themselves, or in some way made themselves known to me.

    Good work!

    Like

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