I had to ask the university for a dispensation to do a ‘Michael Jackson impersonation’ for my exams that are coming up.
Due to the friction causing problems because of my chemo side-effects: redness, blisters and pain, I can’t write holding a pen for long periods of time. My oncologist has suggested putting protective tap across the fingertips that hold the pen and wearing a white cotton glove over the top to cut down on the friction to other parts of my hand so that I can withstand three hours of writing.
I didn’t want to turn up to the exam and the exam supervisors make a fuss about it so I broached the subject with my lecturers and emailed the chief examiner to explain the situation. They now have my details and I will carry the letter from the oncologist confirming what I have told them to the exam so there wont be any problem.
While I was discussing this with my lecturers I explained that I had walked out of one of my first semester exams due to not being able to write and that I needed to wear the glove to prevent the same happening this time and they pressed me to consider going for aeggrotat passes if I still have difficulties with the exam.
In the first semester exams I only got a B- as my mark for that paper. and I know if I had gone for impaired performance I would have got a much higher mark. But I decided not to.
Why, because I need to know what I am capable of now. I need to know what I am capable of under the influence of painkillers, suffering the side-effects of chemo, fatigue etc. I want assignment and exam marks based on what I am actually capable of at that moment in time, not what I may or may not have been capable of, if I wasn’t sick or tired or whatever. If my luck holds and I somehow manage to finish this degree – a four year degree which will take me another 5 years including practicums to finish, what I need to know is whether or not I am capable of doing the job regardless of what medication, or limitations I have got.
I am not going to get special allowances for being sick, being allowed to make more mistakes than others or whatever when I am actually working in the social work field, so I need to know what I am actually capable of and get the marks I actually earned.
Its the reason I have tried to not ask for extensions for assignments too. Do I think I have got the marks I could have got if I wasn’t in treatment? No, but they are a reflection of what I am capable of right now. And when most of my marks have been around the A- or B+ mark I’m happy that I have tried my best regardless.