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Stop sending out mass emails asking for notes

By Aneeka Sandhu, February 7 2019 —

I can speak for many university students in saying that my attendance record is never 100 per cent — it’s close, though!

We’ve all missed a class at some point, whether due to illness, doctor’s appointments, meetings or accidentally sleeping in. If you miss the lecture, some kind soul will usually be happy to lend you their notes. And being the friendly, considerate students we are, it’s our job to step in and help our peers. Right?

But is sending out a mass email asking for notes that you missed acceptable?  

Let’s weigh the pros and cons of giving your notes to someone who has sent a mass email about missing the lecture. Among the pros is that it’s an act of kindness that helps out a fellow student. Plus, you may even find yourself in the exact same position at some point, so returning the favour in advance may not be such a bad idea. But how many people actually respond to mass emails with their notes? I doubt many do.

On the con side, it’s annoying and time-consuming to dig through your notes for others. Also, your notes might be messy and only make sense to you, so you might have to edit your notes to make them readable to others.

But surely there’s a limit in what you owe your fellow students. And I’m done with this nonsense about  ‘consideration’ and ‘empathy.’

The biggest problem with handing out notes is that it’s just not fair. It’s not fair to the students who actually showed up to class and took the time to take proper notes. If a student is absent, then it’s their responsibility to catch up on any missed notes by contacting the professor and asking them what topics were covered. Also, most profs post their notes on D2L, so there’s really no excuse to bother your peers.

Opening my school email is stressful enough, whether I’m anticipating emails from profs or waiting to hear back from group members for group presentations. The last thing I want is a flood of mass emails asking me for missed lecture notes. With all the newsletters we get coupled with pointless dropbox submission receipts, important emails can get lost.

Students who send mass emails asking for missed lecture notes are like the students in group presentations that barely do any work yet get the same grade as you. You put in the work and they get the credit. You take the notes and they get great study material for free. That’s not okay.

So, no, it’s not acceptable to send mass emails to ask your classmates for notes. Missing a lecture is a problem that is yours and yours alone. Bugging your peers for their notes isn’t only rude, but it’s also an annoying waste of their time.

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