Why you’re late to class: Excuses and the real reasons behind them

Andrea Seet/Staff

Even though we have the gracious blessing that is Berkeley time, sometimes those 10 extra minutes still aren’t enough to accommodate our tardiness. Between challenging UC Berkeley-level classes, extracurriculars, work, our social lives and occasionally sleep, time management is no easy task. So we can’t help that we’re late sometimes. To our professors and GSIs who ask us where we were when we walk into class late, here’s a breakdown of our excuses and the real reasons behind them.

One of our go-to excuses is, “So sorry for being late — the last professor didn’t let us out on time.” There’s a chance you might believe us, because it’s totally feasible that our last professor needed more time to complete the lesson — forcing us to hurry across campus because we foolishly scheduled back-to-back classes.

But, considering the cup of coffee in our hand, we both know the real reason we’re late is that, even though it’s 1 p.m., we just woke up. Then, instead of rushing straight to class, we stopped to get our obligatory cup of coffee. We have our priorities straight.

Another common excuse we use, particularly when an assignment is due, is, “Sorry, there were technical difficulties with the printer.” But the printers at the Open Computing Facility are, for the most part, reliable. The lines get pretty long over there — because people just like us waited until the last minute to print out their papers— but the chances of the printer actually breaking down are relatively slim.

The truth is, we weren’t struggling with a printer — we were struggling to come up with something to print. Up until about 10 minutes ago, the paper we just handed in was nowhere near finished. We know you gave us three weeks to work on this assignment and that you specifically warned us not to procrastinate, but you know what? Life happens.

But because we know you get those basic excuses all the time, we try to come up with some kind of vivid story that has too much detail for you to doubt. Maybe we’ll burst into the classroom, out of breath and covered in sweat, and then explain, “So sorry for being late, we had to save a family of albino squirrels from drowning in the shallow end of Strawberry Creek.”

Usually, the more ridiculous our excuse is, the less climactic our real reason is. Honestly, sometimes we show up late because we just straight up didn’t want to go to class. So we waste several minutes laying in bed, debating whether we should get up. But almost always, there will be more reasons to get up than not. So we get ourselves together and rush to class, just to be there for as much of the lesson as we can.

In the end, we might be late to class for a number of circumstances, but we’ll do our best to make it because we know we’re lucky to be at UC Berkeley in the first place.

Contact Rayanne Piaña at [email protected].