The problem with doctor’s notes

Kianna Znika

If people can see that others are fighting for universal healthcare, they need to realize there is a reason behind this desire: not everyone has health insurance.

Health insurance is something some take for granted, either because they pay for it, or they’ve got it covered by their family or job. In fact, it is so expected of people that professors don’t even realize the unfair and classist act of asking for a doctor’s note.

Being able to provide a doctor’s note upon request is a privilege that not everyone gets to have.

Let’s take a sick college student with no health coverage, for example. To miss class, they are being expected to pay money from their own pocket just for someone else to confirm that they’re sick.

Is the throwing up and high fever not enough? No, Dr. Whoever has to sign off and say, “Yes, you are definitely throwing up. Only I have the power to declare that there is vomit coming out of your mouth.”

Of course, there is reason for wanting a doctor’s note. However, let’s be real: if a student wanted to ditch, they’d do it anyway. In fact, they do.

Ditchers even choose their days carefully and count how many times they’ve been absent to prevent themselves from getting in trouble. That’s if they even care.

As for the student who is really sick, they now have to worry if this illness is worth the money and the points they’d be losing. Being sick is an expense that some cannot afford.

So, professors, when you’re expecting doctor’s notes, you are not just affecting the ditchers; you are hurting those who don’t have the luxury of getting these pieces of paper for free. Attendance policies are important, but the current ones should be changed.

Doctor’s notes should be required when it comes to those who do have health insurance, and those who seem to make a bad habit of missing class. As for everyone else, perhaps an email about the situation. A little understanding goes a long way.

As for those who ditch simply because you don’t feel like going to class that day, recognize your privilege.

Let’s be clear: missing class to focus on one’s mental health is important. Missing class to catch up on work makes sense, when it’s not being done too many times.

Skipping your Political Science class to go hang out at Starbucks with your friends, though? That type of ditching is probably the reason why professors started asking for a doctor’s note in the first place.