PSA: So, you missed your final exam due to snow. Here's what to do next

Final exam season is stressful enough, but getting stranded in the snow right before an exam certainly doesn’t scream holiday cheer. Here are some tips to navigate your next steps.

First things first, stay safe!

Your safety absolutely comes first. If you’re out in the snow, find a warm place to sit and settle down for as long as you need. The Nest is open 24/7 until December 22; operating hours for additional warm spaces on campus can be found here.

Before embarking on the commute back home, monitor TransLink and DriveBC social media channels and news outlets for updates.

Apply for deferred standing

Time machines don’t exist, but you can take your exam at a later time, if you’re granted deferred standing by your faculty or department.

Your dean or an academic advising office can grant this academic concession if they believe that you have faced circumstances that “unexpectedly or unavoidably [led] to a situation or conflict that hinder[ed] participation or attendance at a class session or examination.” While this policy doesn’t explicitly include travel during inclement weather, rest assured that your application won’t be the only one.

You typically have up to 48 hours after your exam (72 hours for the Faculty of Arts) to contact your faculty academic advising office to request an academic concession. However, you have until January 15 to apply for standing deferred or late withdrawal status, but you should send this request in as soon as possible for logistical purposes. You can find your office and links to your relevant concession request form here.

Academic advising offices are closed over the weekend, and due to the volume of requests, they may take some time to respond in the week ahead. But once that concession application is sent in, know that the ball is in their court.

Email your instructor

We’re often told to contact our instructors in the event we encounter problems leading up to the exam. However, when it comes to weather on the day of the exam, your instructor probably knows just as much as you do.

If you sent them a message on the way to the exam, you likely received a response asking you to contact your faculty or department’s academic advising office. After you’ve sent your concession request form off, you’ve officially done your part!

But, if you have good rapport with your instructor and you’ve yet to send them an email, it may be a good idea to send them a message, especially if your course schedules deferred exams differently from other courses (e.g. outside Enrolment Services).

Keep receipts

It’s not ideal to have to prove you were stranded in the snow, but on the very slim off-chance academic advising asks you for proof of hardship, know that you can be a little creative with it.

An off-campus lease contract or BCHydro bill should suffice if you live off-campus, but if you were having a late night study session with another friend, your alibi need not be non-existent. Whether you have a selfie from being stuck on a bus or a video you took to express your blend of dread, amusement or general awe at the world, you probably had location tracking embedded into your photo. I doubt they’d be so keen to ask you to share these, but having a little proof (just in case) has never hurt anyone!

Know that all things shall pass

The Finals Snowstorm of 2016/17 saw exams pushed to weekends in the following January and logistics permitting, we’ll likely see the same this time around.

UBC has admittedly left matters for this year’s snow season confusing, to say the least. But, while we’re tossed to and fro by circumstances out of our control, take a second to stop and smile at the little snow globe outside your window, or throw a snowball or two if you’re so enticed. ‘Tis the season, after all.

This article was updated at 4:06 p.m. on December 21 to clarify that students have until January 15, 2023 to apply for standing deferred or late withdrawal status.