CONFESSIONALS: I was the student who reminded the teacher of a deadline

“Our tutorial had been cancelled because the TA couldn’t find his way out of the depths of bankruptcy”

Marissa Ouyang

Written by James Conn, SFU Student

Before coming to SFU, I attended Douglas College. On one fateful day, in a political science lecture, our class was eerily awaiting the professor to spring a quiz on us. However, he seemed to have forgotten, until that one student . . . yes, you know the one . . . reminded him. Needless to say, I was pissed. 

Unfortunately, semesters later, history would repeat itself. 

Only this time, it wasn’t some random student screwing over the class.

It was me. 

Yes, I was that student who reminded the teacher of a deadline they forgot.  

Recently, I got an email from my professor titled “Tutorial Cancelled.” Fairly self-explanatory. Our tutorial had been cancelled because the TA couldn’t find her way out of the depths of bankruptcy that morning. And . . . for some bizarre reason, I decided to email the prof to remind him that we were supposed to hand in our term paper proposals at that tutorial?

You may be wondering why I made this awful mistake. I think I might’ve been possessed by the spirit of the Douglas teacher’s pet I vowed revenge on. I heard he met an untimely demise that day . . . but that’s another confessional for another time. 

Allow me to walk you through the events as they transpired. You see, I set reminders for all my assignments in my phone — reminders which I usually read, snooze, and then ignore. So I received one for the proposal’s due date 24 hours ahead of time, as per usual. I distinctly remember thinking to myself, James, you’ll finish it later in the day, when you have time. Oh, I’m such a good liar . . .

I ended up waking up at 5:30 a.m. the next day to complete the assignment before my 11:30 a.m. tutorial. I cooked up the best work my sleep-deprived brain could manage, and I was ready to hand it in — when I received the email from the prof at 11:07 a.m. 

Hi everyone, 

Your TA is unable to come to campus today. She’s gone missing somewhere in the depths of bankruptcy again, and the school has yet to extract her. Sorry for the late notification. This is just what happens when you engage in labour disputes, I guess. 

Enjoy your weekend.

Best regards,


I remember my fingers moving, my skin faintly glowing. The ghostly entity possessing me was writing back. 

Hey [redacted],

Thank you for the notification. However, today our tutorial was supposed to hand in our term paper proposals. I would hate to have to postpone this till next week. I strongly encourage you to uphold the sanctity of our assignment’s deadline for the benefit of the whole class. 

Thank you,

Totally, for sure, definitely James

Almost immediately after this, he emailed the whole class back . . . 

Hi everyone, 

Apologies for forgetting about our assignment’s due date! Luckily, a heroic student reminded me. Therefore, I will be down there at 11:30 a.m. Please bring your assignments as originally planned. 🙂

Best regards,


Immediately after receiving this troubling news, I felt devastated. After all, it was I who had inflicted this upon myself and my classmates. 

Yes, I had been possessed by a spirit who was purest evil long before I had, um, vowed revenge on him and later heard rumours that he’d coincidentally died an untimely demise hours later. But. If I had not experienced that momentary lapse in control, I could have saved our whole tutorial the hassle of handing in our term paper proposals. I was just too weak: too much salt, not enough holy water.

If anyone from the tutorial is reading this, I sincerely apologize. I only hope that my mental anguish, spurred both by my guilt and by the screeching of the damned currently living inside me, offers you a modicum of peace.