Shame over late submission of assignment

I am new here. I feel bad that the first time I’m posting anything is because I need some reassurance from people who might understand how I’m feeling.

I’m in my third year at university and completely overwhelmed. I have been working with people at Uni to better my strategies around coursework but now just feel that I have thrown it all away.
I had an assignment due in a few days ago and due to completely foreseeable problems (rewriting my conclusion at the last minute, my internet crashing, going to the wrong website etc.) I ended up handing it in 1 minute past the deadline which comes with a -10% penalty.

Handing it in I was so stressed I felt like I was going to faint and then had a massive nosebleed. Even 5 days later I shake when I think about handing it in. I just feel so ashamed. I can’t tell anyone and I don’t know what to do. I keep going over it in my head adding up all the mistakes and how just not making one of them would have lead me to hand it in on time.

I worked really hard on this essay for 9 weeks, went to every extra session, dragged it around everywhere with me and then ruined all my hard work at the last second.

I know this feeling will eventually pass I just can’t imagine how I’m ever going to feel okay again.




Couple of suggestions to look at right now.

If you were only a minute late, I’d talk to some one on the staff and ask to have the 10% deduction waived. Always remember that the faculty in which you study have a vested interested in seeing you succeed. They may cut you some slack and at the stroke of a pen (or the click of a mouse) you might not have to worry about the 10%

If they are sticklers for the rules and they have no choice but to do the 10% off then try re-framing the penalty in your head by calculating how much the 10% deduction affects the total available score for the academic year. It’s hopefully a good bit less than 10% for the whole year.

From an emotional stand point I would suggest that you have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. You did your best, you submitted an assignment and you were a minute late. Between myself and yourself, if anyone should be ashamed of themselves it’s the university for have such a dumbassian rule that is causing you undue, undeserved and unnecessary stress. 1 minute late earns a 10% penalty? Mother of divine lantern! What’s wrong with these people? Outside of academia, projects that come in one minute late are considered to be on-time! If this were a work situation, you would be carried out shoulder high and brought out for a meal, everybody would be patting your back, high-fiving you, buying you drinks, thanking you for your effort, telling you you rock.

You are absolutely correct, in time, these feelings will pass. But in the mean time, ask for a reprieve, view the deduction in terms of the overall score and don’t beat your self up, you effectively got that assignment in on time, the only failing here is one of academic bureaucracy which has nothing to do with you.

Keep on, keeping on!

You rock!



I understand why it bothers you. University was a mess for me (assignments were regularly late or incomplete) and I felt a lot of shame about it. Even if you aren’t able to get an exception for the 1 minute, you still worked really hard, produced great work and learned just as much about the subject. I think it’s useful to put more emphasis on the learning you are doing than the marks. The marks gradually get less important over time (no one at my work knows or cares what marks I got)


Thank you so much.
I manged to get myself together and email the university. I’m not holding my breath that they will let me off but I do feel a lot better having told you guys and the university so at least it is on record that I tried.

Thank you for being so kind and making me laugh :grin:


Thank you,
I hadn’t thought of it that way. That just because I get a lower mark does’t mean I learnt or achieved an less. :slightly_smiling_face:


Harriet, it’s a pleasure. I’m genuinely delighted you laughed! I’m always impressed with people who care so much and work so hard and I’ll always do my best to support them. I beat myself up all the time and I’m lucky to have people close to me who re-frame my thinking and provide context that I cannot see when I’m on a downer or stressed out.

1 Like

I don’t have any advice, but I wanted to say that you’re not alone!!! I just turned in a paper 2 weeks late :sweat_smile: life can get crazy sometimes and that’s very okay! Whatever happens, the tribe is here for you :blush:


So not alone! I had two quarters left to finish my bachelors degree and started it last fall ('18) only to find out at the beginning of winter term that someone was calling CPS on us (we are good parents, but we had a close friend that mentally went completely off the rails) and then that I was unexpectedly pregnant…again. >.< a year later I’m finally finishing the work I was supposed to finish that quarter. FINISHING is more important that WHEN you finish. <3 There is totally a lot of shame that can go along with that and it’s by no means insignificant or easy to overcome, but YOU DID IT. And you turned it in–AT THE DEADLINE!!! That’s fantastic! And if you do decide to, you can talk to your Uni about accomodations for more time on assignments if you ever do need it. <3


I actually understand the need for such a rule (albeit I’d rather they counted in days instead of minutes). I learned a lot of things at university, but handing in papers on time wasn’t one of them - there wasn’t any accountability system for that. I could hand in papers a year late and nobody would bother, as long as the professor still remembered who I was. Which left me completely unprepared for my exam because that had a deadline. Predictably, I was late because printing took longer than expected and I couldn’t get to the office before closing time. Took quite a bit of pleading and hustling to get it accepted. So, yeah, I get it. But there is a point when a rule goes beyond being useful and becomes arbitrary, and if your university insists on the penalty, they’re clearly beyond that point.

But you know what? That’s not your problem.

You did the work, Apparently, you even did some extra work to make the paper better and risked a penalty doing that. You’ve also asked for some slack because it was just that minute. Everything that happens now is beyond your control and therefore: not your problem.

Take it as a lesson and see what you can take form the experience to help you further down the road.

Asking for accomodations is good advice. If they decide to keep the penalty for this paper, one of these accomodations could be a more generous interpretation of the one-minute rule in the future. If they refuse, explain to them that this will diiscourage you from handing in your best work. (Any university that doesn’t accommodate for last-minute strokes of genius should be out of the education business anyway, in my book.) If they still insist, do the math. Is your best work minus 10% still better than slumming it and handing in less ambitious stuff because that can be done in time? If so, it might still be worth it.

Also, ask yourself if there are ways to optimize your process, of course. For starters, whatever time it took to print and submit the thing will always be the time that last bit takes. You can account for that from now on. Stuff like that.

Do not take it as an incentive to do less than your best work. And, most of all: don’t feel ashamed for not abiding by that one rule. Ambition is nothing to be ashamed of!