How to handle emergencies during final exams

By now, students eligible for the re-scheduling of a fall final exam under the Rules of the Law School ( should have made arrangements with me. If your situation satisfies the rules and you have not submitted the form to request re-scheduling of your exam, please do that very soon. Here is the form:  Students should not contact professors about changing exam times. You should contact faculty about paper deadlines. We do not move exams to earlier dates, only to later dates.

Useful things to know during the exam period

1. You should call me if you have an emergency affecting your final.  You may need to re-schedule an exam due to an emergency, such as an incapacitating illness, injury, family emergency or extreme weather problem. If so, you must call my office telephone before the start of the exam. The number is 262-8557. I check the messages regularly during exams. I may not be able to reach you before the exam starts, but I will contact you very soon. If you have met the deadline for the phone call, you can assume that I will help you change your exam time.

Some situations require written verification.

Report of food poisoning or other sudden gastric problems.  Be prepared to give me verification that you sought medical assistance.

Report of death in family. Be prepared to provide the name and location so that I can verify the death at a later time. I regret this requirement, but it has become necessary.

2. You have access to free health and mental health services.

University Health Services ( provides many outpatient services. UHS is located at 1552 University Avenue. The phone number is 265-5600.

University Counseling and Consultation Services
can help students experiencing stress, family or interpersonal conflicts, anxiety, depression or other problems. The services are located at 115 N. Orchard St. The phone number is 265-5600. After hours you can call 265-6565.

Confidential hot line for law students
The State Bar of Wisconsin operates a 24-hour confidential telephone hot line for law students having mental health, emotional health, substance abuse or similar crises. The number is 800-543-2625. The service if known as WisLAP (Wisconsin Lawyer Assistance Program).

3. You really should take breaks.

You need breaks, exercise, a healthy diet and companionship, especially when stressed by finals. You have various free campus venues for exercise and sports: Camp Randall Sports Center, aka The Shell, is at 1430 Monroe Street (262-4756); the Natatorium at 2000 Observatory Drive (262-3742); Nielsen Tennis Stadium at 1000 Highland Avenue (262-0410) and the South East Recreational Facility, aka SERF, at 715 West Dayton Street (262-8244).  There are also restaurants, coffee shops and other diversions just outside of the Law School. Studies show that sleep is necessary to let your brain integrate the information that is being crammed into it. (Real sleep, not sleeping sitting up, drooling on a pile of books in the Law Library).

4. Obsessing on your grades is a bad idea.

Grades are a factor in starting your legal career. They are not the only factor and you will have much more control over other factors, such as the courses that you choose and the effort that you put into finding a first legal job that's right for you.

Please contact me if you have questions about this message. Good luck on your exams.

Submitted by Ruth Robarts, Assistant Dean for Student & Academic Affairs on November 12, 2008

This article appears in the categories: Must-Know Info

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