Bodily functions aren’t worth extra credit

Art by Savannah Brown

Which do you value more, extra credit or your own bodily functions?

Every year, without fail, I am given hall passes in at least one of my classes. Hall passes alone don’t bother me. However, these passes fill me with anger because they aren’t just for a trip to the water fountain or locker; each pass that has gone unused counts for extra points at the end of the semester. I am in full support of extra credit, but not when it is at the expense of my body’s needs.

Our society already values our grades over our health, like going to school sick, staying up past midnight to finish homework; the list goes on. These bathroom passes only further enforce that ideal. They make us choose between urinating and extra credit points that have the ability to boost our grade. I understand the purpose of the passes when students come to class without materials and have to make a locker run because it is their fault that they are unprepared. Going to the bathroom is not the same thing. We very rarely have time to go during passing periods and not all of us have off hours allocated to pee the eight times a day that WebMD recommends. On Thursdays I don’t have any off hours, so I have to go during class. I strive for a high GPA so I try to avoid bathroom breaks as much as possible. I can’t help that I have a full schedule or a full bladder, so why should I be forced to sacrifice my extra credit?\

While everyone’s needs are relevant and valid, these passes are especially harsh for those of us with menstrual cycles. Unlike urinating, we can’t just hold the blood in until you have free time. Some days going to the bathroom is necessary every two hours due to a heavy flow. Trying to have less frequent bathroom breaks can result in discomfort, embarrassment, and even toxic shock syndrome.

I enjoy the extra credit, but I shouldn’t have to bleed through my pants to get it.

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