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Long story short, I was unable to attend a lecture of a course I'm interested in. I met my professor directly at her office and asked questions and extra material for her course. Moreover since I'm interested in her course, I've read some extra notes, books and papers. After stating an advanced question she suggested me to read some extra papers and extended bibliography.

How can I "apologize" my professor for not being able to attend the lecture, after showing such excitement? Should I send her an e-mail or talk to her directly? (I guess face-to-face discussion is preferred.)

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    What is the culture of attending lectures in your country or university? Apologizing would be needed if you did something wrong to the professor, which to me does not seem to be the case here, as you didn't agree on meeting at the lecture. Obviously the professor might wonder why you didn't attend after your conversation, but that would only require an explanation, not an apology. – JiK Apr 2 '15 at 9:05
  • From the first paragraph, it sounds like you went to meet your professor and ask questions after you missed the course. However, it sounds this is not what you mean in your question. – Kimball Apr 2 '15 at 10:45
  • I met my professor a week before the missed lecture, in fact right after the previous lecture. – Rrjrjtlokrthjji Apr 2 '15 at 19:04
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When you see her next, say something like

I apologize for not showing up for lecture last week. I had a doctor's appointment/seminar talk/committee meeting/friend's PhD defense I had to attend.

Nothing more is needed than just to convey the message that you had a good reason to not attend class. Professors are busy people, they know that missing meetings is a fact of life. It only becomes awkward if you stayed away from class because you wanted to watch the last episode of Walking Dead/went out drinking with your friends/etc.

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  • Goodness, no. Professors get upwards of 100 emails a day. Things happen, but don't expect me to repeat everything from the lecture that is "important" (i.e. on the exam). Ask someone who attended. – Debora Weber-Wulff Apr 3 '15 at 22:06
  • Well said. Unless it's a very small class or your presence was required or expected for a group discussion of some sort, "life can get in the way" – user67075 Dec 31 '16 at 4:18

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