On verge of burnout: can I justify time off? How? Apologies for mass of special snowflake considerations inside
I have been in an intensive French language school for the past 9 months without break (save for standard public holidays). This training is for my job - in fact, learning French IS my job for the time being: classes M to F, 7 hours each day. Class sizes were 2 people in beginning and I have been in private tutoring for the past month since starting prep for the oral French exam (see below).
Pass the 3 Government of Canada language exams
(comprehension, grammar, and oral) at C/C/C levels (C is the highest) within 12 months. I have passed comp and grammar and am currently working on oral proficiency, C = functionally fluent in the workplace. I had zero French when I started school in January.
My department does not permit those in language training to take leave; exceptions may be made. The department also repeatedly emphasizes the importance of minding our "corridor / office reputation" and that our behaviour during French training factors into our reputation.
My brain badly needs a break. I haven't progressed in class for the past month due to language fatigue; having studied other languages before, I know that all I need are a few days away to relax and recharge anew. My stress is compounded by the fact that the language school has already requested an exam date for me on Oct 28. This took my by surprise as in the past, dates were requested only when students indicated that they were ready. Neither me nor my professor believe that I will be ready by the 28th. My prof also believes that I need a break from class.
I have a family event coming up that would provide the perfect opportunity for relaxing as it will be held in a fancy secluded out-of-town hotel. I would need a Monday and Tuesday off but my leave request has been rejected as being outside of policy ("exceptions" were identified specifically as the wedding of a close relative, your OWN wedding, or family emergencies).
I didn't realize that I don't just want time off, I need
time off, until my leave request was rejected. I literally burst into tears in class upon reading the rejection, a reaction that made me aware of how exhausted and stressed I am by French. I've had intermittent insomnia the past month and also couldn't sleep last night, knowing I had French today.
I have been told that it is possible to push the exam date back (pending an evaluation next week). However, I still need a break - the mere thought of pushing straight through until my exam, whenever it is, makes me cry anew.
While I can take sick leave - at this point, I think I can legitimately chalk it up to mental health - I would still want it for the days I requested originally because of being out of town in a secluded hotel is exactly what I need. But I'm afraid that taking those 2 days off sick gives the impression that I'm deliberately flipping off the department for rejecting my original leave request ("corridor reputation" remember) by using sick leave as an excuse, even if there is actually a justifiable mental health reason. This is especially given that in my reply to the rejection, I (regrettably) expressed that, while I understood the rationale, I was also "disappointed in the policy" definition of permitted leave.
AskMefites what do I do? Should I just take those 2 days off sick, eff all department impressions? Should I preemptively try to get a doctor's note (but if I do, I can't justify those specific days can I)? Or am I overly concerned about the way my actions would appear to the department? I'm new to this department, office politics, and am too weepy/ exhausted to think of this rationally anymore.