Email Anxiety

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Emailing a professor can be a daunting task. Sometimes it’s because you’re asking for an extension that you don’t think you’ll get or a recommendation for a job or internship. More often than not, it’s a simple clarifying question or to ask to meet in person. We spend time on these emails, crafting the perfect prose to get us what we want, walking the thin line between formal, and not enough. When it’s finally done, we press send with shaking fingers and pray that adding that second exclamation mark makes us sound positive, not manic. Minutes, hours, days pass, as we anxiously await a response. Just when we’re considering a second email, we get this:

“Thats fone.  

Sent From My iPhone.”

It’s difficult to accept this kind of response from a generation that complains of our overuse of filler words and lack of grammatical knowledge, especially when we spent upwards of half an hour Google-ing things like “affect or effect?” and “should I use Dr. or Professor?” You’d be shocked at how many students come to the Writing Center just for help on their emails, while the five-page paper they’re asking about is the least of their worries. To any members of the English department—reading this and shaking their heads at their less grammar-conscious colleagues—I’m here to tell you that you’re absolutely a part of the problem. In fact, you’re some of the biggest offenders.

  There’s no need to spend ten minutes crafting the perfect response to our question, but there are a few things you could stand to improve on. Consider doing a quick typo-check before you send it off. It’s a little disheartening to see the professor who circled the one missing apostrophe in your last paper leaving the note, “proofread next time please,” spell two words wrong in a three-word email. Consider changing the settings on your phone to personalize your email signature, or even just delete the default “Sent From My iPhone,” which is what you expect to see at the bottom of an email from your Grandmother containing a picture of a cat she found on Facebook, not the person with a doctorate and the power to crush your GPA with a single letter. 

This whole email experience leaves students thoroughly disheartened. The hours you spent deciding whether or not to send an email, and then agonizing over what to say once you decided to, now seem completely ridiculous. The anxiety, the trips to the Writing Center, the thirty minutes of proofreading, all for what? It’s enough to make you think that—maybe—professors are just people, and you aren’t actually being graded on your emails.

All the best in your emailing endeavors,

Lily Magoon

Sent From My iPhone.

Lily Magoon '24 is an English major who, in addition to working on the Weekly, serves as co-editor-in-chief of the Muhlenberg Academic Review through the Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society. She has the passionate belief that storytelling, in all its forms, is our most valuable asset--as a tool for sharing knowledge, bringing people together, creating change, and exploring what’s possible.

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Lily Magoon
Lily Magoon '24 is an English major who, in addition to working on the Weekly, serves as co-editor-in-chief of the Muhlenberg Academic Review through the Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society. She has the passionate belief that storytelling, in all its forms, is our most valuable asset--as a tool for sharing knowledge, bringing people together, creating change, and exploring what’s possible.

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