Words by Fatima Raza
Visuals by Julia Lawrence & Sammy Kogan
The worst thing just happened to me and before you ask—no, I didn’t touch a crusty piece of chewed gum under a table.
My whole life, my mantra when asking for something risky via messages has been, “What’s the worst that can happen? They’ll say no?” Well, given that I’ve inherited the same luck as a houseplant owned by a purple-thumbed Pinterest girl, I managed to mess up big time and get a response even worse than just “no.”
The thing is, I’m an academic weapon. When I find myself in need of an extension on an assignment due to ‘unforeseen’ circumstances, I have to make sure every word in my email speaks to my misery, delivers a heart-wrenching masterpiece and shows my professor that I’m not a slack-off student.
Anyway, I woke up last Thursday with a case of the infamous crunchy, engine-sounding cough. Unfortunately for me, my stars had to align disastrously on the one day that an assignment—one that I had been putting off for weeks—was due.
You see, I thought I could still girlboss the deadline if I treated my heinous cough with a cup of hot tea. However, my bad luck wasn’t finished with me yet. The first time I sat down to work on this assignment, all I managed to jot down in 45 minutes was the title. Then, I started binge-watching The Office to cure my boredom and existential dread. Before I knew it, I had spent half my day doing nothing productive other than pretending I was Pam, sharing headphones with Jim on the rooftop as we watched fireworks.
So, as a sane student does, I opened up my Notes app and began spilling my entire life into detail for my professor to read.
I’m convinced the FBI agent who occasionally drops in on my phone to see what no-good I’m up to is always stunned by the latest developments in my Notes app. I promise I’m OK; I’m just a girl with crippling anxiety trying to maintain a decent GPA.
The time had come to whip out my secret weapon—the recipe for the perfect email that gets me an extension every time without fail.
After contemplating this carefully crafted message for what felt like two hours, I finally hit send. Could I have just worked on the assignment in those two hours? Probably. But today just wasn’t giving homework vibes. So I kicked back, threw my feet over a heaping pile of laundry on the foot side of my bed and began doomscrolling on TikTok.
And that’s when it happened.
It was an email reply from my professor.
OK, THAT’S FINE? That’s like the formal equivalent of saying, “Yeah, whatever,” or worse, “You are a walking, talking disappointment.” This could easily top the list of all the hurtful things anyone has ever said to me. As such:
- “OK, that’s fine.”
- “You can come if you’d like.”
- “You look easy to draw.”
I feel like my professor didn’t read my email thoroughly. Maybe I should’ve emphasized the bubble situation a little more. The last thing I want is to come across as a lousy student.
I could also be overthinking this, right? It’s kind of wholesome that he kept it short. The iPhone sign-off adds a little more comfort to it. He was probably sitting at his home with his family and saw a part of me in his daughter—who happens to be the same age as me—and felt bad for sick lil’ old me. It’s definitely that.
Or perhaps it’s the opposite and I came off too strong by naming his children? Wait, did he ever tell us their names? Oh snap, I might’ve found their names on his Facebook when I fell down a whole Google rabbit hole vetting him before enrolling in his class.
OK, I’m officially the campus creep. Should I just drop out at this point?