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Person scared of email looks away from glowing TMU email app icon
All Fun & Satire

Is my professor being wholesome or petty?

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. 

Fake email screenshot from Fatima Raza to RDJ. Email reads: Hi Prof! I need a few more days to work on our film assignment. I actually gave myself whiplash because I thought I saw Drake on campus. I could’ve sworn it was him but it could also have been a hallucination. You see, I haven’t slept properly in the last three days because I have been up all night studying. Anywho, I think I slept on my neck weird and need to see a doctor and my therapist. I'm so sorry for this incredibly horrible inconvenience and I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me. Thank you!
Fake email from Robert Downey Junior to Fatima. Email reads: Hi Fatima, that’s terrible to hear. It happens to the best of us. I hope you’re getting more sleep and here’s to hoping you catch Drake for real one day. Have the assignment in whenever you’re better.

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. 

  • Fake email screenshot from Fatima to RDJ. Highlighted text reads: Hi Prof! I hope you, your wife and your three kids (Billy, Jim and Emily) are doing well.
  • Fake email screenshot from Fatima to RDJ. Highlighted text reads: Could I possibly get an extension for our essay? I woke up with a nasty case of a crackly cough. I am literally coughing like that cat on that ‘how kids cough’ meme.
  • Fake email screenshot from Fatima to RDJ. Highlighted text reads: I decided to make myself a hot cup of tea, but as I was boiling the water, my mind wandered off to create silly scenarios of me and my hypothetical, nonexistent boyfriend (Jim Halpert). Amidst zoning out full-fledged by the stovetop, I accidentally grabbed the wrong bottle and sweetened my tea with dish soap instead of honey. And to be honest, I like my tea sweet. There’s just something about a cup of green tea with a tongue-blinding amount of honey that just does it for me. I didn’t realize I had casually poisoned my medicinal drink until about seven sips in. That’s when I had to start rinsing the bubbles out of my mouth.
  • Fake email screenshot from Fatima to RDJ. Highlighted text reads: Now my tongue feels numb and there’s a bitter taste at the back of my mouth as I type this email. I was gonna push through and work on the assignment, but I feel like a bubble flies out my mouth every time I breathe. And no, my insides do not feel squeaky clean. I also have a bubbly feeling in my tummy that I’m 100 per cent sure has nothing to do with my fictional husband so I’ll probably see a doctor about it.
  • Fake email screenshot from Fatima to RDJ. Highlighted text reads: I hope this isn’t inconvenient for you and that it’s alright for me to submit my assignment later. I truly value this class and want to give this assignment my undivided attention. Kindest regards and deepest apologies for any inconvenience this may cause.

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:

  1. “OK, that’s fine.”
  2. “You can come if you’d like.”
  3. “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?

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