College 101: Brendon Mendelson from The Brendon Show guest entry


Brendon Mendelson of The Brandon Show offers some tips on emailing your professors.  I had a similiar (not as funny) entry a while back.  Enjoy, and be sure to head on over to The Brendon Show for a daily dose of hilarity.
College Survival Top Ten: Emailing Your Professors

By: Brandon J. Mendelson

Copyright 2006 by Brandon J. Mendelson. This article may be used elsewhere for non-commercial works as long as the author name and web site are included.

A few months ago The New York Times reported that college students don’t know how to communicate with their professors. The report said the emails were too informal, and often involved inappropriate language to convey ideas to professors. While I think college professors as mature adults can handle some inappropriate language, I agree this is a problem that should be examined. So I’ve created a top ten list of email suggestions for my fellow students. The following are some useful tips and suggestions for students to follow when corresponding with your professors.

1) Don’t use slang or swear words in your email. Use your fists if you must, but keep your emails clean, brief, and coherent. Don’t email your professors looking to fight with them about your grade or something inane. Your professor can probably beat you up…or at the very least bite you…and if your professor bites you, email the Dean. Don’t ever email the Dean or the higher ups unless it is absolutely necessary. A report of a professor mauling a student with their teeth? That is a damn good reason to contact the Dean.

2) Make sure you include your name, class, and section, when emailing your professor. Professors are underpaid and overwhelmed. They probably have no idea who you are. When sending your email, make sure that your first name and last name will appear in your professor’s inbox. Your professor doesn’t know who sexy emo lover is, and may think your email is spam.

3) Your professor knows what time you sent your email. Don’t send anything after midnight unless it is due before the next class meeting. And forget about sending your professor food after midnight, haven’t you seen Gremlins? Who cleans up all of that Gremlin shit anyway? They seem to me like prodigious poopers.

4) Make sure your subject line is related to your email. You shouldn’t have to use subject lines such as, “yo mother fucker what’s up!?” and “check this shit out.” Be sure to include the course title in the subject line. If you can, send any email to your professors with delivery status notification so you know they got it. This comes in handy when a professor loses your work.

5) Keep your email brief. Don’t start rambling about why people purchase flavored water when you could just spit in water and call it flavored. Come to think of it, why didn’t someone copyright that idea? You could call it Backwash. Fresh tasting, long lasting, Backwash. One sip and you’ll never forget it…wait…now I’m rambling. Don’t do that.

6) If you’re going to be absent, email your professor in advance if they have an attendance policy. Give them the date, the reason why you’re absent (you have to kill the President, your Mom ran out of diet Mr. Pib, ect.), and then thank your professor for their time. If they don’t have an attendance policy, and hopefully they don’t, don’t bother emailing them. You’re in college now; some professors think this means you’re mature enough to make your own decisions. Don’t prove them wrong.

7) If you have a question for the instructor, ask the question. Don’t write about how long it took God to create the earth, or whether or not the War in Iraq is a disaster. Just ask your question, say thank you, and sign your email. Always sign your emails. And never ask a question that can be found on your syllabus. Professors hate that, and your fellow students will think you’re stupid. I know some colleges accept people who can’t read for silly reasons, but we’ll assume you can read. And so will your classmates. Take the syllabus and tape it to your notebook’s inside cover if the syllabus isn’t the size of the son of Kong.

8) Always visit your professor during office hours instead of emailing them. If they don’t have office hours (or sleep during those hours) then use email. You’ll have more time and attention put toward your question in person than you would through email. And besides, wouldn’t you like to go outside for a change?

9) Organize your school email, use it for school purposes, and check it daily. For each course you should have one folder. Using your school email for Facebook and other trendy social networking sites will get you into trouble if you’re dumb enough to post pictures of yourself doing a keg stand while wearing a Little Mermaid shirt. Facebook and those other sites are not worth the trouble. As far as checking your email goes, do it daily. Checking your email daily will make you seem obsessive compulsive and borderline crazy. Members of the opposite sex dig crazy people, and you will receive important school notices on time.

10) Even if you hate a teacher, or vehemently disagree with one, don’t use your email as a chance to pick out points you disliked in the lecture. If you have that much of a problem, talk to your professor in person. They will respect you for coming to them face to face rather than emailing them. Only cowards use the Internet to insult people or offer criticism that isn’t constructive or helpful to anyone but the sender’s ego. We’re not saying to agree with everything the professor has to say, you shouldn’t, you’re a smart kid or alumni if you’re reading this, but there is a time and place for that, and email is not one of them. Snorkeling is.

[tags]The Brendon Show, email[/tags]

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