Rookie Mistakes in College

               Welcome to college! Where the homework is consistent, the people are confusing, and the potential for college fails is through the roof. One of the most consistent rookie mistakes in college is college email fails. Shocking, right? You’d think with the amount of time that we spend on the internet, on our phones, and using social media that email would come naturally to us.

               Apparently not.

               What usually happens when we get to college (or once we’ve committed to a university) is we are given an email account within the school’s organization. This makes communication within the college much easier because you can search for the name of a professor or student, and it’s already on the contact list.

               Professors primarily use the school email to communicate with students. That means updates for the class, reminders, or any other info that the professor chooses to impart will be through your school email. Makes life easy, right? Unless you don’t check it. And therein lies the potential for college email fails.

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               There is just something about it being a school account, or an email account that makes it way less interesting to check than social media (or Netflix) when we open our laptop or unlock our phone. Seems harmless enough to ignore a couple emails, right? Until you find out the hard way what that looks like.

College Email Fails

               Wendy woke up from her midday nap to a blaring alarm. She had 30 minutes until her next class. It took her a considerable amount of willpower to lift herself from her warm, soft bed and prepare herself for class.

               Unfortunately, that willpower was slow growing. Wendy groggily moved around her room, packing her bag for class absent-mindedly and trying to remember where she kicked off her shoes. She stopped at her mirror, brushed her hair, rinsed her face, and shouldered her bag. She stopped short of her door, shaking her water bottle and realizing it was near-empty.

After filling the water bottle, she trudged toward the door again, pulling her phone from her pocket to check the time.

5 minutes to class—it was a 10-minute walk.

Panic set in and Wendy flung the door open, jogging down her hall and nearly falling down the stairs of her dorm. Her backpack smacked against her back with every step. That day was a hot one, which became painfully clear to Wendy as she gulped in air and tried to wipe the sweat from her forehead whilst running across the campus in her jeans and hoodie.

Wendy threw open the door to the classroom building and tried to nonchalantly speed-walk down the hallway to her classroom. She grabbed the handle, took a steadying deep breath to try to balance her panting, and pulled the door open.

She had an apology already coming from her mouth as she walked into… an empty room.

Wendy looked around in relief and checked the time on her phone: 1 minute past the start of class. She must’ve beaten everyone. Must be one of those days.

She picked a seat at the back of the class, pulled out her notebook, laptop, and water bottle and arranged her belongings. When she was situated, she took a few gulps of water, and leaned back in her chair, wiping what sweat was left on her face off with her sleeve and letting her racing heart calm down.

Then she waited.

And waited.

10 minutes went by, and no one showed up. Odd, Wendy thought. She opened her syllabus and scrolled to the class calendar to see if they had the day off. Nope. She shrugged and checked to see what assignments were due for the week.

Another five minutes went by, and still no one showed up.

Wendy was now steeped in confusion with a growing sense of unease, wondering what she had missed. Had the professor said something in the last class about today? She couldn’t recall.

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Finally, Wendy opened a tab and logged into her school email. A bold and highlighted line greeted her at the top of her inbox:

“No Class Today.”

Sent from her professor… An hour ago.

Your School Email

               Like Wendy, many of us have experienced college email fails. Not checking your school email can result in missing things like a cancelled class, an assignment update or changed deadline, or even a class change.

               A friend of mine once walked into a three-hour class two and a half hours late. Why? Because she missed an email the professor sent the night before changing the time of the class. What a wonderful way to learn to check your school email daily, huh?

               Unfortunately, the college email fails don’t end with missing emails. The many wonderful options that email offers leaves plenty of potential for other college fails. Such as learning to distinguish between reply all and reply to sender.

               Many emails from professors are going to be sent to the whole class. Meaning, if you are asking a clarifying question or explaining something that is meant for just the professor, make sure you hit reply to sender, or just reply, and NOT reply all. It’s never fun to find out that all your classmates know about the personal family issue you have that is keeping you from that one assignment or class because you sent it in an email blast.

               Definitely don’t include any attachments in a reply to your professor. If you are submitting an assignment via email, always compose a new email, don’t send it in a reply to an email your professor sent to the class. Don’t learn that the hard way.


               Your school email is a gift—and at times, a curse. My advice, download whatever the email app is on your phone and turn on notifications for it. Yes, it will be annoying to hear the “ding” on your phone and find out it’s just a weekly newsletter for your school. But what’s even more annoying is finding out that you missed the update for the final exam, and you now have to scramble to make up for it.

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               Do yourself a favor, make a habit of checking your school email daily, or several times a day, and skip the college email fails altogether. Make the alerts for it on your phone loud, set an alarm to check it if you have to. No, emails from your professor aren’t as fun as that story on Instagram, but trust me, moments of peace are hard to come by in college; checking your school email regularly can at least provide assurance that you aren’t missing anything new. Believe me, you’ll thank me later.

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