“Can I meet with you, Dr. Wilson?”

This was also published by The Houston Chronicle on 1 December in the Gray Matters section:


TO: dmwilson@hbu.edu
FROM: ksmith@hotmail.com

Dear Dr. Wilson,

Hey, how’s it going?  I hope you had a GREAT Thanksgiving.  Sorry I wasn’t in class on Wednesday afternoon, but I had already bought my plane ticket the first week of class to meet my friends in Dallas for Thanksgiving, because Southwest was having a sale, so it was nonrefundable and all.   Plus, I just couldn’t believe that we had class on Wednesday.  Anyway, I left a message on your office voice mail on Friday telling you why I was gone–hope you got it!  I am really worried about my research paper.  I know you talked to me about improving my vocabulary, but whenever I use bigger words or words I don’t really use normally, my papers sound fake. Fake, fake, fake.  So I think I should write the way I think FOR REAL.  Do we really need outside sources, or can it be, like, our own thoughts?  And can I use “I” in my paper, since it is my personal opinion?  I think it makes it more personal. If I read what other people think about my topic, then really, is it MY paper anymore?  I wouldn’t want to plagiarize anything, and once it is in your head, then you have it in your head, even if you cannot remember where you got it.  Thanks.

Also, someone in the class told me we had JOURNALS due the last week of class…that you assigned them the first week, but you know I added late, so I must have missed that. Anyway, an entry for each thing we read?  Like, the whole term?  And what is that, a summary?  I will try to get that to you.  Also, are we having a review session outside of class before the final?  Because I missed that whole week on Crime and Punishment for my cousin’s wedding, and it’s kind of long.  Are you giving us the questions in advance for the final, and I know you said no ids or short answer, and no matching and no multiple choice, so what is left?  I just wanted to apologize for that other week in October when I left class early every day, but I was kind of going through something with my boyfriend, and so I had to make sure I was all the way across campus to run into him right when HIS class got out at 2:50–just like in Pride and Prejudice when the mom has to make sure those daughters are at the right party at the right time and everything.  So anyway, I also need to see if you would be willing to be my adviser, because I really do not think the psychology thing is going to work out.  After reading all those odes by Keats, and seeing how depressed he was, I just do not think I am cut out to be a mental health professional.  Everything really upset him, and he just went on and on about it, but I really think he should have tried to have more fun.  Instead, I think I want to teach high school. Either English, K-6, or maybe Biology.

Also, if you are my new adviser, I need a pin number from you so I can register, and could you tell my psychology adviser I am switching?  I don’t want to hurt his feelings. What are you teaching next term?  Maybe if it is on Tuesday/Thursday, I can take something with you.  I am trying to take ONLY classes on Tuesday/Thursday.  This every day thing is just too much.  Also, can you write me a recommendation for an internship I am applying for?  I need someone who really knows my work.

Well, I know this is a super-long email, but I really need to meet with you by tomorrow, since we only have two days of class left.  I can meet between noon and 2.  Does that work for you?  You can email me at gmail, yahoo, or hotmail, but not university email because I never check that.  Or, you can text me.  Christopher in class said our final was the last day, but that totally messes up my Christmas travel plans, so can I take it early? That would be great.

Even though I got a “C’ on my last paper, and I thought it was totally unfair, and I might even protest it if my final grade does not work out, I have really enjoyed your class!!!

Have a great day!

Your Student

P.S.  When will you have our final papers graded? (not the final exams–just the long papers). Thanks!

30 responses to ““Can I meet with you, Dr. Wilson?””

  1. When K. Smith finishes school and comes to work for me In the real world, it will be, like, a total pleasure to fire him, or her… Whatever.

  2. Please, please, *please* tell me this is a work of fiction you created. (Please.) Otherwise, there’s no hope for this person. Yet another casualty of helicopter parenting.

    PS: Please.

  3. Dear Joe,

    As Picasso said, “fiction is the lie that tells the truth.” This is just sort of a composite of student interactions I have had over about a year–names have been changed to protect, uh, many. 😉

  4. But Joe–I have many wonderful students too–read my post called “The Elixir of Love” about my students in twentieth century literature–they are the best!

  5. Dr. Wilson,

    I would love to see YOUR response to this email. God bless you for putting up with this. As comical as it is, I can’t imagine dealing with students such as K.Smith. But, you are terrific! I hope all is well with you. 🙂

      • I’m not ashamed to admit that I sent an email or two like this back in the day…only to Dr. Wilson, of course 🙂 Don’t worry Nina, Stephen will continue picking on us even though it’s been over 2 years since we took that Romantic Lit. class. And that Life Writing class. And that Continental Lit class. And….

  6. Maybe it’s because I’m the child of a teacher, but I would have NEVER left a note like this for any of my college or grad school professors! What does she want her prof to do next, wipe her butt for her?? Unacceptable.

  7. I can handle the ksmiths of the world because I had many more Nina Harrisons in my classes! So great to hear from you NIna! But then we always had awesome students in our classes!! ksmith is a composite–no student could do all that in ONE email! 🙂

  8. This is hilarious! I must say my favorite is the comparison to Pride and Prejudice…brilliant! I always enjoy the anecdotes from professors. Sometimes I am amazed by the people we allow to attend universities in this country. Nina and I could tell you some horror stories about some of the high school students we tried to “recruit” when we worked for the admissions department.

  9. I would laugh and say that “this can’t be true.” However, after attending community college for a year, I know that it is, sadly, all too true! Wow is RIGHT…where are the adults that are attending school??? I’ve only met a couple…

  10. reading this in a very quiet coffee shop right now, and i can barely contain my laughter. love the cumulative blahblah of your student. way too funny and exactly what i needed to read right now. thank you xx ps more please!

  11. Fantastic! (alas.)

    I knew it was a fictional composite because, among other things, it had a proper salutation. If I had a dime for every email I received to “Dear Dr Hordway”….

  12. Lump it all into one wall of text, cut out several of those commas, and toss in a couple more “likes” and you’ve got every text an 8th grader has sent me this semester…

    Students don’t change much over the years, eh?

    • No. Just be prepared. Like a Boy Scout, be prepared. :-). You just never know what is going to show up in your inbox!!!

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