Grow the h*ll up: Answer your d*mn email

Don’t just stare at your emails, read them too! Photo courtesy of Getty Images


Adulting: it sucks. What does it even mean to be professional and grown? Ask most people and they’ll give you some ambiguous answer about being a parent, taxes and the dreaded nine-to-five, but there is one thing that proves your maturity. 

It’s answering your email. 

Okay, it’s also learning how to ask for help when you need it, communicating your needs and setting boundaries. These are all vital tools in your kit of adulting. 

A good start is downloading Outlook onto your phone, turning on notifications and reading the messages. Now couple that with time management skills, a strong work ethic and professional mannerisms and you’re good to go. 

Writing emails can suck. I sympathize with that. For me, what’s helped is focusing on the satisfying sound of the keyboard clacking and clicking the signature button before hitting send. It’s like a game, and God knows our generation likes games. 

It boils down to respect and responsibility. It’s incredibly frustrating when you send someone an important email and they don’t respond, or even read it at all. And yes, I understand that everyone is busy and has their own lives; I know that people aren’t going to drop what they are doing just to respond to an email. 

It’s not simply a lack of response that irks me to my core, but also when people don’t know how to write an email professionally. I recognize that many were not taught how to in school but now is the perfect time to learn and forge those habits. 

In addition to learning how to read, respond to and write an email, it’s important to learn boundaries as well. 

Junior creative writing major Jillian Hagerty emphasizes the importance of checking her email in her busy life, but also making sure that she isn’t stressing about it. 

“You need to find the boundaries of ‘What is me taking a step away to protect my peace and sanity?’’’ Hagerty said. “And ‘What is me being irresponsible and just not taking any action?’” 

Carving out at least one part of your day to sit down and read your email is essential to succeeding as a student and as an adult. I keep my Outlook notifications on my phone turned on to make sure I never miss an important email. Check your email in that super boring lecture you have three times a week or while you’re rotting in bed — I know you’re already on your phone. 

Our generation is always on our phones, between social media and games, our screen times have reached egregious numbers. Despite the fact that we constantly have our noses in our phones, our priorities don’t lie in checking our emails. 

Being a college student is hard and it sucks sometimes. It’s dizzying and draining and it’s easy to shut down and blame professors, especially when there is no open line of communication. 

Instead of blaming them, why not let them know what’s going on? You might be surprised how accommodating they can be. 

Felicia Williams, a lecturer in the College of Education, is a firm advocate for professor-student communication and understanding that professors can’t read minds. 

“I think the thing that would be great is if students understood the importance of communicating with instructors when they have outside issues going on or personal issues,” Williams said. “You have to be willing to share if you want some grace extended to you. I think they forget sometimes that we’re humans and we have feelings and stuff like that too. We’re not all mean and grumpy.” 

Professors are scary and it’s hard to ask for help, I understand. But, communication is a vital part of success not only in academia but in the real world as well. 

Letting a professor know that you need an extension on an assignment, you’re struggling with a concept or not understanding the rubric — especially via a professional email — shows them that you’re trying and that you respect them. 

This all boils back down to being open with your colleagues, peers and professors; we’re all human, we understand. 

Butler has many resources to help current students, faculty and alumni grow into their professionalism and success. Personally, I am overwhelmed when I think about how many resources are available to me sometimes; we are incredibly privileged to have all of this. 

Only this year have I really started to utilize these resources, and boy do I wish I started sooner. 

Nii Abrahams, director of the first-year experience, brings up how important mentorship is, both formal and informal, at the college level. 

“Working with first-year students has reminded me that it really is a runway,” Abrahams said. “There is no handbook for adulting; you just kind of figure it out as you go … Part of my job, on a campus level is how do we empower faculty and staff to be those guides for those students as well, because I think this generation wants mentorship, and wants people that they can trust and reach out to and ask those questions.” 

Mentorship is an essential part of learning how to communicate with other people. Whether it looks like simply having a conversation or learning how to communicate professionally, mentorship lays the foundation for strong adulting habits. 

Butler has some awesome opportunities for mentorship, formal and informal. Some professional resources include the Student Success Center, the Center for Academic Success and Exploration Office (CASE) and the Career and Professional Success Office (CaPS). Some informal resources include Greek life, Student Orientation Guides and club leadership roles. Asking for help is scary and feels bittersweet, however, a vital part of adulting is asking for help when you need it — it doesn’t make you any less independent. 

Professionalism and adulting — they suck and are uncharted territory for us. College is a space for us to start developing and nurturing professional habits, like emailing people and communicating fruitfully. I’m going to lose my mind if people don’t start being professional. 

Grow the h*ll up and ask for help when you need it. 

But also, read your d*mn email.


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