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Illustration by Vivi Zhu

Burnt-out Professor Asks Students for Extension

Dear class: I am, as you say, straight up not having a good time right now.

Nov 1, 2020

Editor’s Note: This article is a contribution to The Gazelle’s satire column.
Last Wednesday, a strange mixture of confusion, empathy and relief swept over an unsuspecting political science class. Nervously opening their inboxes, the students found a most peculiar request. Their professor, Kant Evenrytnow, had asked for an extension on their latest paper.
“Dear class, I am, as you say, straight up not having a good time,” began Evenrytnow. “My children are bouncing off the walls, the pandemic only seems to be accelerating and the peep of hope I got from Jacinda Ardern’s re-election has all but faded. Quite frankly, grading your papers is at the bottom of my emotional priority list. Could you not turn them in for a couple more days? It’d be a big help :’-).”
While somewhat perplexed by this topsy-turvy role-reversal, plenty of Evenrytnow’s students — especially those yet to even look at the prompt — were more than happy to honor this request. But despite facing many of the same universal stressors, several hardliners made like C2’s “automatic” doors refused to budge.
“The best I can do is 24 hours,” said Barry Lowbar, Class of 2023. “I wrote this paper on 30 minutes of sleep, half a cup of boba and the overwhelming sense of terror one experiences when their homeland chooses to abolish the human rights it finds inconvenient to protect. Still, I held up my end of the deal. How hard is it to scroll to the bottom and type the letter ‘B’?”
While Lowbar’s reaction may be stern, most of Evenrytnow’s students seem willing to go along with the scheme. After all, just 10 hours after posting on Zoom Memes for Self-Quaranteens, a screenshot of the email had amassed 8.8k likes – more than enough hollow validation to substitute for any response paper grade.
Professor Evenrytnow is not alone. Countless faculty members have expressed similar feelings of despair, exhaustion and faltering motivation. By the looks of it, burnout may unite the classroom more than it divides.
“We are likewise dismayed by the remote learning experience,” explained music professor Houduyudu Felokids. “We agree wholeheartedly that, indeed, this does not slap.”
“We resent the admin even more than you do,” explained math professor Dys Gruntle. “We’re just too jaded to openly complain about it. Sure, maybe we find some of your Gazelle articles a bit entitled, but we definitely get where you’re coming from.”
Some faculty, however, were a bit more defensive on the issue.
“You think you have zoom fatigue?” said physics professor Tuwold Fordishit. “When you look at the screen all you have to deal with is my disheveled hair and nasally voice. When I look at the screen I am staring into the abyss. Twenty muted boxes, most of which don’t even have a face to empathize with. I get that you do not have the energy to give me anything more than a — perhaps misleading — thumbs-up emoji during pre-class check-ins, but still… not exactly a morale booster.”
In the face of such an unforgiving world, other faculty cling to their classroom as the one area of life offering even the slightest illusion of control.
“All in the past 24 hours,” piped professor Kom Partamentalisashun, “there was a coup d'etat in my home country, my brother got diagnosed with cancer and I woke up to find my carpet soaked with cat pee. But will any of that stop me from teaching you organic chemistry? Of course not – professionals have standards!”
The most measured response, if perhaps the least satisfying, came from Nosolushuns Onlitraydofz. Speaking as both an Economics Professor and Vice Provost For Whatever-It-Is-That-Vice-Provosts-Actually-Do, Onlitraydofz offered these final words of solidarity:
“Despite the many pressures that cause us to stumble, all across NYU Abu Dhabi, students, faculty and staff continue to display an earnest commitment to realizing the best education possible (even if we wish that best were better). The first half of fall was hard; the second half will be too. At times that difficulty is intensely personal, but it will never cease to be foundationally collective. Everyone wants, and may genuinely need, extensions – admin included. May we all be generous, but always responsible, when answering each other's requests.”
Ian Hoyt is a columnist. Email him at
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