Emma Puftahl – Opinion Columnist
Hello my fellow Gusties. I hope the end of the semester is treating you well. I know we all are quite busy and that’s exactly why I wanted to talk to all of you about this very *important* topic. I call it “if I get one more [duplicate] email, I’m going to scream.”
As college students, emails are a staple in communication between peers, professors and faculty. How else are we supposed to know that class is now on Zoom instead of in-person twenty minutes before class starts? The good old note on the door? Not a chance. While this is a good use of email, I think that many of us would agree that getting the same exact email, or at least the same exact information in an email repeatedly, is not a good use of this form of communication.
Way back when I was a bright-eyed, and bushy-tailed first-year, I used to actually read every email I received. I used to think that ‘they wouldn’t send me useless emails.’ As I got more established at Gustavus, I found that this was no longer true. Especially once COVID hit. Yes, they are telling us important information, usually, but I do not want to read the same email more than once.
I’m not sure I should admit this, but I now delete 75 percent of emails I receive without reading more than the subject line. Should I take the blame for this? Probably. I probably should just own up to this, but I have to admit that I truly cannot blame myself for this not-so-good habit. Once you get more than five emails with the exact same information and nothing new, you start to lose your faith in the ‘sanctity’ in emails. I truly cannot express my absolute frustration and anger when I would spend the time to read the very, very long COVID update email, for it to not add anything new or benefit me in any way. Or I spend the time reading these essays of emails that only have one small update at the very end of the email.
I understand why reminder emails are necessary, I have relied on them as reminders in the past. But when I get more than one reminder email, I delete them as soon as they hit my inbox. I even delete some of the ‘update’ emails as soon as I get them, because I know that there isn’t a real update to report.
I get notifications for my Gustavus email, which used to be fine and dandy, but I’ve greatly considered turning it off. But every time I’m tempted, I get a real update or real urgent email and keep it on. Keeping it on allowed me to sign up for a COVID vaccine that was in Mankato instead of an hour and a half drive away. It is also how I found out we were going home for two weeks in March of 2020 (or so we thought). It’s almost like Gustavus knows when I’m about to throw in the towel and turn off notifications, so they send me something new or urgent so I delay shutting off notifications.
I find that credibility of an email significantly decreases if it is too repetitive. As with glitter, less is more. I am significantly more likely to delete all emails from a certain person or department on campus if they are flagged in my brain as someone who is guilty of this. If there is only new information once every ten emails, why would I want to open the email? The daily reminder emails make emails less official and more like texting. I don’t want an email unless it is valuable information. I would bet if we went to a student who doesn’t clean out their inbox, well over two-thirds of the emails are just repeat or junk emails.
I’m pretty sure that some of my grievances are relatable to most Gusties, or at least the Gusties that actually check and keep up with their emails. Everything is already so overwhelming and hard to keep track of, I don’t need more information clogging up my inbox. Please only email us when necessary, when there are real updates to report (also put the new information first in the email if it is crucial information, most of us are not reading the essay of an email anyway, sorry), and limit reminder emails to at a maximum of two times. Please stop sending me duplicate emails.