- Last Thursday, college sophomore Kade Walker tweeted a screenshot of a hilarious email exchange between him and one of his professors, Dr. David Wiltse.
- In the email, Walker asked his professor if he could take his final the next day, and Dr. Wiltse responded with one word, written all in lowercase: “whatever.”
- The tweet instantly went viral, and other students started sharing similar email exchanges with their own professors.
- Dr. Wiltse explained to INSIDER that he often responds to students with brief replies to deal with the sheer volume of emails he gets every day.
- Walker is also one of his favorite students, and the tweets they’ve exchanged since have all been in good fun.
A 19-year-old sophomore at South Dakota State University is going viral for something most college students can relate to. Last Thursday, Kade Walker tweeted a screenshot of an email exchange between him and one of his professors, Dr. David Wiltse.
In the post, Walker prefaced the screenshot with a joke about the common advice high schoolers get to “always be professional and respectful” to their “very serious” instructors in college. While this is good advice — you should definitely
learn how to correspond appropriately with your professors — any college student can tell you that some instructors are far from the “very serious” caricatures they’re made out to be.
For example, in Walker’s case, he emailed Dr. Wiltse asking if it was still OK for him to take his final in research methods the next day at noon. His professor responded with one word, written in all lowercase: “whatever.”
The hilarious exchange quickly went viral, racking up over 186,000 likes since Thursday. And when Dr. Wiltse saw Walker’s tweet trending, he responded with a joke of his own. “The feeling when your words go viral, and your punk student doesn’t cite his source,” the professor wrote.
But this verbal sparring was all in good fun.
As Dr. Wiltse tweeted, he was “apathetic out of affection” — Kade is actually one of his “favorite” students. The professor, who specializes in American politics, comparative politics, and political behavior, told INSIDER in an email that Walker is a “good student” who has taken a few of his classes.
The professor, who was “absolutely stunned” when Walker’s tweet started trending, emphasized that he and his colleagues have “nothing but warm feelings and respect” for their students.
“We as a department and political science faculty take our relationships with students very seriously,” Dr. Wiltse said. “They are why we teach, and what we love most about our jobs.”
Dr. Wiltse also explained to INSIDER that he often responds to students with brief replies to deal with the sheer volume of emails he gets every day. “I get between 100 to 200 emails per day during the semester,” the professor said. “I don’t have a lot of time to spend on these. So I’m fairly terse in the replies I give. I’m very straightforward with students about this, and for the most part, they understand.”
And judging by the viral responses to Walker’s original tweet, Dr. Wiltse is far from alone.
Since Thursday, many college students have shared their own hilarious email exchanges with their professors, BuzzFeed News reported.
Twitter user Kiana Green, for example, received a familiar response when she emailed one of her own professors. “Like, whatever,” the professor replied when Green asked him when she should hand in her paper.
Another Twitter user named Nipao shared the funny response her professor had when she asked to go over a few questions from a recent exam.
A Twitter user named Sydney had a similar experience with her professor after asking about a meeting time.
And one Twitter user named Sanya shared a short but sweet text exchange between her and one of her professors. “My professor gave us her number and told us to text her if we’re skipping class/going to be late,” Sanya tweeted.
“She’s such a sweet professor honestly,” Sanya told INSIDER.
INSIDER has reached out to Kade Walker and the students named above for comment.
Sign up here to get INSIDER’s favorite stories straight to your inbox.