I'm a pre-university individual.

About a week ago I cold-emailed university professors inquiring about interning at their biology research labs. A professor replied on the same day expressing possibility of an interview. He also made it clear it would be unpaid - which, after some thought, I've decided I'm fine with. Long story short, I was stupid and indecisive, and only emailed him back a week later, with an email looking along the lines of:

Dear Associate Professor X,

I'm really sorry for the delayed response; I’d hoped to get back to you sooner. I've thought about this. I very much am grateful for your kind willingness to consider and would be pleased to meet up with you to better present myself, and work something out together.

If it's not too late, when would you be free to meet? I promise not to dillydally again. I am free this entire week. Just let me know a time that works best for you.

Yours sincerely,

Las Nons

It's been about 2 days since I sent this reply, and he hasn't gotten back to me. When he first replied to me, it was on the same day I had sent him my first email.

Looking at my reply, I realize I forgot to thank him (for his time and consideration) at the end of the email. Ending my email off the way I did could have made me seem entitled/presumptuous.

Dear reader, was my reply rude/presumptuous? I'm really worried I've offended him somehow. I'm thinking of waiting a day more, then sending him a follow-up email that includes an apology or something. Should I?

Is this a gone case? What could I do to salvage this?

Thank you all for any input.

  • 6
    I think it is safe to just wait a bit. 2 days is nothing.
    – Buffy
    Apr 2, 2020 at 18:56
  • @Buffy Do you think I sounded entitled/presumptuous in my reply email to him?
    – Las Nons
    Apr 2, 2020 at 19:02
  • 4
    I think it was fine. Saying thanks would have been better, but it sounds ok overall as you sent it. I don't think that trying to "fix" it with another email would necessarily be positive, actually. You did take a week to reply yourself, of course. Give it a few more days.
    – Buffy
    Apr 2, 2020 at 19:05
  • Since comments get deleted, I turned it into a proper answer.
    – Buffy
    Apr 2, 2020 at 20:08
  • 2
    The only thing rude about that E-mail is addressing the recipient as "Associate Professor X." The correct term of address is always "Professor X," regardless of someone's technical job title
    – Buzz
    Apr 3, 2020 at 0:56

2 Answers 2


The message you sent has a sufficiently professional tone that I wouldn't worry about it. While it would be better in general to thank the person for their interest it doesn't seem like a big issue here. In particular since you were a bit self deprecating in your tone.

But a couple of days is nothing in academic time. That is always true, but especially now when people may be struggling with finding creative ways to teach without having student present. Since the offer wouldn't become "live" until August you have some time to wait.

  • I guess the answer would profit from specifying "some time". I would consider to ask again 2-3 weeks later just saying that the email might have been lost. If it is term time for the professor give them 2 extra weeks; if the professor does not teach currently, you can wait less, i.e. write again in 1-2 weeks.
    – user122146
    Apr 2, 2020 at 21:39
  • Thank you @Buffy. This internship wouldn't start in August though; I'd be able to commit immediately and it would have to end by August. Right now I've finished what is the equivalent of US high school, and am an unemployed bum. I know this seems trivial/OCD to many, but I really hope I haven't offended/made a bad impression on him. In any case, though, my country just announced a one-month lockdown, so there goes my hopes and dreams, sigh.. Thank you again. Take care..
    – Las Nons
    Apr 3, 2020 at 11:16

It may be country-dependent, but in the UK academic staff is now increasingly involved in research effort aimed at tackling the ongoing epidemic. With Universities restricting face to face interactions and closing down campuses, it is a good chance that all non-essential activities, such as internships, will be put on hold until the situation improves.

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