I'm an undergraduate senior seeking to continue on into academia, and one of the avenues I'm pursuing to accomplish this is through an NSF GRFP proposal. I spent well over a hundred hours agonizing over every word of this, and I'm happy to have three professors that I've done research with who agreed to write my letter of recs.
The deadline for these letters is just a week away, and over the course of the past three weeks, one of my professors stopped responding to my emails, as he is prone to do on occasion when he gets busy. In the past, I had a negative experience where a careless professor forgot to submit a letter on time and this led to my sophomore study abroad proposal being returned without review. In this context, I sent the following email to his secretary (names redacted):
I wanted to inquire about an issue I'm having with Prof. [professor] at the moment. I asked him a number of weeks ago to write me a letter of recommendation for my NSF proposal (due November 2nd), to which he kindly agreed. He asked me for various things, including my transcript and statement of purpose, which I provided. Unfortunately, since then, I haven't been able to contact him in any way. I've sent him three emails over the past two weeks with no response. It is extremely important to me that this letter actually gets sent in; to put it bluntly, it's my future that's on the line here. I have in the past encountered the terrible experience of having a professor miss a similarly non-negotiable deadline, and I suffered from the loss of that opportunity as a result. I would greatly appreciate it if you could gently remind him of the deadline and ask him to confirm that he did indeed receive all of the application materials I sent him. If he needs anything else from me, I am more than happy to send it to him.
Thank you very much,
Of course, the first thing she does is forwards this email directly to my professor, even though it was never written with his eyes in mind. I'm now worried that my professor (with whom I otherwise have a good relationship) will think less of me and write a poorer letter of rec on my behalf. I was wondering how academics would feel if they were put in a similar spot, and if I ought to be proactive in rectifying the situation, or if I should just let sleeping dogs lie.
A Socially Anxious Student