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Going away to college is a daunting step for most young people. They’re away from home for the first time, getting used to dorm life and a new roommate, and learning how to navigate campus. It’s a lot to take on! So it was understandable when Zoey Oxley, a freshman at Ohio University, totally blanked on her professor’s name when turning in a paper on Tuesday.
The only problem was Oxley’s creative placeholder while she composed her paper, which she forgot to swap out before submitting it.
Drum roll, please!
Oxley later told BuzzFeed News that she’s always been really bad with names. “So, when I was writing the paper, I blanked on the professor’s name and filled it in with ‘Professor whats his nuts,’ just as a placeholder,” she said.
She tried to resubmit the paper with the professor’s name, but she wasn’t able to. Understandably mortified, Oxley frantically emailed her professor.
“I am writing this email very embarrassingly,” she wrote in the email. “As I began writing my paper, I wrote out the template. Unfortunately I could not remember your name, so I filled it with something completely unprofessional.”
“I hope this does not reflect what you think of me and that the next assignment I can address by the correct name,” she concluded, adding again that she was terribly sorry about the mistake.
Thankfully her professor, first-year MFA student teacher John Hendel, had a good sense of humor about it, even changing his Twitter handle to “Professor what’s his nuts.”
At first, he skimmed her email and didn’t think much of it. The following day when he was grading papers, he quickly understood the reason for her embarrassment.
A student emailed me, profusely apologizing for getting my name wrong at the top of their paper, and I was like, “Thanks, whatever, nbd.” Then I got to their paper and saw their instructor was “Professor whats his nuts”
— Professor whats his nuts (@Hendyhendel) September 19, 2018
When Oxley saw Hendel’s tweet, she posted her own version. Both tweets subsequently went viral.
A series of unfortunate events: pic.twitter.com/xSnT0JTYPV
— zo !!! (@Zoeyoxley) September 20, 2018
As people began retweeting Oxley, they cringed along with her.
I would have flung myself off a bridge https://t.co/tiQCYXJgbU
— Lauren Dock 🐯 (@ldock12) September 21, 2018
dear student: I feel you and also lmao https://t.co/VRX3kiAxjg
— ANBU Slack Ops (@hayBEARS) September 19, 2018
Im screaming https://t.co/er3Mj2dlCx
— lauren (@nuggs_ova_drugs) September 22, 2018
*spits out tea* https://t.co/Ld6JL2aPZR
— Malia A. Lesang – The Deranged Prophet (@Maliaplierre) September 21, 2018
I'VE BEEN CACKLING IN MY ROOM FOR THE LAST FIVE MINUTES https://t.co/6E4jm2DLeI
— ruth (@felicitysrnoaks) September 21, 2018
I'm still laughing at least 2 minutes later https://t.co/Q2eaKFSnMo
— Mackenzie Brynn Rap (@Mackenzie_B_Rap) September 21, 2018
ym actual worst nightmare https://t.co/pGpCRs8fpm
— annika #repSYDNEY (@lovetheviewtay) September 21, 2018
Others let her know that she wasn’t alone:
This is like the one time i submitted a paper and the document was titled "shit ass philosophy paper" https://t.co/iXXFqJKOgT
— 🦋 (@notcourtneymaye) September 21, 2018
A partner in a law firm I worked at received a letter with the salutation "Dear Asshole."
Of course, it could not have been more accurate. https://t.co/Ew9twavill
— Scott K. Petersen (@ScottPetersenJD) September 21, 2018
I did this with a paper title in college. pulled an all nighter, put together the differenthe section's in a file titled "Prof_X_Stupid_Boring_Class_Assignment_Complete.Doc"
Forgot to change it. https://t.co/zcHV7dDJ82
— Alfred J. Vim IV (@HillSpiaire) September 21, 2018
One time I turned in a document titled "Fuck this class in the ass" https://t.co/5Se3ZodABj
— Gaby (@gabyCatLady) September 21, 2018
This is hilarious. Zoey, it’s okay! These things happen and professors have absolutely seen worse. https://t.co/mft8rd9Bix
— Dianna E. Anderson 🏳️🌈 (@diannaeanderson) September 21, 2018
Oxley hasn’t had class with Hendel since their respective tweets went viral and said that she honestly doesn’t know if she’s dreading or looking forward to facing him. For his part, Hendel said he’s “basically going to act like nothing happened.”
Given all the attention they’ve gotten, we wish them best of luck with that!
Stacey Ritzen is a reporter and editor based in West Philadelphia with over 10 years' experience covering pop culture, web culture, entertainment, and news. You can follow her on Twitter @staceyritzen.