But a student named Rachel Harriman at Ohio State University took a different approach: brutal honesty.
When she couldn't get an assignment done because she went through a breakup the night before it was due, she bashfully told her professor the whole story.
Then she shared the email on Twitter.
"how are classes going" "how is your life" pic.twitter.com/7GOXFFI7U6— Rachel Harriman (@rachel_harry8) February 21, 2017
I am so sorry for how late I am submitting this synopsis," she wrote. "My boyfriend unexpectedly broke up with me yesterday evening and I was a complete, unfocused mess who did not account for such a time consuming hiccup to affect my Sunday productivity. This will obviously not happen again, as I am no longer 'in a relationship' and will have no one to break up with me next Sunday.
The tweet went viral and lots of people are tweeting support and encouragement. Although it seems like most just want to be her new boyfriend.
@rachel_harry8 cause I can't type, the next time I see you out I'll buy a round of drinks on me for your vagina ex boyfriend :)— Papi Chulo (@odagled21) February 21, 2017
And at least one person is willing to help her get payback against her ex.
This guy thinks she could make a career out of excuse-making.
@rachel_harry8 This is gold Rachel!!. Can I hire you to start writing my emails to my Professors???— Brendan McAndrews (@bmcandrews33) February 21, 2017
But the best part of this story is the professor's reply, which Harriman shared with Buzzfeed:
"Dear Rachel," he wrote. "Well, life happens. Seems like a good time to go to Europe."
Damn. This professor is either the coolest ever or one of those ones who seems cool until you get the paper back and find out they marked you down 50% for lateness which is so unfair because someone STOLE MY SHOES, OKAY!?!? I still can not believe that professor did not believe me.