Staff Opinion: When you need help, ask
Haley Grant is a reporter for The Beacon.
As a graduating senior, I’ve realized that making mistakes is a part of life. I’m not perfect, but I try to believe mistakes will help me become a more knowledgeable person. Once I’ve made a mistake, I’m probably never going to make it again. I’ve learned from my mistakes, and I will apply my knowledge to similar situations in the future.
Learning to ask for help isn’t easy. But eventually we all find ourselves in positions where we need help. Sometimes we’re unsure of our abilities, or we don’t quite understand what’s being asked of us.
When I first start a job, sometimes I don’t ask for help when I need it because I don’t want to inconvenience anyone, or I feel like I should just be able to figure it out on my own. Because I have this mindset, I make little mistakes that could have been prevented if I had just swallowed my pride and let someone help me.
I try to keep this in mind when I start new things. I don’t want to wait until my ignorance or incompetence becomes a problem. Instead, I try to seek out help from my superiors and people I trust the first moment I feel unsure.
Here’s an example: I had never asked for an extension on a paper until last semester. It was weird asking to submit a paper after the due date. I felt really needy, and in a way like I was cheating. I felt like I shouldn’t ask for help because other students had budgeted their time correctly, or were better writers than myself. If other people could get their paper in on time, then I should too.
I was comparing myself to other people. I used other student’s progress as a benchmark to compare to myself, instead of considering my own needs. When I finally started to consider my needs and asked for an extension, I felt guilty.
The amount of time I spent drafting and obsessing over that email could have been constructive paper writing time. But I knew I needed another 24 hours, and I also knew the worst thing that could possibly happen was my professor would say no.
Actually, the worst thing that could happen is your professor responds with a cryptic “I’ll think about it...” email, and then the next day announces to the class he’s giving everyone an extension on the paper because you, specifically, asked for it.
At the time, I was embarrassed my classmates knew I had asked for an extension. But I’ve since realized two things. First of all, I shouldn’t care what other people think of me. Second of all, they were probably happy to get an extension and were grateful that I had asked for it.
This experience made me reflect on my life as a student. I thought about the time I got a low grade on my philosophy paper or struggled to understand what was expected of me at my internship. I wondered how my life would be different if I was less stubborn and had the courage to ask for help.
So, in conclusion, you should try to ask for help more often, before you make mistakes you’ll wish you could take back.
Haley Grant is a reporter for The Beacon. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.