July 14, 2014

Asking for help solves 99 percent of your problems

We hear it every day. Go to your professor’s office hours. Don’t be afraid to ask questions whenever you’re confused. The writing center can help you.

Most of us take that advice seriously, but other students can have an ego that interferes. It can be scary to ask for help, but it feels great to be fearless!  

Here are the top three reasons asking for help solved my problems:

1.   New opportunities: The last time I asked for help gifted me with a spot in Beijing Normal University’s Language & Culture Program this summer. If you’re fortunate enough to build an extraordinary relationship with your roommate, you have one of your best resources living with you. It doesn’t have to be a professor, a teaching assistant or even an adult. If I hadn’t asked my roommate for help on my study abroad application, I would have missed the deadline. I needed signatures from various departments, and my roommate led me to each adviser.

2.   Improvement of skills: First quarter, I struggled in my writing seminar because my writing flair just wasn’t satisfying our T.A. Somewhat hurt and disappointed, I wanted to give up on my final paper. I finally decided to make an appointment with UCSD’s Writing Center the last week of the quarter. My biggest regret is not making it earlier, because the tutor who helped me was intelligent and she wasn’t scary. Our meeting lasted 20 minutes, yet I learned tips that left me encouraged to rewrite my last, painful essay. A perk about asking for help is it never takes too long and you always learn something new. I re-read my essay at least three times and recited sentences out loud that sounded awkward to fix them. And sometimes, simpler is better, so I took out long, eloquent details and made my paper much more concise.

3.   Building relationships with your teachers: If you have discussions taught by a T.A., visit them regularly! My favorite course is Mandarin because the language and characters are fascinating, but it’s complicated and time-consuming. My tones in Chinese were terrible last quarter, and my T.A. called me out on it. It was a little embarrassing, but I’m happy she did it. Before my oral final, I practiced reciting a dialogue with her at her office. She was meticulous about my tones until I recited it perfectly. I didn’t get a perfect score on my final, but that’s not the point. Asking her for help improved my speaking skills.

About Zayrha:

  • School: University of California, San Diego (UCSD)
  • Class: 2017
  • Major: International Studies
  • Outside the classroom: Zayrha enjoys writing and practicing the Chinese characters.