Monday, March 23, 2015

Asking for Help

By: Matt Ehlenbach

Being seasoned students, many of us feel as though we have the gig down.  We get the assignment, we do it, and then we turn it in, right?

While often enough things work as planned and we’re able to be pretty self-sufficient, it’s important to realize that sometimes everyone gets stuck.  Whether we don’t understand the assignment, don’t know how to get started, or are having problems understanding why something about our work just isn’t panning out, sometimes we need to reach out and ask for help (or at least a second pair of eyes).
To a lot of people, reaching out for help can feel like failing.  A lot of students don’t feel comfortable turning to professors or friends in time of need because they’re afraid they might look “stupid” or “incompetent.”  Sometimes we even worry that our problems might feel like a burden to others. 

Would it surprise you to know that asking for help can actually make you seem smarter, though? Or that many people actually like being asked for help?  According to research by professors at Harvard Business School and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, participants asked for advice were more likely to think positively of their colleagues and to rate their colleague’s performance positively. In the same study, participants reported a boost to their self-confidence when asked for help.

While asking for help can still seem like a scary thing to do, keep this in mind next time you’re not really sure where to go with one of your papers.  Reach out to your professors, talk to your friends, and most importantly keep University support services (like the AU Writing Center) in mind when you need a little extra support. 

Remember: Not only are you helping yourself, but you’re doing them a favor.


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