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Me? Asking for Help?

Hannah talks about asking questions and looking for answers during her first term of college.

Hannah talks about asking questions and looking for answers during her first term of college.

When people think of “scary” in the month of October, they often think of everything that has to do with Halloween. Personally, while at Carleton, I’ve been thinking of *dramatic gasp* MIDTERMS. Though midterm week (and break) has come and gone, I can say it was quite the experience. While some of my midterms went really well, others (ahem… economics) did not go nearly as well as I was hoping.

So what did I do?

Going to be honest, I did not handle it all that well right away. My econ class has been pretty hard for me (I blame the math involved). When I got my exam back from my professor, I wasn’t shocked by the score, as I had been a bit confused by some of the test questions. Still, I couldn’t help but feel dismayed by the result.

One thing that has been rather difficult for me–and not just at Carleton–is asking for help when I need it. I think I have the irrational fear that making a mistake indicates that I’m not smart or capable, when in reality it’s human and shows that I’m learning and have another opportunity to grow. As my advisor told me, “If you knew everything, you would have no reason to come here.” And he is right! Why would I go to college if I already knew everything? I am here to learn, not to be correct.

Office Hours

Anyway, back to my midterm grade. Yikes! I was not happy with my score, and I knew what I had to do. I had to attend office hours *another dramatic gasp* and actually talk to my professor! When I first went to office hours, I couldn’t help but feel intimated. What if my professor thought I was fool and didn’t know anything?

I could not have been more incorrect. I am sure that your experience with office hours  depends on the professor, but the process for microeconomics usually involves me going up to the whiteboard to start drawing out the problem I am convinced I don’t understand. About halfway through the explanation of my confusion, I tend to realize my mistake and my professor doesn’t really have to do anything. That lesson alone has taught me so much already. If you can’t figure out a problem, talk it out and try to explain why you don’t get it. Usually when you break it down, you end up realizing your mistake.

Importantly, I have come to realize that professors are super nice and interesting people. Office hours actually can be pretty fun, and–dare I say it–I look forward to them. You can ask individualized questions and get a deeper understanding of what you are learning in class. The best part is that professors really want to help you understand the content. I once talked to my econ professor for an hour and a half in one session, which is basically the duration of an entire class period.

Other Resources?

After I had the epiphany that asking for help is, well, helpful, I decided to check out the other resources that I have been ignoring. Though I was already going to office hours and prefect sessions for my economics class, I decided to look into improving my writing skills.

Luckily, we have a Writing Center just waiting to be used! While I currently make appointments with my writing assistant for my Argument and Inquiry class, many students say that it’s generally a great resource. Essentially, there are so many resources available on campus for whatever help you are looking for, whether it is mental health support, academic support, or anything in-between.

Moral of the story: reach out for help! Things can only get better. (At least, I hope they can–my next economics exam is coming up pretty soon…)

Hannah is a freshman interested in Political Science and learning as much as she can about whatever she can. Born and raised in Minnesota, she considers herself somewhat of an expert on MN winters. She can’t wait for ice skating on the Bald Spot and Nordic skiing in the Arb, along with exploring all of the other amazing opportunities and activities on campus! When Hannah isn’t in class, she can be found reading, running for the Carleton Track team, watching TikToks, and tutoring with the Northfield Read and Counts Program. Meet the other bloggers!