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“halp” pt. 1: I get knocked down/But I get up again

 Written by    December 22, 2016

Now that I’m a senior, I feel like I can go around handing out advice. Here’s something I wish I had learned earlier: ask dumb questions.

Yeah, ask dumb questions.

No matter how smart you are in high school, you’ll feel dumb in college at some point*. I went from being the high-honors, 5-on-all-the-AP-exams girl to getting two Cs in a row in math classes my freshman year.

don’t I wish I had one of these for life

You will feel lost and not smart, but you should embrace it. Be open about the fact that you know that you just don’t know what’s going on.

YouTuber Sabrina (NerdyAndQuirky) is in her first year of university (as the Canadians call it) and made a video that sums up how freeing it is to go from being “the smart kid” to, well, not-the-smartest kid.

Being able to mess up and be dumb is freeing. But recognizing that alone is not going to help you—recognizing that you don’t know what’s going on is just the first step to fixing it.

Options for “fixing it” include:

  • Raising your hand and asking a “dumb” question. Pretty much every time someone’s asked the prof to clarify or review a basic point in class, I’m glad they asked because I was also confused.
  • Making friends within your class or major who are smarter than you—or at least are good at things you’re bad at. (Note that I did not say mooch off of people who are smarter than you; I said make friends with them. :))
  • Going to office hours or the TA help room or the resource center. Sometimes professors are way better teachers when you can ask them specific questions and get immediate feedback from them.

Me and my diffEQ professor at office hours, WHICH YOU SHOULD GO TO

TAs have to have office hours or work in the help room; they’d love for students to actually come and ask them questions instead of feeling like it’s a waste of their time. I ended up always doing my calc homework in the Math Stat Learning Center so I could ask for help from a TA or classmate anytime I got lost.

The tl;dr? Feel free to fail, but know that you have to get back up again.

*depending on your major, I guess, but still…

Academics, Advice, Author


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