Knowing When to Ask for Help

Daily inspiration and advice for the ambitious savvy young professional

Knowing When to Ask for Help

This blog was written by our campus ambassador from Providence College, Amanda!

When you are assigned a task either for school or an internship, you usually assume that you will be able to succeed on your own, even if you are unsure of what to do at first. I’m sure you have every right to be confident in your abilities, but I also want to remind you of the importance of asking for help. Some people falsely believe that asking for help shows a sign of weakness or is bothersome, but in reality, knowing the right circumstances under which you should ask for help can be a great time saver and show that you are eager to learn from the professional in the situation.
Don’t waste your precious time merely trying to figure out how to start an assignment. If the directions were unclear from the beginning, you have been set up for failure. Save yourself the frustration and make sure you know exactly what you need to do before you get started.
Sometimes clarity is not the issue, but lack of experience can play a role. If you are doing something for the first time, don’t be afraid to ask for hints. Yes, you can probably find help on Google or another online resource, but your professor or internship coordinator definitely knows the best method to complete the task he or she has assigned. Also, don’t forget to take advantage of your school’s library resources. As a second semester junior I just learned how to properly use my school’s online databases and I really wish I had taken advantage of those sites sooner.
Additionally, part of knowing when to ask for help involves a lack of procrastination. If you know you might need some assistance with a project, try to look over the directions prior to your professor’s office hours that week, or at least before the middle of the night before it’s due. Leave yourself time to email questions and receive answers before you have to scrounge to find everything out for yourself.
Next time you are tempted to avoid asking for help, take a second to assess the situation. Make sure you have not forgotten to consult a textbook or other obvious source of information. If you are still stuck and know a simple question can save you a lot of time, don’t hesitate to ask!