I recently made a visit to the Chemistry Learning Resource Center to get help on a lab report. It was nerve wracking at first because I was not familiar with the procedure for getting help in the LRC and I went by myself. The aspect of the open tutoring session that made me feel most comfortable asking for help was the relaxed environment. Each student brought the chemistry material that they needed to work on and worked individually or in small groups at tables that were marked by section (1210, 1610, 1220, etc.). There were several tutors in the room that would walk around and make sure everyone was doing well. If there was help needed on a particular question or section, a student simply had to raise their hand and a tutor would be around to guide them through the problem within a few minutes. The tutors were all very patient and happy to help when it came to aiding in students’ understanding of content.
Asking for help is not a thing that comes easily to most people and I fall into that majority. As a person who wants to figure everything out for herself, I find it difficult to reach out and seek help, even when I know I need it. Throughout high school, I rarely sought out help for anything except calculus. If there was material that I was confused on, I would struggle through it and try to self-teach. This approach caused more frustration and took more time than simply seeking help would have. I also found that I develop a deeper understanding of concepts when I engage in a conversation about them, rather than simply hearing them from a lecture or reading them from a textbook.
I believe that knowing when to ask for help is a vital skill, especially in college. There are several hundred students at a time in the majority of classes which makes it extremely difficult to get individualized help from the professor during class. With the advanced pace of most college classes, the material is taught one time in lecture and review and mastery of material is expected to be completed outside of the classroom. For this reason, getting help with harder classes especially with material that is not well understood is vital to academic success.
At The Ohio State University, resources to get help in different subjects are widely advertised and attendance is encouraged which makes academic support very accessible. The message that there is no shame in asking for help is very present here on campus which has made me more open to seeking help. My reluctance to seek help originates with a fear of looking like I don’t know what I’m doing and being judged for the lack of knowledge. The tutors that I worked with at the Chemistry Learning Resource Center reassured me that it was okay to not understand concepts immediately- that’s what seeking help is for. It’s always better to speak up and take extra time with a tutor to understand material than being confused in silence.