I used to think asking for help was a sign of weakness. And that saying No to people was mean and hurtful. And that if I was happy, I was doing something wrong. But then again, I also used to think Dutch people came from a country called Dutchland and spent years wondering why I could never find it on a map. (True story!)
When you’re using a Windows computer program, if you get stuck, you can press F1 to get help. It’s a convenient little button that can really help solve your problems. Guess what, ya’ll? Life comes with an F1 as well. It’s called “asking for help.”
In further thinking about F1 buttons, I also got to thinking about my life. I come from a well off family, so I guess my life can seem materially easy and I probably come off as a really spoiled child. And you know, I won’t kid you. My life ismaterially easy. My friends often call me “spoiled”. To them, all the clothes and cell phones and vacations were just given to me by the Bank of Mom and Dad. Perhaps my head is fully in the sand here, or that supposed silver spoon in my mouth blocked off air to my lungs for too long. Because last I checked, gifts do not rain down from the sky for anyone but heiresses and celebrities, and I am neither. I have because I ask. I ask for all the things I have and they were given to me. My parents know the things I want, because I tell them that I want those things. Repeatedly, day in and day out until I have them. If I didn’t ask, they wouldn’t know what I wanted. And if you don’t ask for help, no one will help you. We’re not mind readers here.
Do you remember that scene in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire where Harry’s in the dragon’s den/cave thingy? Harry struggled and fought with the dragon until he sent up a red flare with his wand and someone was sent in after him. Or perhaps I’m thinking of the end where he retrieves Cedric Diggory’s dead body and needs help carrying it. Either way, no one came to help him until he let it be known that he needed help. He struggled in fighting that dragon/lugging around a corpse until he was able to admit that it was too big a task for him to handle on his own. I saw this parallel in my own life. My parents would have no idea what to get me if I didn’t ever let them know what I wanted. Ask, and you shall receive my friends. That’s the secret to getting help.
The point is, it doesn’t matter what you need help with. Be it solving the quadratic formula, or determining the fundamental reasons for the American Civil War, if you don’t get it, you need to ask for help with it. You get?
So, where do you go about asking for this help? Well, if you go to Hogwarts, a quick drop by Dumbledore’s office would probably be quite helpful (before the end last book, obviously.) But since none of you go to Hogwarts, there are a few more realistic options for you.
- Facebook.We live in the 21st century here people. Instead of fighting technology and saying Facebook is the root of all evil, why don’t we just embrace it and use it to out advantage. Especially since MSN is now dead, and Facebook chat has come to the rescue. Check you list of online friends and message one who you think could help you. Or, put what you need help with in your status, along with your cell phone number so they can cal you with the answer. Example: Jessica is…working on math homework. (calculus) HELP! (123) 456-7890 That way, anyone who knows calculus can either call you, or post on your wall. Of course, this is most useful if you have a large friend count.
- Ask the teacher of your course. Not always possible, but try. Schedule a meeting with them if you have too. They’re too busy? Then ask another teacher of the same subject. Or ask your student teacher/TA depending on if you’re in high school/university.
- The guidance department/student services people.These people are a goldmine of information if you need help organizing/de-stressing your life. The sheer volume of information they can arm you with is mind blowing. Drop by and just ask if there are any in-house books or pamphlets on getting you act together.
- Friends.This is an iffy one. If you know for certain that your friend knows more than you, ask away. But don’t fall into the trap of “Sheep syndrome.” You’ve probably experienced some sort of sheep syndrome before. You walk into a test that you haven’t studied for. Glancing over at a friend, you frantically ask them to quickly explain a key concept to you. “Psh, yo. I didn’t study either!” they say. Oh, you think. Well, if someone else didn’t study, then I guess it’s okay that I didn’t study either. NO! It’s not okay. Don’t allow yourself to validate your procrastination with other people’s inadequacies. It’s a dangerous slippery slope that will throw you down real fast. Only borrow from those with something to offer. Ask someone else for help if you encounter this. (After your test of course.)
- Internet. ’Nuff said. I won’t even talk about “make sure your sources are reputable.” You’ve heard this to death, and I’m sure you picked up on the importance of this well before any teacher made a rule against Wikipedia.
- The library. Libraries used to be the information super highway of the world, eh? I’ll be honest here though. The last place I go for any information is the library’s book shelves. They’re online databases are brilliant though, and then I need more information on anything, I go there first. Don’t get me wrong here. I love to read and fall asleep with a book in my hands every night. But I was born just two years before the internet was invented, so I don’t even remembera time in my life when I didn’t have access to instant information gratification. I no longer have th patience to sift through Table of Contents and Indexes when I can just Google the subject and find the information in just “0.33seconds” or less. Regardless, books remain and will remain u(ntil something is invented that makes them obsolete) the place for the most reputable information on pretty much every topic you’ve ever wondered about.
So there you go intrepid Gearfire readers. Today, you learned a little more about one of your beloved writers, and a little more about why you need to ask for help. Two for one special! But on a more serious note, where/who else have you found to be a valuable resource in sunticking yourself from sticky situations?
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