Columnist reflects on the importance of asking for help in academics

By Clare Driscoll, ’19. Graphics by Katie Zhao ,’19. 

You know that feeling when you’ve worked on a math problem all night and no matter what you try, it’s just not getting solved? Or when you’re at the last five minutes in the period and you still have three more test questions? For some, it’s an every-once-in a-while-problem, but if you’re like me, this tears-welling-up-fist-clenching feeling has been a nightly feeling through my last four years of school.

After the first few days of precalc, I knew that it was going to be another year of hours spent on simple homework and lunches in the math lab. I spent the first few weeks carrying on like always. I spent my days regretting the fact that I even decided to take this class when there were easier options as I spent a ridiculous amount of time on the homework.

Through this whole experience, my parents and I had bounced around the idea of getting a tutor, but there was always a reason not to. This year was no different. I was very set in the mindset that ‘this is my senior year and I shouldn’t have to get a tutor for my last year of school’.

I have always been the kind of person that feels like I need to do my work entirely on my own. When you look around and see your friends doing a great job with their grades and sports, it can feel like we are supposed to be able to do everything perfectly. So when it came to needing assistance, I thought it would make me seem like less intelligent than everyone else around me.

Then the sequences and series test came. After not understanding much from what we were learning, I went into that test ready to bawl on the pages. As soon as I left the room I texted my mom and finally consented and asked to start seeing a tutor

After that unit, I started seeing Mr. Chandler on a weekly basis. In the beginning was so scared that people might find out and if they did that they would think less of me. But, once I realized the positive impact on my entire school life, I really did not worry at all about that.

For one, having someone to sit down and help me to work out the questions that I may be too afraid to ask in class is such a great. And now that I have a better grasp on precalc, I can spend more time fine-tuning work for other classes.

Not only has my time with Mr. Chandler saved my precalc grade, but it has totally changed the way I go about doing all of my school assignments. Having someone to guide me through the way to think about a problem showed me that just in general I start to rush when I am answering a question. This has taught me how to take my time and really pay attention to how I am answering a question.

More importantly, this experience has taught me the value in asking for help. Now I’ve learned that it is perfectly ok to need help with things that I’m not as strong in and it does not make you less intelligent for doing so. In the end getting the advice and help of others is what makes everyone stronger because with our combined strengths we can all help each other out.

If you are like me and spend night after night simply unable to get through an area of school work, I highly recommend reaching out to a tutor if possible. But if not, the teachers here are more than willing to help anyone who needs it out. My only wish is that I would have looked for help earlier in my school career, but maybe it’s not too late for you.

If you are feeling particularly lazy, below are the top things that I’ve learned since starting tutoring.