When you find yourself googling a maths question, or watching a long-winded explainer video and still not understanding a concept, it's like hitting a concrete wall. Search engines don't always have the answers - plus, your teachers and lecturers want you to actually learn, not just 'find answers'. Course work is therefore designed to ensure learning happens, so that things can't simply be googled.
“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.”
1. The best students ask for help
It sounds simple, but in fact doesn't occur to everyone that when you're stuck you can always ask for help. It might feel scary or outside your comfort zone, but asking for help is actually more a sign of strength, than weakness. Ever heard of the Dunning Kruger effect? A study showed that unskilled people tended to overestimate their abilities, while experts doubted themselves. Stepping into your discomfort zone and acknowledging your own limitations is, after all, how you grow and build resilience.
Here's why asking for help and feedback with your studies puts you ahead of the rest:
2. It develops a good habit
The more you ask for help, the easier it becomes and the better you get at it. You're actually building a habit that will bolster your skills and increase your chances of progressing successfully through your degree or course, not to mention beyond your studies and into the workforce too. If you can remember not to give up next time you hit that wall, but instead go looking for help, it will make things a lot easier for you when you encounter even more critical moments.
Your habitual help-seeking will see you through all kinds of challenges and obstacles, as well as develop your growth mindset. Getting timely help - right when you need it - is linked with academic success, whereas those negative experiences, where you're unable to progress, are linked with poorer performance (Calnin, 2017).
3. It builds a connection
When we reach out and someone responds - that is, a real human person - it gives us a sense of connection and belonging. Humans are social creatures, and we need to feel connected to others to thrive. You may feel vulnerable when asking for help, but you'll soon see that those people waiting to help you out - student support teams, peer mentors, online specialists - will greet you with friendliness, openness and patience. They will be able to recognise your strength and bravery, because you chose to take action, and as their job is to provide assistance, you'll actually be making them very happy.
Connecting with others, whether students or support staff, makes you feel more like a part of your university community - which also increases your general wellbeing. Student life is stressful enough - so build connections where you can!
4. It stops you procrastinating
It's far more productive to go looking for assistance with a problem, or seek feedback on a draft, than to allow a roadblock to stop you in your tracks. Asking for help is taking an action, which will always get you further than procrastinating. A step in the right direction, no matter how small, is still a step! And if the place you go looking isn't the right place, they may still be able to tell you who can help you.
So when you have an assignment to start, but no idea how to start - don't put it off until the night before. Ask for help. Even if it's 8pm on a Sunday, you can always get started by connecting with one of Studiosity's specialists to brainstorm, plan, and learn how to start.
How to ask for help - the ethical way
Not all study help is the right kind of help - in other words, the kind that allows you to learn, not just gets you to the answer quicker. You have probably heard your lecturers or teachers talk at length about "academic integrity", and the importance of doing your own work. There are plenty of dodgy and dishonest ways of getting study help out there, which don't facilitate your learning. The good news is, it's fairly easy to find 'ethical' study help - it can only be found inside your student login.
Always make sure that any study help you use is endorsed by your university. If it's provided free to you as an enrolled student, you can safely assume your university endorses your use of it. If you're unsure about whether something is considered 'ethical', you can always ask your teacher or lecturer, or one of the staff members at your education provider.
If you pay for a service and don't feel as though you have learnt anything after using it, chances are this was not the right kind of help. Studiosity's specialists always have your learning as the centre of their focus, which is why so many universities trust and partner with Studiosity to provide study help for their students 24/7.
So next time you're stuck on a maths problem, can't understand a formula, or just don't know how to start an assignment - don't give up. Don't google it. Find your institute's support services, and use them. That's what they're there for, and it'll put you a step ahead of the rest.