“Padah, you just need to ask for help,” my friend told me.
Yes, I need help.
But as a fourth year student, I still do not know how to ask for help.
I was sitting in class when my professor was talking about a CC Alumni’s research on sense of belonging at Colorado College. This student found out that first-generation students of color struggled the most with asking for help from their professor, while non-first generation white students struggled the least, and non-first generation students of color and first-generation white students struggled equally. This was nothing new or surprising to me. It was expected.
When my professor was explaining this, I wanted to raise my hand and say, “Yes, that’s me right now. I don’t know how to ask for help in your class” However, half of me wanted to get out of class because I was going to break down. I was mad and disappointed in myself that as a fourth year, first-generation student of color, I still don’t know how to ask for help. And what are my reasons for not seeking for help? “I’m awkward. How can they help me? I don’t know how to explain what I need help with.” I feel like I should be able to go into my professor’s office and tell them (from the start) what I need help with and why I am there… but I can’t, and so I don’t go. If I do go into their office, I shorten all my thoughts and then leave as soon as I can.
I know that there are institutional and systemic inequalities that hinder students from seeking help. I also know that I do have agency in asking for help, and I have let myself down for the past four years.
So, who do I ask for help for how to ask for help?
I guess, the answer has always been there, it has to start with me opening up to someone.
I’ve just messaged someone. 🙂