Just Ask

Katie Kloska's picture

We’ve all been in a class when subject matter is being taught and some obscure question comes to mind. Many times, we will choose not to voice this question and forget about it. Other times, we may resort to sleight-of-hand googling it under our desk. Then, there is the very rare occasion when a question is so pressing that we must ask the professor.

The possibility of getting a semi-inspiring answer this way is always a shot in the dark. Often times the question is received incorrectly and the answer is just a repetition of what the professor has already said. But, sometimes, the professor takes your question and gives you the answer you had no clue you were looking for. This is the best type of moment. Knowledge explosion.

The beautiful moment described above is a delicacy in academia. Of all of the  thousands of questions that run through our heads during a lecture, only about 1% are answered by the professor in an accurate and enlightening fashion (may or may not be accurate). This is a pretty good representation of how college students perceive the collegiate world. When I talk to my friends about their studies, they often express feeling like nomads searching for some glimpse of a happy future. Some aren’t doing too well with their classes and others are succeeding with insanely high GPAs. No matter what the GPA, however, there is a shared misconception about the availability of resources and aid when it comes to academic success. In fear of receiving answers that are simply irrelevant or they don’t want, students are too discouraged to just ask.

There are many opportunities in academia that are extremely cool and interesting such as getting involved in research, getting TA positions, leadership opportunities, and even internships. These opportunities are so abundant that administrators are searching hard for students to take them. However, we students fear asking about these opportunities– when sometimes that’s all we need to do in order to get them.

If you are interested in research, it would be very beneficial to get involved with it. Getting involved is an easy two step process:

  1. Research research opportunities at your institution online.
  2. Ask a researcher via email about potentially getting involved.

If the researcher responds and says they are not looking for anyone in the lab, that’s okay and you can repeat the steps. If the researcher asks to meet with you, you’re probably in, and it was that easy to begin an amazing educational experience.

So, from all of this, let’s conclude that we should all ask more questions. Who cares if the answer isn’t something you were hoping for, all that matters is the opportunity that you gave yourself with a simple question.

Thanks for reading this week! Comment your thoughts on this topic and suggest topics you'd like to see covered in the future! I can't wait to dive into them.