How Asking for Help is a Sign of Strength, Especially in College
Coming out of a difficult high school experience, I knew I needed a place that would provide extra support to me, but asking for those supports made me feel vulnerable. After touring ten colleges, I was certain that I was going to need to settle for something that would check the most boxes. However, the moment I set foot on the campus of Walsh University, I found that my questions were not only welcomed, but encouraged. From that moment on, I knew that asking for help and support would only make me stronger.
Walsh University, from day one, provided that safe space to ask questions, seek help, and advocate for finding the resources that will help students to achieve their highest potential both in and out of the classroom. It also drove home for me that it is up to us as the students to speak up and show our strength by asking for help!
It Is Okay to Stumble, but Let Someone Help You ‘Get Back Up’
We all have struggles in life. We will all fall down, but oftentimes no one will be able to help us unless we ask for that support. You have to be willing to reach out your hand, send out an email, go to an office hour—ask for help. I will always remember Freshman Welcome Weekend when the President of Walsh University shared with our class that we can stumble, and we will even fall down at times, but as long as we “get back up” we will be okay.
That idea of “getting back up” is something that everyone on campus has continued not only to remind us of, but also to help us with. Honestly, stumbling is actually encouraged in college; as long as we seek help to get up again and again, we are building strength. Growth does not come from being stagnant. Rather, it comes from being uncomfortable, trying new things, and learning from everything we do. Sometimes our falls will be big and obvious, but other times they may be hidden and masked to others. This is why it is so important to reach out your hand, and I promise someone will grab ahold to help pull you back up. If you do not reach out, people are not going to know how to help you “get back up.”
Taking a stumble is a part of the journey, and as long as we learn, grow, and ask for support to “get back up,” we are demonstrating strength and perseverance in life. That is a skill I have learned will take me far not only in college, but also in my future career!
How Asking for Help Can Lead to Success In and Out of the Classroom
While it is inevitable that we will stumble and fall, having some supports secured in place before that happens will help catch us when it happens. Ask for help before you even need it. Having tools and plans in place ahead of time will help you be strong in times of trials.
Being proactive requires a level of vulnerability, which is not a weakness, but a strength. Seeking out programs at your university can help you to build these support systems. Most universities have Counseling Services available to students at little or no charge. As a Counseling major, I can confirm counselors are there to help you through the big and little things, short or long term. They are a non-judgmental, neutral source that will be there to support you through anything and everything. Going to counseling or therapy does not mean you are weak; rather, it is a sign that you care about your mental health just as you would your physical health. Words cannot describe the positive impact counseling has had on my personal life in both the good and bad times. Being vulnerable and able to ask for help is a strength that will only continue to grow the more you practice it!
Before the school year even began, I started to put those solid support systems into place. I was in consistent communication with students from Walsh University, faculty members with whom I would be working, and even my future professors. I have found that, by opening the door to open communication, I will only feel more supported.
Before the semester starts, I still reach out to my professors with an email. These emails are to introduce myself, share my strengths and weaknesses, any anxiety I have over the coming semester, and the ways that I have been successful in the past. By reaching out, I have found all of my professors to be determined to my success not only in the classroom, but also outside of the classroom. Sharing some of my story with each of my professors has demonstrated my desire to learn and grow along with my determination to succeed. Asking for help is a vulnerable position to be in, yet it is one of the best ways we can grow and be successful.
Building a Network
At Walsh University, and at some other schools, there are programs that are geared toward peer-to-peer support, which can be beneficial to know you are not alone in the challenges life presents. A common program is Tutoring Services. Having someone there who understands the classes you are in will help you to be prepared and hold you accountable in the classroom. It is important to take advantage of the help provided to aid in your academic success. Just like counseling, you do not need to be failing a class to receive tutoring.
I am in the Honors Program and have found great success from seeking out help in my academic work. Being able to work alongside my peers has given me the confidence that I will be able to work through the challenges, like my tutor did. It is a stronger decision to have a tutor from the beginning to help with the little challenges before they grow into bigger struggles!
Another program similar to tutoring at Walsh University is the PASS Program, a peer-to-peer mentorship to work on things as you would with a tutor. The main difference is that your PASS coach is there for everything and anything—in or out of the classroom. Sometimes it is easier to talk to a peer about a struggle with time management, general college concerns, or to ask for further resources.
The PASS coaches are trained in helping their peers to find further resources and to be the eyes and ears of their peers to help catch any falls. Being a PASS coach has even helped me to learn that I am not alone in my own struggles. There is merit in being able to share your story with someone, and it is humbling to be trusted by your peers. Little do you know the impact you will make on others by trusting them. Even if your college does not have a program like this, find the friends in whom you can confide and from whom you can seek support. They will be the people to help you get back up when you fall.
If You Never Ask, You’ll Never Grow
Throughout my time thus far in college, I have found so much comfort and growth from building my support system and asking for help before I even need it. On the days when I do fall, I know the resources I have and who can help me “get back up.” Ask questions and put yourself out there so people know how to help you in the good and bad times. This will only give you the strength to solve problems sooner than later, while also growing from them.
The people in my support system have grown to know how to best help me from my ability to be vulnerable with not only my peers, but also with support staff and professors. With their help, I have grown to be a stronger student academically, personally, and professionally. If I never reached out for help or to build up these resources in my personal tool box, I would have fallen much harder in these past years. Every time you push yourself to ask a question or reach out your arm for help, you are building up your own strength to better yourself, and your determination will shine through.
Ask questions from the beginning, before you are even on campus. People will be excited to help and see your eagerness to grow in these college years. While it may be hard to put yourself out there or be vulnerable, take it all one step at a time, one moment at a time. It is a process—a process that will help you shine at your highest potential in all you do and develop strength you did not know you had!