The secret? Simply ask for what you want. Yeah…that’s it. It’s actually one of the few things we must rely on since mind reading is still generally unavailable.
Sometimes, we’re so afraid of being a burden to others that we shoulder the weight all by ourselves. However, asking for help is a sign of strength and maturity—not weakness. It’s even been proven that people enjoy helping others and that we like someone more after helping them. A Stanford 2008 GSB study found that “participants overestimated, sometimes by 50%, the number of people they’d have to ask to get someone to agree with each request.” Think about it, even if someone does say no, couldn’t it also mean you’re one person closer to someone who will say yes?
College has repeatedly given me crash-courses on this lesson: from learning to show up to every single Physics III professor office hour to speaking with Associate Deans about my worries of funding myself through graduate school while excelling. Life’s not meant to be traversed alone. In fact, as humans, we cannot clean, dress, or feed ourselves for several years. While life is arguably more difficult for some than for others it is a shared emotional journey nonetheless—and that’s what binds us together.
Squeeeeeeeeaky Wheel: Fellow women and POC, please go and ask for what you deserve! We are in school to learn—so go get better explanations at office hours. We are in a time when engineering programs are asking for diversity—so make these programs work to recruit you. We are in an age where you can search what ails you and find a community of support—so go reach out to someone who’s job it is to do something. There’s no need to suffer in silence, go find your ally.
Additional resources: A helpful Wikihow resource that helps you learn how to ask for help, hope it helps! (See what I did there??)