How to Overcome Your Fear of Asking for Help

January 26, 2023

While asking for help seems pretty straight-forward, a lot of the time our brain can think quite the opposite, and convince us otherwise. Like so many high school students, I too was convinced that asking for help would be the end of the world! 

I remember hiding my confusion in maths and refusing to ask for my parents’ help with my Year 7 history assignment, meaning that while all my classmates got A+’s for their handmade wooden abacuses, my cardboard one got a B. Looking back, there were many instances where overcoming my fear of asking for help would’ve allowed me to get so much more out of school and life in general.

There are many common thought processes which stop us from asking for help, but let’s see why it doesn’t have to be this way:

“I don’t want to look dumb”

One of the most important things I learned in high school was that I am my own biggest judge, and that my mind is a master at making things seem a whole lot scarier than they are!

If you think about how many people ask questions in your classes every day, and how many questions your teachers and classmates probably hear, it’s a lot right? And now think of how many of those you personally judge, or think the person is “dumb”...

Even if we already know the answer to a question, we rarely criticise others for asking it. In fact, it’s more likely that other people will appreciate your question because they were wondering the same thing! 

Though, if you aren’t comfortable putting up your hand, I found it helpful to write down your question so you remember to ask later, whenever you’re ready. 

“I don’t even know what question to ask”

It’s important to remember that learning anything new is bound to be difficult, and even if you are completely lost, that doesn’t mean you can’t find your way! 

If you don’t even know where to begin asking for help, go through the topic and highlight the parts where you got lost. This quick exercise helps us locate what we need to seek help in! 

Knowing our weak areas helps us ask more specific questions which actually lead to the answers we need. For example, knowing the step where you became confused in a question allows you to ask “how did you get that from that?” rather than “I don’t get it” which makes you and your teacher stare at each other blankly. 

“I'll just try to figure it out on my own”

The thing that’s super tricky about becoming locked in this “lone wolf” kind of mentality is that you’re not wrong! Undoubtedly, with enough time, effort and resources, you can figure out any question or topic that comes your way all on your own, just like me and my cardboard abacus. 

However, this is just not efficient, which becomes especially prevalent in your senior years where time and energy is precious. For example, for me to go off on my own and teach myself every dot point of the Year 12 Biology syllabus is a perfectly possible feat, but it becomes far less possible once you add another 8 units on top as well as the deadline of the HSC.

Though it can be intimidating to ask for help, the reality is, teachers, parents and tutors are there for a reason - to support you. And one of the key lessons I learned from being in high school is that you need all the support you can get and there really is no shame in that!

Young Growth Academy is here whenever you're ready! We know how important it is for students to get the support they need - that’s why we take care to create a comfortable and safe environment where you can ask all the questions you have, both inside and outside the classroom. We’re just a call away.