How can you tell the difference between struggling to understand a piece of a concept, and struggling to “get” the entire concept? It’s not an easy distinction for most people to make…
So you can find yourself swimming along, just hoping it’ll get easier, or you’ll have that “AHA!” moment….When really, you’re just falling further and further behind because you don’t understand some fundamental aspect of the topic you’re learning.
How can you prevent this? You have to recognize your failure mode; that point before everything gets overwhelming, and you start to drown. It is different for everyone, but it is generally preceded by one strong emotion.
Regardless of what causes that feeling to well up in your soul — whether you missed a step or can’t grasp the concept, if you have more than a second of panic, you need help.
And you need to ask for it right away.
Even if you have the world’s best teacher, a gentle genius of a TA, an advisor, and/or an expert on retainer to answer your random questions…they cannot see what is going on in your head. If you don’t understand something and don’t say anything, they can’t help you.
Some folks get a bit stubborn, and think “I’ll do it myself, I’ll find the solution by myself.” And that’s fine. If it’s something small and manageable. But the longer you wait, the more confusion builds on top of that small bit of incomprehension, and it might snowball into a big ole’ disaster before you know it.
Save yourself the trouble, basically, and ask the people around you for help. Chances are somebody can explain it in a way that makes you go “AHA!”
Still others are embarrassed to ask, for fear that others will think they’re stupid, or possibly for fear of being too annoying.
The short response? ASK ANYWAY.
So what if they think you’re stupid? You’ll probably never see them after you’re done with your class/workshop/training/whatever. Also, if you don’t ask for help, nobody will come find you and make sure you’re OK. You’ve got to make sure your own life vest is on, your air mask is secure, and your business is handled.
Also, you can ask for help with asking for help, y’know? You can find that brilliant TA and tell them “hey, I get nervous asking for help in front of a lot of people, but can I ask you something really quick/can I work with you so I understand this?” OR WHATEVER you have to say to get help.
Don’t risk your success for a temporary discomfort. The more you do it, the easier it becomes!
And then you can get on with living your best life.