My classmates-now-friends and I have a group chat on Facebook, and just yesterday, one of them asked us, “What was the hardest part of the lab for you?” That question made me really emotional. In my head: So! Many! Things! Not for that lab in particular, but just for life.

The thing is, it was really hard for me to articulate what exactly I had difficulties understanding/implementing. And it was then that I realized the value of good questions. Being able to ask good questions is an underrated skill. If you can find the root of your problem and articulate it as a question, someone can give you a very specific, helpful, tailored-to-you response. But if you don’t take the time to figure that out and ask a very vague question, you can only get a vague answer.

With midterms approaching, I encourage you to ask questions about anything you need clarification for with the time you have left. I understand that it’s not the easiest thing to do. At least for me, the real problem is that I’m too embarrassed to ask my questions “so late in the game.” What if my professor isn’t willing to answer me because it’s about something I should have consolidated weeks ago? Or maybe my professor would be willing to answer me, but she/he’d be secretly thinking in her/his head, “Where has this student been? How can she not understand something so basic? Oh boy, she’s got a long way to go… :/”

Let me hand you a piece of advice from the book I’m currently reading, #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso, founder and CEO of Nasty Gal:

Own up to your mistakes and apologize for them. Everyone will make a mistake at some point, and the sooner you can admit where you went wrong, the sooner you can start to fix it. Be honest with yourself and your abilities. Many people accept titles that are beyond their experience to only later find themselves up to their neck in problems they can’t solve, and too embarrassed to admit they weren’t qualified in the first place. And what’s the first rule about holes? If you’re in one, stop digging.

So ask those questions unapologetically; if you don’t ask, you won’t receive.

The stages:

I don’t even know what I don’t know!

I know what I don’t know!

Omg I get it!

Ace midterms!