In the early courses, I found I didn’t want to ask “silly” questions of my tutors. I felt that most of the questions I had were things I should be able to answer myself, and I didn’t want to bother anyone. But part way through, I believe it was my first philosophy course (difficult to take without discussion), I started to ask a few more questions. I can’t remember what the questions were now, but they were ones I felt I should know the answer to, ones that felt so basic, and I felt like I shouldn’t be asking. But, I knew that I didn’t have a choice, not if I wanted to get through the unit. So, I emailed my professor and asked; the response I got was surprising. He said that, in asking those particular questions, it showed that I understood the material, that I was getting it and that these were important things to consider in the realm of the course. There was no easy answer to the questions, but the questions themselves were kind of an answer.
When I read that reply it felt good. The frustration and confusion I was feeling when I emailed those questions dissolved into something akin to confidence. This was my first lesson in not being afraid to ask a question, by doing so I went through the rest of the course with a level of enjoyment that I never expected (and that I would never have achieved otherwise).
But, it wasn’t until near the end, when I was taking a creative writing course, that I started to email my professor after every assignment and ask follow-up questions to the comments that were throughout my work. I was doing well in the course, and these questions didn’t come from the same place as my philosophy questions. Rather they were from a degree of curiosity and desire to learn as much as possible. I once emailed and apologized for constantly emailing after assignments and peppering her with questions, what I got in response was to never apologize for it; they did not bother her, and instead it showed a commitment to the course.
After that I started to ask questions. Sometimes they went beyond the course material, though it always related in some way. I was always hesitant to ask?to bother?but when I did I found that people are passionate about their subjects, jobs, dreams, and enjoy being able to share that with others.
I have been working as an intern for the last few months and I have started asking more questions, asking about the ins and outs of the profession. Asking for reference material, for outside sources for information. My questions (again) were received positively and I have been able to find invaluable information this way.
When you have access to a source of information, like a professor or a professional in a specific field, then take that opportunity to ask questions. They are teaching or taking on interns for a reason, and part of that is to share information; some information they may not think of and it is up to you to ask for it. You don’t want to bog people down with a torrent of questions, but you shouldn’t be afraid to approach them and ask certain things. They are there to help you and to answer these questions for you. Besides, you never know what answer might just change your trajectory.
Deanna Roney is an AU graduate who loves adventure in life and literature. Follow her path on the writing journey at https://deannaroney.wordpress.com/