College was the pinnacle of learning for me. I learned a myriad of life lessons that I will continue to use throughout the remainder of my life. However, there was one thing I learned that I will never forget.
I’m sure you’ve all heard the quote “if you never ask, the answer is always no.” This quote never meant much to me until my Freshman year of college.
My freshman year, one of my classes was an intro to business class. I never studied business before because I went to a private school that only taught the traditional subjects: history, science, math, and English. I really enjoyed this business class and had a really nice professor who Gary and I often saw at church. Though I loved the class, I did have a bit of a hard time because I’ve always been a bad test taker. I worked so hard on my group projects and individual work, did extra credit while making it to every class on time. At the end of the semester, I realized that I was going to get a B by one point. I was devastated. I let myself down and kept thinking about all the times I could’ve just studied a little bit harder, but failed to do so. I remember I told Gary how disappointed in myself I was and how frustrating it was that I was one point away from an A having done everything I could.
Gary then told me to email my professor and tell her I had been at every single class, never missing a single lecture and ask to bump my grade up one point. I was furious. How could he think that I could just ask her to bump my grade when it’s my fault I didn’t get an A?? I’ve never been one to ask for help, ever, so I didn’t understand how I could do this. Plus, I just knew she would say no. I refused. I wasn’t going to ask my professor for help because I didn’t want her help. It was my own fault.
Gary continued pushing me to just send her a nice email and I finally caved. I sent the email, closed my laptop, and sunk into my pride, feeling like an absolute idiot asking for help.
Not even a day later, I received an email from my professor. I was so nervous she would say no that I put off opening it. I told Gary to read the email and tell me she said no. Gary grabbed my computer, laughing, and said, “she said she’d bump up your grade.” “WHAT?!” I freaked out. I couldn’t believe it. There, right in front of my own eyes, my professor said that she had already planned to bump up my grade because I attended every class.
I honestly couldn’t believe it. I had gone through my whole life up to that point always thinking whenever I asked a question the answer would be no.
Several times throughout my time in college did the same scenario happen. I had many opportunities to ask a question, aware that the answer could be no, but Gary pushed me to do it anyway.
Another time, my junior year, my human resources professor told our class that instead of taking exams, we could do a service learning project at a company to give us real-life experience applying what we were learning in class. We were allowed to apply for a position with a company or ask the companies we were currently working at if they would allow us to be like an intern in human resources. I left class and told Gary what my professor had said and told him that I’d probably just opt in for taking the exams.
He asked me why I would waste my semester studying for exams when I could be applying my knowledge to a position and have real-life experience. I told him I didn’t know where I could do a service learning position at, though I was working part-time for a company at the time. He told me to ask my manager (the CFO) at work if I could do it there. Deep down, I ultimately wanted a position in HR, but was too afraid to ask in fear that the CFO I worked for would say no. I, however, ended up typing up a really long email explaining the situation (with Gary’s help) with my class right before I left work, sent it to my manager, and walked out of the office to class. Not even ten minutes later had he called me saying “YES! Of course, we could use your help.”
I wasn’t expecting this answer at all and was completely floored by his response. That semester, I started working as an “intern” in our human resources department, was given a raise, and ended up doing all of the HR work there until I left at the end of April before we moved to Indy.
Asking quetions has benefitted me since my first time Freshman year.
The moral of the story and something I’m constantly learning is this: you will never succeed in life depending on only yourself, never taking risks, and never asking for help. Period.
We were given other people in our lives for a reason. Whether it’s for moral support, for counsel and guidance, for friendship, for honesty, for love. It’s so important that we rely on others and ask questions.
Where would I be if I hadn’t asked? Sure, I’d still have done fine in college, but where would I be as a person? I would have thought that I was to rely on myself for everything and never receive the grace of friendship, of counsel, of help.
If you never ask, the answer is always no.