No shame in not knowing

by Brooke Engel

Before last semester I had never learned anything about grammar.

No, really. I’m a college sophomore and I had never learned the definition of a verb or a noun. So imagine being me and being tasked with mastering sentence structure, which is essentially every aspect of a grammar lesson tied together with a bow.

Overwhelming? Just a little. After taking a minute to stop and breathe, I realized there was a simple fix for my situation—to actually use the resources that all those professors have been raving about. It was an absurdly simple, but profound realization. Just use the resources!

Something I have continually refused to do is use the plethora of resources that are afforded me. I know I’m not alone in this! Many of us feel that asking for help, whether through a writing tutor, or an online resource like OWL at Purdue and Writer’s Help, is admitting that we are incompetent. If we can’t figure it out on our own, we must have failed, right?

WRONG! There is no shame in asking for help. Rather, it’s a sign that you want to produce high-quality work. Whether it’s through learning foundational concepts or in-depth research strategies, asking for help from the myriad of resources available will set you on the path to success.

From thousands of book titles, to writing tutors, and even online database subscriptions, information is ready and waiting for students to access. I discovered that the key component to success was my willingness to take initiative and turn to my resources. In doing so, I was able to reap the vast benefits that they provide, including help not just with basic grammar components, but with presentation tips and citation guides as well. Not only did my presentation go well, but I also gained a stronger understanding of grammar conventions and how to seek out help.

To take your education into your own hands is to express humility and accountability and demonstrates a real drive to further your abilities. Enjoy exploring the knowledge that the world has to offer through utilizing your resources and asking for help!


Brooke is a sophomore art major and mass communication minor.

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