Words of Wisdom: Facing Challenges or Difficulty
On Asking for Help
I spoke with a student this summer who was reflecting on their academic experiences at Stanford in an effort to prepare for Fall quarter remote classes. The student shared that they realized that their most successful quarter academically, was the one in which they met regularly with their advisor to check in on their classes and trouble shoot challenges as they came up. The student reached out to their advisor to set up regular meetings for Fall quarter because they knew that there would be challenges as a result of the remote format of classes, a challenging load of classes required for their major, and the responsibilities of living at home with family. By committing to these regular check-ins, being honest about what was and wasn’t working during the quarter and being open to suggestions for new things to try, the student was able to stay on track all quarter. They earned high grades in all of their courses in Fall, despite numerous academic and family challenges that arose during the quarter. Sometimes, just having someone to talk to about your classes, who can support you in staying on track can make a real difference. Advisors are happy to be this “someone” for you – just ask!
I struggled silently as an undergrad at Stanford because I believed I had to figure out everything on my own. I thought that needing help meant I was "less than," and it seemed like further proof that I didn't belong. Now, as a former instructor and current Academic Coach, I LOVE when students ask for help! Seeking support—whether academic, social, emotional, or mental health related—demonstrates strength and self-awareness. Plus, it can be a great way to connect with others who are feeling the same way—and trust me, there are others!
—Academic Coach, Stanford alum
Don't feel you have to know everything right this minute in order to get to where you want to be. Life is a series of steps that build upon each other. Three steps that will help you get to your end goal include: (1) have the confidence to go after what you want and (2) the humility to accept who you are right now and (3) the willingness to build skills that bridge the gap between step one and step two.
BCSC has a resource guide called the Black Pages, and this is from our Words of Wisdom section: “Advocate for what you need through your Residence Dean, Resident Fellow, Academic Advisor, community center and FLI staff. We are all here to support you and help you along your journey at Stanford. If we do not have the answer we can help you find the person who does. The difference between successfully navigating campus and completely struggling is a question asked to the right person”
—Rosalind Conerly, Black Community Services Center (BCSC) Associate Dean & Director
On Connecting with Community & Support
After taking a few college courses, I finally figured out what I wanted to study in college. Although it was helpful figuring this out with my advisor, I was not 100% sure it was the academic program that would help me find a good job after graduation. I thought attending class and getting good grades was sufficient enough for me to survive the college life. Shortly after declaring a major I felt a big void, I felt alone and unmotivated to stay in college. In need of a social life, and hoping to make new friends, I attended my first Latina student group meeting. After a few months, I connected with the other Latinas that were in my academic program. That was the start of how I began getting involved, finding study buddies, and building friendships.