Anna Schultz-Girl On Computer Stress

How to Ask For Help When You Hate Asking For Help

As I write this article, I’m fighting yawns left and right (and up and down), attempting not to fall into a nap at 7:37 p.m. on a Tuesday evening. Lately, when people ask me how I’m doing, I respond with some variation of this phrase: “Tired and busy, but overall, really well.”


I am doing well. But I am tired. This semester has been the busiest that I’ve ever endured, and my body and brain are both feeling the effects. Before it began, I knew that I had a lot on my plate. I’m talking two extracurricular campus organizations that I’m in charge of running, 15 credit hours and, on average, 15+ hours of work every week. If I’m not doing schoolwork, I’m at work — lately, I’ve been bringing my schoolwork to my job in an attempt to be productive in any downtime that I can find. 


Believe it or not, this article isn’t a space (solely) for me to complain about how tired or busy I am, even if that’s how the opening paragraphs read. I actually planned on writing a similar piece a few weeks ago about avoiding taking your work with you to bed at night, something that I’m uber guilty of. But that night, instead of unwinding and relaxing before sleep like I planned on advising you all to do, I turned to my work instead and spent extra time “getting things done” in my bed before eventually crashing. Some trustworthy source I am!


Somewhere along the line, I convinced myself that no matter how busy I am, I must continuously grind without the help of others. Oh, and no matter how hard I work, it will never be enough to make me feel adequate. It truly is a wonderful recipe for things like imposter syndrome, fear of asking for help, etc. I was working my butt off, only to critique myself afterward and feel that I could’ve done even more. The weeks leading up to spring break, AKA the entire month of March, I started to feel the negative effects of this attitude more than ever. As much as I wish I could be someone who does it all on her own, I’m not that person. I need breaks. I need assistance. And neither of these things make my efforts less than. 


I was afraid that if I admitted to myself, let alone my peers or mentors, that I needed extra time or a helping hand, that it would mean immediate defeat. Asking for help meant that I couldn’t handle what I said I could when I took on these roles and tasks and courses back in January. I still hear this shameful thought being whispered in the back of my head as I try my hardest to fight it today. But resting and prioritizing my health do not equate to a lack of effort or care for my responsibilities. I care immensely about everything that I’m involved in this semester, which makes it all the more difficult to admit that I can’t do it all at the speed and capacity that I wish I could. I’m very slowly learning this truth for myself. Rest assured, today I pushed two deadlines back a week and even delegated one of my weekly tasks to a friend who said they were more than happy to take some of my workload onto their plate. With clenched fists and doubtful voices in my head, I put myself first. And you should too.


I didn’t come to this conclusion on my own. Actually, without constant reassurance from my friends that I do deserve a break and that I’m not a bad person for needing a helping hand, I’d be anxiously and exhaustedly working right now instead of writing this article. I’ve received multiple lectures (that nine times out of 10 end in me crying) where I’m told to please rest and to please take care of myself. 


Now it’s my turn to tell you to prioritize yourself and your health. You are not irresponsible for asking for help or for taking extra time to complete your tasks. As a good friend had to remind me this week, “You are human.” Allow yourself to be.