Asking for Help
Recently, I learned that part of maintaining my mental health is allowing for self-care and being ok with asking for help when I need it. I’ve always been a good student. For most of my life, I have been a voracious reader, and good grades have seemed to come to me easily with little effort. I spent minimal amounts of time on school, floating by on what was essentially the bare minimum. Such a small portion of my time was dedicated to schoolwork and studying that I never had to worry about balancing it with everyday life.
But when I got to high school, everything changed. Suddenly, a half hour of schoolwork on some nights turned into upwards of two hours every night. Not to mention all of the new extracurriculars and clubs I was starting to get involved with. For the first time, I had to dedicate real amounts of my time to school.
I had to learn how to actually work to achieve good grades and how to take good notes and even how to study. Nothing in middle school had ever prepared me for how to manage all of these things at once, and I found myself completely swamped. I was staying up until nearly 12:30 a.m. due to a combination of homework, after school obligations, social activities, and procrastination.
Slowly, school began to envelope almost all of my time. For the first time ever in my life, I had no free time. This meant that not only was there no time to hang out with friends, there was also no time for me to take care of myself, and my life slowly fell into complete disarray.
My room became messier than I’d ever seen it. My acne started flaring up again, and I just stopped feeling well. I was completely encompassed in the stress of schoolwork, my after-school club, and all of the other groups I wanted to become a part of as a freshman.
Eventually, I began to lose motivation. My grades began slipping from A’s to B’s and even dipping down into C’s. I was so exhausted when I came home from school every day that I would neglect my schoolwork and just go straight to sleep. I stopped studying and I stopped doing my homework and I ended up even more stressed out than before.
Finally, I realized that I had no other option but to ask for help. I didn’t know where to start looking and I ended up talking to one of my favorite teachers. We set up a few times to meet during my lunch period. He was able to help me learn how to manage my time better and how to stay organized and on top of things. Over the course of several weeks, I was able to get everything back together right in time for finals. I don’t know that I would have been able to do this on my own, and I feel fortunate that I had someone looking out for me.
Looking back upon this period of time, I always ask myself why I didn’t ask for help sooner. It ended up solving all my problems in the end, so why was it so hard for me to ask in the first place? I realized it was probably because I never needed help before. As a straight A student who never struggled with school or classes, a student who was always recommended for higher level classes, and a student who rarely raised their hand because they never had any questions, asking for help had been stigmatized in my head.
I thought asking for help was a sign of weakness, or worse, a sign of stupidity. But being able to admit that you need help sometimes was life-changing for me. If I hadn’t been able to take that first step, I never would have made it to where I am now. Asking for help is still hard sometimes, but now I can do it a lot more easily, and it’s benefitted me in so many ways.