Sat, 28 Jan 2012
I'm not as smart as I thought I was

A great comment on Reddit a few weeks ago, leading to a good discussion in the comment thread below it. The comment was from an MIT graduate and describes how badly his college education started to go until he learned how to ask for help. The comment is titled I'm not as smart as I thought I was and makes salutary, but inspiring, reading :

People fail to graduate from MIT because they come in, encounter problems that are harder than anything they've had to do before, and not knowing how to look for help or how to go about wrestling those problems, burn out. The students that are successful look at that challenge, wrestle with feelings of inadequacy and stupidity, and begin to take steps hiking that mountain, knowing that bruised pride is a small price to pay for getting to see the view from the top. They ask for help, they acknowledge their inadequacies. They don't blame their lack of intelligence, they blame their lack of motivation.

The moral of the story is that it's stupid not to ask for help if you get stuck, at any stage in life or education. Even, or maybe especially, at a place like MIT.