I remember the first time I sat in a lecture theatre with 200 odd students and it was very daunting. Up to that point, the biggest studying environment I’d ever been in was a classroom with 30 students. Much more daunting was the prospect of asking a question of the lecturer. In fact I don’t think I ever asked a question in a lecture (that size anyway) the entire time I was at University. Even the thought of asking a question in a classroom environment was scary.
What if I completely missed the point of what they were talking about? What if I’m the only one who has that problem? What if everyone else things that it is a really stupid question?
You know what I’ve learned since then. There are no stupid questions. What was stupid was not to ask the question in the first place. You are at University to learn and occasionally that means asking questions and sometimes it might be a question no one else thought of or things that’s important. But that’s o.k. because it’s important to you.
What’s worse is that if you don’t ask the question with a problem that you’re having, you might go through the whole semester never solving it and risking under-performing as a result. If you can’t ask in the middle of the classroom, make an appointment so you can ask one-on-one so you can get your answer.
I’ve found through tutoring students that they are often afraid to ask a question because they think it’s a stupid question to ask. That’s why one of the first things I tell them is don’t be afraid to ask me anything.
Remember, the only stupid question is the one you don’t ask.