Do Ask Questions When You Don’t Understand Uncategorized

Hello Everyone:

One of the things college students sometimes fret about is whether or not to approach their professors with questions. The answer is most decisively “Yes!” Underline, boldface print, exclamation point, “Yes!”

Sometimes I am emailed by students who have misunderstood an assignment. Frequently, they are so confused that they have to ask me multiple times about what they need to do. You know what? That’s okay. I would rather spend a few extra minutes explaining an assignment in more than one way that have a student mess up an assignment whose instructions that, for some reason, have totally escaped him or her.

So, how do you do this? You write a very polite note, explaining what is confusing to you. You do not call the instructor incompetent or a moron. (Yes, I have seen it happen!) You do not complain that the instructions are fouled up beyond all belief (you may be the only person in the class who didn’t understand, so who is the fool there?).

Nope, friends, you are polite to a fault (though not Eddie Haskell polite- ask your grandmother about that cultural reference) and you calmly explain the problem. Now here’s one thing: do not wait until midnight the night before the assignment is due to ask. That is when true panic sets in and you are not going to understand a blessed thing at that late date.

Instead, you check out the assignment way beforehand and then you ask questions. Keep in mind that the instructor may explain things in class, but it’s still okay for you to ask ahead of time.

I hope this helps. And, yes, if you have a question, feel free to ask!


Dr. Sheri


Sheri Dean Parmelee has a Ph.D. in Communication Studies from Regent University. She writes books on practical tips for people who become unexpectedly unmarried and is working on her second novel in a series of contemporary romance/suspense novels. She teaches at three colleges, working with students from freshmen to graduate students. Her hobbies include running 8 miles a day and reading biographies and fiction.

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