If I were to write a self improvement book it would be entitled Asking for Help.
I began the project seeking the mentorship of one of the most highly esteemed astrophysicists in the field today, Dr. Greg Bryan of Columbia University. Needless to say, after snail-mailing, emailing, and calling I got no response, and thus the epic saga of asking for help began. I asked my wonderful advisor, Teacher Margaret Haviland for help in seeking a mentor, a few days later I was connected with Gabriel. I asked Gabriel for help in finding specific direction for my project to take, we resolved that issue together with just a short conversation. When I couldn’t find the right kind of data I asked Teacher Victoria in the library who kindly took me through countless web searches until we found the SDSS-III DR9. I reached out to Dr. Khee-Gan Lee and Bill Cathers for help when I was having difficulties finding data, both of them responded by sending me pages of personalized data they had put together for me. I now consider both of them to be secondary mentors and both have asked to be kept in the loop about the project. When I couldn’t open some of the data files on my computer a quick trip down to the technology office fixed that; Teacher Carl helped me to compress the files and access the data.
I believe that the ability and willingness to ask for help will be the most important aspect I take away from my independent seminar project. In the past I have been hesitant to, as I saw it, bother people with my worries and problems. Now, after just a few short weeks, I am seeing that asking for help is a wonderful way to make connections with interesting people and quickly achieve tasks that could take weeks or months if left to one’s own devices.
My faith in the goodness of humanity holds strong.
Picture Citation: “Do Authors Need Help?” venturebeat.com, n.d. Web. 10 Feb. 2014.