Jan 10, 2011
27
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Hello everyone

I haven't been able to find any threads about this but I was hoping someone could give me some advice or sympathize with me.

This term of classes will be the last chance I will have to get some recommendation letters from science professors before the next application cycle begins. I have been trying to do this for a while however I am always terrified when I raise my hand during lecture to ask/answer a question. My issue does not really stem from the fear of public speaking, but rather a fear of saying something stupid. It sounds very silly as I type this, but when I am in the situation I always just tell myself "I will just talk next class" and before I know it the term is over.

Any words of advice or encouragement on how to volunteer to speak during class/lecture? Do I just need to suck it up and keep raising my hand until it doesn't bother me anymore? Maybe I should forego speaking in class and just email and speak during office hours?


Thanks and hope everyone is so far enjoying their new year!
 

justAstudent

7+ Year Member
Apr 12, 2011
803
492
California
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Medical Student
You don't have to speak in class. I think emails and more importantly office hours are where meaningful interactions take place.
 
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Apr 23, 2013
91
3
New York
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Pre-Medical
There are probably a lot of students in your lecture. Even if you do ask something, chances are they won't even remember you.

Going to their office hours and asking questions one-on-one is how to get them to actually know you. Also make sure to introduce yourself before you leave.
 
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Apr 23, 2013
1,697
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I agree with the others who have said that asking questions in class is not the best way to generate a rapport with profs you want LORs from. Office hours are better for that.

That being said, it is worth it to get over this fear you have in and of itself. I don't really have any specific advice aside from try to learn to care much, much less about what other people think of you. I mean what are you really afraid of? That some dingus will think you asked a dumb question? So what? How does that matter at all? And I promise you--even if someone has a fleeting negative thought about you, they won't remember by the end of the period who even asked what.

So yes, I advise the 'suck it up and ask questions anyway' method for getting comfortable with speaking up.
 
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Jun 8, 2013
498
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Relationships can be formed in other ways. For instance, I would always volunteer to help set up labs for my physiology course and sometimes would stay after lectures to talk to whichever visiting prof was lecturing about something I found interesting.
 
Jul 21, 2013
177
5
Status
There are probably a lot of students in your lecture. Even if you do ask something, chances are they won't even remember you.

Going to their office hours and asking questions one-on-one is how to get them to actually know you. Also make sure to introduce yourself before you leave.
How would you recommend introducing yourself without sounding weird? :p

Do you just say, "Hi, my name is ....."? or something like "by the way, my name is ..." when you are leaving?
 

justAstudent

7+ Year Member
Apr 12, 2011
803
492
California
Status
Medical Student
You should probably start off by first introducing yourself lol..."Hi, my name is blah blah and I'm in your blah blah class and I have a question about blah."
 
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Apr 23, 2013
91
3
New York
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Pre-Medical
How would you recommend introducing yourself without sounding weird? :p

Do you just say, "Hi, my name is ....."? or something like "by the way, my name is ..." when you are leaving?
Pretty much what the person above me said. It would be less awkward to introduce then ask the question.
 
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torshi

Squirrel
5+ Year Member
Oct 26, 2010
6,904
76
Hello everyone

I haven't been able to find any threads about this but I was hoping someone could give me some advice or sympathize with me.

This term of classes will be the last chance I will have to get some recommendation letters from science professors before the next application cycle begins. I have been trying to do this for a while however I am always terrified when I raise my hand during lecture to ask/answer a question. My issue does not really stem from the fear of public speaking, but rather a fear of saying something stupid. It sounds very silly as I type this, but when I am in the situation I always just tell myself "I will just talk next class" and before I know it the term is over.

Any words of advice or encouragement on how to volunteer to speak during class/lecture? Do I just need to suck it up and keep raising my hand until it doesn't bother me anymore? Maybe I should forego speaking in class and just email and speak during office hours?


Thanks and hope everyone is so far enjoying their new year!
It's not about fear, but rather confidence. If you are confident in your answer or have a legitimate question to ask that concerns you there should be no restraint to pursue it. If you continue down a path of allowing others to supersede your views, then you become passive to everyone around you. Also, over the years this issue will disappear and you will look back thinking it's silly. With more experience in life the more confident you will be.
 
Jul 21, 2013
177
5
Status
One more question, what if you had a class with a prof the previous semester, went to a couple office hours and haven't introduced yourself yet even though the prof probably recognizes your face and now have another class this semester? :p
 

justAstudent

7+ Year Member
Apr 12, 2011
803
492
California
Status
Medical Student
One more question, what if you had a class with a prof the previous semester, went to a couple office hours and haven't introduced yourself yet even though the prof probably recognizes your face and now have another class this semester? :p
When you go in to his office hour, just start off the conversation with something like "Hey! It's me Your Name again. Thanks for all your help last quarter. I need your help again. I'm having trouble understanding blah blah blah."
 

1012526fs

5+ Year Member
Nov 2, 2012
130
11
Status
Medical Student
Please, please, please do not go asking questions you already know the answer to or ask questions just to try to start a conversation to "show" how brilliant you are... professors will pick up on this and blow you off as immature. I saw a couple of students in my classes try this (pre-med gunners), and they looked like a couple of tools. Truly show some interest in learning the subject, even if you do hate it, and the professor will likely be more apt to help you and remember you.
 

nemo123

5+ Year Member
Jul 22, 2011
2,035
986
Status
Medical Student
A lot of good advice on here. What I also did was go to a professor's office hours with one of my grades psets or exams and ask for clarification on how to arrive at an answer for one or two of the questions. You don't even need to introduce yourself because your name is on that sheet of paper. ;) Eventually, these can become into TA positions and you'll form an even better relationship with your professors.

To add onto what 1012526fs said, don't go every time there's an office hours just because. I knew of some people who went all the time to ask "questions" and some of us were pretty sure our professors were irritated by it.