Independence vs. Interdependence
Myth: Other people can do everything on their own easily. I should be able to do everything by myself without asking for help. If I ask for help, people will think I am stupid or incompetent.
- In past schooling, many students have experienced separation from peers when accessing academic support, in resource/special education rooms and in after school help. For some, this has made asking for and accessing help feel like extra work, unfair, or lonely.
- Many students believe the independence myth above because when we struggle, we don't usually brag about it. This makes it seem like no one struggles, when in reality, many people do, and feel like they are the only one.
Problem: Approaching asking for help as a sign of weakness or failure makes you less likely to thrive.
- If you avoid asking for help because you had bad experiences with it in the past or because you feel like no one else is doing it, you miss opportunities to create positive change in your life. You may struggle for longer, and more severely than you might if you reached out.
Fact: Struggle is natural and common. People need to work together to grow and support one another.
- It took over 400,000 people working together to get a human to the moon. Work smarter, not harder. It is efficent to play to your strengths, and work with others who can offer expertise and tools to help you succeed.
Sea otters love interdependence so much they hold hands while they sleep so they don't float away from their trusted partners!
Get Your Needs Met
In the Holistic Learning Program, we see many students struggling to parse out past experiences from present ones when accessing support. Many students have had bad experiences with teachers or care providers in the past, and feel distressed just being in our office.
The Holistic Learning Program and Knowledge Commons staff are happy to talk with you about how to find service providers you can trust, and how to express your needs. We know navigating an institution can be challenging, and we can help you respond to any staff or providers that cause you distress.
Also, we love feedback, and want to hear about your experiences with us, good and bad. You can provide feedback on your experience with our staff or resources in consultation with a team member privately, or provide feedback via email.
And if you're not comfortable working with staff, or want to do some work on your own, our Reflect on Educational Experience and Reflect on Disability Experience handouts can help you reflect on your past, future goals, and relationship to support services.