Being Helpful

I’ve talked before about how I have trouble saying no to things, and that it’s one of my biggest flaws. (And yes, that totally sounds like a brag. It kind of is, and I’m happy if that’s my biggest flaw.)

I don’t mean, like, saying no to bad things. Drugs? Alcohol? Anything like that? I have no problems with saying no. Anything I know is detrimental or bad, I can walk out on in an instant. That’s not what I’m talking about.

It’s the good things. For example, tonight after dinner, I was aiming to finish my probability homework for the week, which would probably have taken me about an hour or so, and then catch up on my writing. I’m doing a structured outlining/planning class-thing to get ready for NaNoWriMo, and I’m currently 2 assignments behind. I was planning to knock one of those out, and then maybe read for a while, and catch some sleep early.

Right now, it’s after 2 in the morning. I have class in eight hours. And this blog post is going to be my writing for the day, in large part because my brain is so tired that I can’t focus and think enough to complete one of my outlining assignments. I did not get my probability done either. That’s okay, though, because it’s due on Thursday, and I can and will finish it tomorrow night.

What happened? Well, I went down to dinner. There, I sat and talked to the one person I know from my computer science class, and listened to him gripe about his classes. In his government class, he’s having to write two essays. I spent an hour helping him by proof-reading one of them and helping him re-word and re-structure parts of it, to get it ready to turn in. Sometime tomorrow, probably tomorrow evening, I’ll probably be helping him with the other one as well.

So, while I was doing that, someone posted in the computer science Facebook group, saying they were stuck on one part of the assignment. I messaged them and worked with them for at least an hour, getting them through the part of the assignment they were stuck on, while never actually giving them the answer. I think they understood what they were doing by the time we were done.

In the middle of doing that, I sent a link to someone I had helped with a probability problem last week, relating to a comment I made during that conversation. This led to us talking, just talking, no class-work involved for the next, oh… three hours? That lasted until about 1 AM. It was fun. That was the longest conversation I’ve had since the semester started by a long shot, and the longest one online since… No, not going there. Anyway, it was a good long conversation.

Remind me to tell you how I know her some time. It’s complicated, lol. And got even more complicated during our conversation, as I realized that I knew her from somewhere else too, and had just never made the connection.

As that conversation was wrapping up, another student posted on the FB group with the same problem. I spent about an hour working him through the same series of steps, and he understood what was going on even better than the first person. With that solved, I’m dead tired, worn out, not feeling like doing anything, and I have class in less than 8 hours.

My problem is that I don’t know how to say no to things like this. I really enjoy talking to intelligent people, especially when they’re taking some of the same classes I am, know some of the same people, like good books, can hold an sensible conversation, and so on. I don’t get enough of that, by any means. I’m kind of socially starved that way, so when I have the opportunity, I take it when I can. I also LOVE to help people. Seriously. It’s like, well… It’s hard to explain. I just like to help people. Being able to help someone past an obstacle, or improve something they’ve worked hard on, like an essay, that’s rewarding. Seeing a light go on in someone’s head, when they make a connection they’ve been futilely struggling with for hours, that is one of the most rewarding feelings on the planet for me. I love it.

And that’s my problem. Because I enjoy these things, I have trouble saying no to them. And so when they come up, I take the opportunity. And thus, I’m sitting here at 2:30 AM, with a class coming up in 7:30, and writing a blog post about it, because my brain is too fried to work on fiction right now.

I’m going to sign off now. I’ll leave you with what the second person I helped with computer science said at the end of their conversation with me. It’s comments like this that truly make my day.

“i really can’t thank you enough for that help! you’d be an awesome TA by the way lol”


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