What Questions Really Are the Stupid Questions?
March 15, 2015
Like many students, I used to scoff at the idea that there was no such thing as a stupid question. My arrogant and misdirected belief was born of years of being a student who didn’t have to ask many questions. Then I went to the Math Olympiad Summer Program (MOP) after my tenth grade year. The first classes started with Professor Rousseau writing ‘Counting’ on the board. Good, I thought. I can count . . .
Within ten minutes I was thoroughly lost. I stopped taking notes and waited desperately for the class to end. I didn’t dare raise my hand. Questions, I thought, were just for dumb kids. After
I’m not fifteen anymore. I’m still not very good at asking questions—perhaps that’s a habit best developed early. But I do at least know that asking questions isn’t just for dumb kids. Accepting one’s own lack of understanding rather than risking looking stupid—that’s for dumb kids.