Hey SAIT students,
Asking for feedback is important because getting feedback is an essential part of becoming better at… well, just about anything! Some of us are more self-aware than others, but even those who claim to know themselves inside out need feedback every so often. We’re only human after all, and so we can’t possibly know every single one of our strengths and weaknesses. Receiving feedback is an excellent way for us to get to know ourselves better!
There’s a difference between asking for feedback and asking for good feedback.
Asking for feedback looks like emailing your professor: “Any advice on this paper would be useful!”
Asking for good feedback looks like emailing your professor: I found it difficult to write a conclusion for this paper that tied everything I wrote together without repeating everything I wrote earlier. What are your thoughts on the conclusion I currently have drafted? Does it go into everything again too much and does it come across as me rambling?”
Asking for specific feedback is asking for good feedback, because it’ll usually mean that you get a specific answer in return that is personal and relevant to you.
Understandably, receiving feedback can be discouraging. However, try to look at feedback as an opportunity to improve. It’s highly unlikely that a professor would give you feedback on something that cannot be worked on or improved. And so the fact that they’re giving you feedback should tell you that they think you have the ability to make a positive change. Additionally, providing feedback is a common way for professors to propel students forward, challenging their ideas and making them think harder and more carefully. So when you receive feedback from a professor, thoughtfully consider each comment. If you do not understand something, discuss it with your professor. A request for clarification is not rude at all! The following request is a reasonable and polite way to ask for clarification: “On page 3, you wrote X. I don’t quite understand what you mean by this. Could we make an appointment to discuss it?”
You’re overthinking it! It’s literally your professors job to teach you and help you along the way, and they know that. Professors see students that ask for feedback as intellectually curious and proactive individuals, and both are admirable things to be seen as. However, if you’re really that self-conscious about it, you might want to consider getting in contact with SAIT’s Academic Coaching department. Through SAIT, you can access academic success seminars, tutoring, writing workshops, and more!