Author: Virginia G., ‘22
While at Rice, I’ve learned that you can get a lot by just asking. Trust me, I know it can be terrifying to ask people for opportunities, but the worst that can happen is someone says no, which puts you right back where you started. Maybe you didn’t move forward, but you didn’t move back either. I’m not claiming to be a perfect model of taking my own advice—in fact, there have been plenty of times when I didn’t ask—but the times when I did take that advice, I gained opportunities that I’m grateful for today.
Currently, I intern at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, working with the curator of anthropology to renovate the Hall of the Americas. If someone had told me when I first came to Rice that a year later, I would be in this position, I wouldn’t have believed them. But the process of getting to this point all started with asking.
During my very first semester at Rice, I had an assignment that required me to interview professionals working in the field I potentially wanted to pursue, which for me is anthropology. On a whim, I decided to email the museum and ask if I could interview the curator of anthropology, not really expecting an answer, and definitely not expecting a yes. To my surprise, the curator agreed to be interviewed, and after our talk I emailed him again to ask if I could start volunteering at the museum. Instead of the mundane cataloguing tasks that I was anticipating, he offered me the opportunity to work with him on the renovation. I certainly had doubts about my abilities; I wasn’t sure if was qualified to work on the project, and I had no clue if I would succeed or fail. But I took a leap of faith and said yes to the opportunity that I asked for, and I am so glad that I did, because I love my internship and what I get to do every week for it.
Sometimes asking won’t result in anything, but sometimes it will. You will never know what opportunities you could be offered if you don’t ask for them. So, take a chance and fight back the fear and just ask.