Don’t ever be afraid to speak up in the classroom. You’re in college to learn. Asking questions, rephrasing things in your own words, and exploring related topics are some of the best ways to develop knowledge.
So, don’t ever be embarrassed.
Even if your professor just spent four hours attempting to explain something, you should ask questions if you don’t understand it. Sure, there may be one or two students in the classroom that find your question annoying or repetitive, but you’re not in the classroom just for them. You need to make sure that you clearly understand the material.
Besides who cares what one student thinks anyway? There are probably 5 other students in the classroom who are silently relieved that someone finally asked your question. They may never show their gratitude, but rest assured, if you don’t understand something, someone else doesn’t get it either.
Plus, you never know what answers a question will lead to. Some questions result in unnecessary, boring details, but others open doors to fascinating and important discussions. The most interesting lectures are often inspired by a simple question.
So don’t ever be nervous.
Asking questions is also one of the best ways to wrack up class participation points. Most professors love questions. Not only do they help you to understand the material better, but they also help professors identify problems in their lecture or areas that need to be explored more thoroughly. How will your professor ever know that her explanation isn’t clear enough if you don’t raise your hand? You have to communicate with your professor. You have to ask questions.
If it’s too nerve-wracking or difficult for you to ask a question in the classroom, make an effort to visit your professor during her office hours. Sure, you might be able to google the answer, but you want your professor’s perspective on the topic. After all, she’ll be the one grading your tests and papers.