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Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Golden Question: Miguel de Baca

Miguel de Baca is the associate professor of Art History at Lake Forest College. Professor de Baca’s research interests are Modern and contemporary American art history. 

What’s one lesson you’ve learned the hard way and who could you have asked for help?


During graduate school, I was convinced that I wanted to do everything “my way,” and I resisted collaborating with my fellow cohort. I was then, and, if I’m honest, am still very much a lone wolf when it comes to my scholarship and writing. However, graduate school is by definition an emotionally exhausting and very isolating experience, and in retrospect, I wish I had reached out more to fellow graduate students both socially and academically. I didn’t want to appear needy or vulnerable. In the end, it was my pride. However, there is a professional way of asking for help with your work that demonstrates maturity and intelligence, which is this: (1) you must demonstrate that you have tried to solve the problem on your own before asking for assistance from others, (2) you should be as precise in possible in your questions, and (3) you should stay engaged with those who help you and keep in touch with them—this opens the door to further and better collaborations and breaks down the barriers. Most people are willing to lend a hand if you approach them in this fashion.