In case anyone is interested: there's a strong possibility that I'll get to take the Tolkien and Lewis class I wanted after all! I emailed the professor and expressed how much I wanted to take the class. She emailed me back saying "show up to class, someone usually drops out, and if not...maybe we could work something out."
This is extremely exciting for two reasons. One because, c'mon, it's a legitimate reason to study Tolkien and Lewis (Not just read. You don't understand. I'm the the person who owns a comparative study of the two authors already, the kind that's in dry scholarly language, and enjoyed reading that. I'm that person, the one who's taken notes on Lewis' essay The Weight of Glory to be sure I was properly understanding it. I revel in my geekiness) Also, this validates my life philosophy, which is that you have to try. Just ask! I'd tell my friends when we wanted to have a sleepover. "Maybe it is too late and the parents will say no. But maybe they'll be in a good mood. What do you have to lose? Just ask!"
So, I reason, maybe I'm too late to take the class, but if I ask, politely...maybe the teacher'll be inclined to let a student who really wants to study in--because I can say for myself, it's far more of a joy to teach someone who wants to learn. She might say, "I'm sorry, closed is closed," but she might not. It turned out to be that she didn't. I had to ask to find out, and I'm glad I did.
The principal of "Just Ask" is lacking in the general way of things. Sometimes people think to themselves, "There's no way, I'd never win/get accepted/become friends with him; so I might as well save my energy and not try." The biblical axiom of, "You do not have because you do not ask" bears out: they don't have everything they could from life because they don't ask anything from life. Maybe they did ask once: tried a business, a relationship, a school, and got rejected. The thing with asking is, sometimes--oftentimes-- the answer is "no". Sometimes people can't shrug it off and try again: sometimes they become bitter about it, and believe that because that's what happened once, that's the way it's always going to be, so they stop asking for things. But they still want something. But since they're not asking, reaching, or trying for it, they don't receive it; but they become convinced that that is further proof that they wouldn't have gotten it anyway. In a sort of savage way, they feel vindicated. The cycle continues downward from there.
I'm not being judgemental. I'm not touchy-feely "oh, if you believe in yourself you can do anything" types. At all. That is a myth that makes me aggressively sick to my stomach. But I do think that when you're negative on yourself, you make self-fulfilling prophecies.
I also think that there are two reasons for not asking. One is that some people, odd as is it may seem, really derive a sort of bitter enjoyment of feeling downtrodden and unlucky. They like to feel sorry for themselves. It's a seductive pleasure I've sometimes struggled with. I honestly think it's a tool of the Enemy. It makes us focused on ourselves and our petty issues instead of God. It makes us angry towards other people: towards the people who didn't give us what we wanted, towards people who did get what they wanted. And if you think that self absorption and anger can't be twisted into soul-destroying levels, I have some swampland in Florida I'd like to sell you.
The second reason people don't ask is a little more logical. They are content to be part of the masses, because that's safe. It's scary and uncomfortable and even painful to be something more, something better.
Some people don't ask because they're afraid they'd get what the asked for.