We all have things we are afraid of. Whether it is heights, spiders, or clowns, or even irrational fears we had as kids like the monster under our bed or in the closet. No matter how common or weird, everyone has a fear or something they always try to avoid. For myself, I have a few basic fears, but the one I always try to block out or escape from is the thought of my future. Seems pretty lame right? But like I said before, everyone has something they try to avoid, like mistakes they made in their past they try to forget. Only for me, it’s not the past that I worry about anymore, it is the mistakes I made in the past that I know might if not already hurt my future.

As kids, we all thought about our futures. Like what would we be when we grow up? What type of car would you drive? What will high school and college be like? But then time goes by in the blink of an eye and you’re already in college planning out your future. It seems like everyone around you has their life together and they will be set for their future after college, while you sit there thinking you are not even close to where they are at. So you begin to feel nervous, like, what if I don’t graduate? What if I can’t find a job anywhere after college? And the anxiety and fear of your future begin to consume you until you feel sick. This is a feeling I know all too well.

Some days, it feels like you’re really on top of things and you’re getting ahead in life. Then suddenly, you get a bad grade on an exam that drops you down and makes life seem a lot worse than it actually is. And while you failed that exam and your grade slides, someone else gets an A on it and they brag about how they have a 4.0 and that they are on track to graduate on time, and the feeling of fear and anxiety for your future begins to take over your mind again. You keep thinking about all these what if’s. Like what if I don’t pass this class, what if I fall behind in my courses and have to stay an extra semester or 2? What if all this work I put in is all for nothing? What if I let my parents down…

This feeling of fear, when I think about my future has plagued my mind for as long as I can remember. It is just scary to think about everything you have worked so hard for being all for nothing, and you finally graduate and you can’t find a job. But the one thing I have learned is that you have to take a deep breath, take a step back, and look at where you are. Look at how far you have come. Don’t think about all the times you failed, think about all the times you got yourself back up and kept going. Don’t worry about everyone else, yes some people will have their life together, but that does not mean you will never have yours together. Sometimes you have to focus purely on yourself and worry about where you are in life. Because one day, you are going to graduate. Whether it takes four years, four and a half, five, or even six years, by that time you will be more than ready for the real world, and you will realize that everything you feared was just an illusion.

When it comes to looking at and planning ahead for your future, you can choose to focus on someone else’s, or you can worry about your own and work hard till you see your plan start to come together. Everything may not be okay now, but that doesn’t mean it will always be this way. There will come a time when you have everything figured out, and you can finally look back and be happy and proud of yourself because you never gave up. Even when times were rough and it felt like you wanted to quit, you kept going. My life may not be perfect now, but one day it will be. And when that day comes, I will look back and see how I conquered my fear and learned that it was all in my head, that in the end, I had no reason to be afraid of my future. Until that day, I will learn to embrace the challenges of tomorrow and learn to not be afraid of my future, but to embrace it.