To The Ones Who Are Afraid To Just Do The Thing

To The Ones Who Are Afraid To Just Do The Thing

Whatever it is, you can.

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We all have that thing that we really want to do — whether it's trying out a new club, exploring a new place, or making a new friend. But sometimes it can be overwhelming and, well, scary. I know. I've been there many times.

As I approach the end of my first year in college, I've been unbelievably retrospective. I can't help but think about everything that has happened in my life to get me to where I am today, or how different my life would be if one little thing happened differently. But regardless of whatever existential crisis I happen to fall into, I always find that the greatest things that have happened in my life are all rooted in my conquered fears.

I was afraid to go on a service trip to New Orleans with new JMU students who I didn't know. Now, the tall, freckle-faced, redhaired girl I met on that trip is my best friend and we'll be returning to New Orleans for another round of service next month.

I was afraid to audition for plays at JMU. Now, I'm working on so many exciting projects in the theater.

I was afraid to come to JMU in the first place. Now, it's my favorite place in the world.

There is a lot about myself that I don't know, but I've learned that I'll never truly know myself and all that I am capable of if I surround myself with fear.

If I could give one piece of advice to anyone in this kind of situation, it would be: just do the thing. Because you can. Fear alone can be enough to talk you out of pursuing something that could be so wonderful, but I'm here to tell you to face those fears. Embrace them. Use that energy to fuel whatever amazing journey you're about to go on.

It can be difficult. If I'm being honest, I still get nervous when trying new things. But what I have begun to realize is that people want you to succeed, and no one is going to judge you if you don't get it exactly right on your first try.

I have come face to face with my fair share of failure, rejection, and embarrassment, and I would be lying if I said it didn't hurt when I got that college rejection letter, or when my face went completely red while giving a speech in front of my class, or when I didn't get cast in that musical. But that's OK! Feel the hurt, feel the frustration, feel whatever you need to feel. Just remember that things can only get better from here on out.

Take chances. That's how we learn.

Make mistakes. That's how we grow.

Fail. That's how we get stronger.

So, do the thing, whatever it is. Take that step, no matter how big or small. Maybe jump, cartwheel, run, or spin. Go forward, sideways, or diagonal—just don't go back.

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The Truth About Young Marriage

Different doesn't mean wrong.
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When I was a kid, I had an exact picture in my mind of what my life was going to look like. I was definitely not the kind of girl who would get married young, before the age of 25, at least.

And let me tell you, I was just as judgmental as that sentence sounds.

I could not wrap my head around people making life-long commitments before they even had an established life. It’s not my fault that I thought this way, because the majority opinion about young marriage in today’s society is not a supportive one. Over the years, it has become the norm to put off marriage until you have an education and an established career. Basically, this means you put off marriage until you learn how to be an adult, instead of using marriage as a foundation to launch into adulthood.

When young couples get married, people will assume that you are having a baby, and they will say that you’re throwing your life away — it’s inevitable.

It’s safe to say that my perspective changed once I signed my marriage certificate at the age of 18. Although marriage is not always easy and getting married at such a young age definitely sets you up for some extra challenges, there is something to be said about entering into marriage and adulthood at the same time.

SEE ALSO: Finding A Husband In College

Getting married young does not mean giving up your dreams. It means having someone dream your dreams with you. When you get lost along the way, and your dreams and goals seem out of reach, it’s having someone there to point you in the right direction and show you the way back. Despite what people are going to tell you, it definitely doesn’t mean that you are going to miss out on all the experiences life has to offer. It simply means that you get to share all of these great adventures with the person you love most in the world.

And trust me, there is nothing better than that. It doesn’t mean that you are already grown up, it means that you have someone to grow with.

You have someone to stick with you through anything from college classes and changing bodies to negative bank account balances.

You have someone to sit on your used furniture with and talk about what you want to do and who you want to be someday.

Then, when someday comes, you get to look back on all of that and realize what a blessing it is to watch someone grow. Even after just one year of marriage, I look back and I am incredibly proud of my husband. I’m proud of the person he has become, and I’m proud of what we have accomplished together. I can’t wait to see what the rest of our lives have in store for us.

“You can drive at 16, go to war at 18, drink at 21, and retire at 65. So who can say what age you have to be to find your one true love?" — One Tree Hill
Cover Image Credit: Sara Donnelli Photography

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Retail Horror Stories

Customer service nightmares.

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I've worked in customer service for many years now. No matter what job, cashier or customer service desk associate, or where, whether Seattle Target or Tacoma Home Depot, the customers never change. You hear retail horror stories told from the customers all the time. Their opinions are all over the internet, in surveys for the companies, and even complaining to the employees themselves. You'll find that most of the people that are mean to retail associates are the people who have not every worked in retail themselves. Just in my year at The Home Depot, I had many horror stories happen, but I the associate was the one experiencing them, and the customer was causing them. So here are some commonly occurring nightmares in my not-so dream job.

1. Unsolicited flirting

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I once was complaining to one of my fellow female employees about how I hated when creepy old men would come up and flirt with me at work when I could not escape. One of the male employees near me asked me if that really happened and I scoffed. I then told him it happened at least once a shift and he was flabbergasted. I then told him some of the following quotes I had heard just within the last month working at The Home Depot:

"Good girl."

"I love a lady that can handle a big piece of wood."

"You sweet little thing."

"I saw you walk by me with your grande coffee and I was like 'that is one fine lady' and now you're here."

"You're amazing and cute and smart, and you don't ask stupid questions, like if I want cash back."

"I'll call you Bratty Maddy. Do you take that as a compliment? I would."

"Farewell, beloved."

Now, I've had sexism within the workplace. I've had a manager on duty once tell me to 'put on the old razzle dazzle' but would not tell the men employees that. But I can report employees and have the situation remedied. I can even leave to another part of the store.

But it is my job to make the customer happy. However, it is not my job when they reach across the counter to pull my fingers off the keyboard to hold my hand. Being polite does not mean having to accept harassment.

2. Angry customers

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When I talk about angry customers, I don't mean the ones who just raise their voice to get attention. I'm talking about the ones that are such a handful that you have to call a manager. Examples of such customers:

A customer threatening to call the police on me for denying his return, swearing at me, and when security arrived, kicking over our garbage can as he left.

A guest hanging up our phone on another guest that was put on hold because they were annoyed of the sound of the phone ringing.

People saying they spend thousands of dollars at the store annually and therefore want rules broken for them or else they will take their business elsewhere.

3. Weird returns

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Return policies are not in place to inconvenience customers. All the rules are set there for a reason. I've returned merchandise dumped out of a McDonald's bag that also had cookie crumbs and a spider in it. We even return defective (aka broken) merchandise all the time. But some products I can't return because either we can't resell it, it is out of policy, or the computer literally won't let me. Some of the kinds of conversations I have with customers where I can't do anything for them go like the this:

Key:

Employee

Customer


The can squirts, not sprays, it's broken.

That's because it's near empty. I can't return it if there isn't any product.

Can you return it if the product inside didn't work?

Did it not work?

Well, the can doesn't work now.


We both know this isn't 12 ft, and I can't return it if it isn't. Has it been cut?

No, it hasn't been cut.

It measures at 9 ft.

Yes, because it was cut by your staff.

So it has been cut then.


I am disgusted. This place is horrible. I hope you tell someone higher up all this.

That's why I want to transfer you to a manager to speak with them on the phone directly.

No. Disgusting. Useless.

I have many more stories to tell, and I'm sure all my other friends I've worked with have even worse stories than I do. But despite all this, I still go into work every day with a smile on my face and a coffee in my hand. If I don't do it, then who will? At the end of the day, they only see one me, but I see hundreds of them. I know what I can and can't handle, and more importantly, what I am allowed to handle or not. I may cry some days and feel like giving up, but I am good at what I do, so I keep doing it.

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