Only now do I realise how astronomically anxious I was about starting university. I’d performed well at school, had the support of all my friends and family and was beyond determined to chase my dreams in a brand new, shiny city. However, I never once stopped to think about how scared I was. It was too daunting and real. So to cope, I subconsciously spun these fears into euphemisms. For example, these are quotes I said vs what I really thought:
University campuses are so big! vs I’m going to get lost every single day….
I’ll meet so many new people! vs I’ll have to talk to people I don’t know….
The work will be challenging! vs I’m going to fail all my classes…
However, as the idiom rings true, I faked it until I made it. Not that I would recommend it if you’re a brilliant, confident young woman! But it did help convince someone like me that everything WAS going to be alright.
I now realise getting lost helped me become familiar with campus back to front. The pocket map I used became water damaged, scribbled all over with permanent marker and ripped in few places. It’s now a cute memento of my first few weeks at uni.
I had a random boy approach me after a lecture which made me deeply suspicious… but turns out he wasn’t a creepy stalker or axe murderer. In fact, he just wanted to make a study group with me and a few others. We all benefited tremendously because this boy was willing to talk to people he didn’t know. I couldn’t be more grateful or inspired.
It was hard receiving my mark for my first essay because it was significantly lower than any of the marks I’d achieved in high school. However, feedback, diligence and perspective helped greatly. I finished with a mark I’d never thought I’d achieve and was unabashedly proud of my improvement.
I now realise that my first year fears weren’t unreasonable. And despite not being brave enough to admit them out loud, everything did work out for the better. I didn’t need to doubt myself because I was scared. I didn’t need to be frustrated because I was anxious and worried. Turns out taking the time to embrace all those feelings were entirely necessary. As such, I turned myself away from fear and towards fearlessness instead.
And guess what?
You can too.