Letting Fear Fuel Your Opportunities 

By Mac Pomeroy

My first semester of college, I somehow ended up in a journalism class. This was not intentional, but unfortunately the class I had planned to take did not work out. I love writing, and this class involved enough of it, so it was a quick match. However, this simple choice to join that class led to a very unexpected chapter within my life.

I should also note that due to my piss-poor legs, I am usually the last person to leave my classes. Because of this, I often spend a few moments after class talking to the professor. 

So, over the next few weeks, I got to know Dave Davis, who taught my journalism as literature course and has since retired. But I learned more about his career in journalism. It was surprising to hear about the full and fascinating path of a reporter that he had led prior to teaching and how determined he was to share all he knew with his students. 

However, I still wasn’t prepared for when he stopped me after class a few weeks in the semester to tell me an opportunity had appeared he thought would suit me. Often, no matter how much you plan each moment in life, that doesn’t stop unexpected opportunities from occurring. And these opportunities can be frightening. Perhaps you don’t feel that you can do it. Maybe it is just an odd timing.

Too often, people let good opportunities pass by due to fear. For as many reasons as some may give for this fear, it can be broken down to one simple reason: the fear of failure. Professor Davis told me about how one of the school’s magazines was looking for some new writers. He explained he thought I would be a good match for the position. 

Of course, I was confused. I had never done any real journalism work. At most, I had written an article for his class, but that was a rough try. However, he seemed sure that it was something I should do, so I decided to give it my best.

By giving in to the fear of failure, we are failing. We are failing to put our best foot forward and try. Otherwise, we cannot expect to get anywhere in life.

How can you get a scholarship if you don’t apply? How will you get a job if you never go to the interview? How will you ever know what you are capable of if you never try?

I went ahead and set up a meeting with the person he had given me the contact information for: Frances Clause. Admittedly, I was going in thinking there was going to be a much older woman, probably very serious and strict. I was terrified of meeting this person, though she did sound friendly in her emails.

What I wasn’t expecting was to walk into the room and find a student who wasn’t much older than me. She was very kind and excited, carrying an infectious enthusiasm for what she did. It didn’t take long to realize why my professor wanted me to try with this opportunity.

If I didn’t go to the meeting that day and didn’t write the article for YO Magazine, I would not have proceeded to become a columnist.

No one can take advantage of an opportunity for you. Yes, it can be terrifying to be faced with a new, uncertain perspective. Use this fear to fuel your passion. Take a chance. Maybe it will end up being one of the best things to ever happen to you.

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