This column has always been a safe space for me because it allows me to dish out my experiences, reflect on what works and what doesn’t and encourage and inspire others to do the same.
Recently, I’ve been dealing with the fear of what’s next or what’s unknown, and it has taken a toll on my happiness. But the more I talk to people about how they are doing and what they’re dealing with, I find that this fear and anxiety is common on campus.
In fact, the symptoms of anxiety and fearfulness directly correspond to what college students would consider as normalized stress. College can be a stressful period of time, and no student is immune to feeling the pressure of this kind of stress.
According to Best Colleges Resources, one of the signs used to recognize anxiety is, “appearing to live in constant fear of failure, academically or socially.”
It took me a couple of years to fully step outside of my comfort zone, and even today, I am still fearful of completely releasing who I imagine Jayla to someday be. I am afraid of failing at things that matter most to me and I am afraid that I won’t live up to the standards I have set for myself.
This self doubt can cause anxiousness and trouble making decisions in academic and social settings.
It’s a process, and the smaller steps are sometimes just what you need to make larger strides, but it is possible to overcome your fears here at Mercer and embrace your current situation.
It starts with your tribe. Once I realized who was in my corner, who was rooting for me and who wanted to see me become the best version of myself, I had to adjust my relationships. This immediately changed the energy around me to positive and encouraging.
When I came to them complaining out of fear or in a doubtful state, they responded with encouragement and inspiration. This is something we all need and should all be willing to give. Being around people who may encourage your fearfulness and self-doubt can be toxic to your growth.
My tribe was the first adjustment I had to make that helped me to push through the doubt I was having. The next thing that became key for me was having multiple plans and multiple options.
If there was something I wanted to do or accomplish, instead of thinking of ways it could go wrong or thinking of the potential failure, I wrote out a Plan B and a Plan C. If one way didn’t work, I’d have to use another skill of mine or reach out to someone who can help me. Plan C could even be adjusting the entire goal.
Knowing that you did everything you could, even in the beginning stages of accomplishing something can help to eliminate fear and doubts about the outcome.
I have to constantly remind myself that there’s more happening than what I can physically see. It’s easy to become doubtful and discouraged about outcomes when we can’t see them or can’t see how they’ll turn out.
After I tailored my tribe and created multiple options for myself, I taught and convinced myself that success and everything I want could be happening very soon and I wouldn’t know it until I pushed through to get there.
If you give up, doubt yourself or back out because of fear now, you may never see the outcome and you may never have control over your success. It could be right around the corner, so push through. You’ll get there.