The ringing of my phone drew me from my sleep and my heart immediately skipped a beat. It was my friend on the other side of the line calling to confirm our plans for the day. We were months into deep research for a project work which would determine the final GPA or class with which we would graduate. After years of sleepless nights, tests that seemed to already determine your fate during the semester before the semester even ended and heart-pounding trepidation in the exam room right before papers were dropped in front of you, it was all drawing to an end.
It was like the end of an era that was both exciting and fearful but on this faithful day, fear won out. What next? Was this as good as it got? Would I be one of the lucky ones who found their dream jobs immediately or the unlucky ones who spent years at job hunting? Would I be expected to carry on a job I had no interest in because my mother had started it? Would it make me look ungrateful if I should want to try out a path I wanted first? My head was filled with countless thoughts and unfortunately none of them was even remotely positive.
My heart was beating fast, my breath was short, my head was pounding and I was close to tears. It took but a moment to figure out what was happening to me. I was having a panic attack. The situation would have been laughable was I not struggling for my next breath. I mean this was me. I was level headed in everything I did. I broke things I didn’t understand down and worked at it one after the other until I made sense of it. I rarely showed my anger and planned everything to a fault. I had stopped crying publicly when I had turned nine and yet here I was, about to have a full blown melt down in front of my roommates. What was I so scared of? Was the future – my future something so scary to behold. Never show weakness. That had been my motto since a young age. I had stood my ground when I choose my senior high course even though my entire family had been against it. Everything would work itself out.
I recited these words in my head as my breathing evened out and I realized even my strong willed mind could only take so much. I needed my support system. So I called my big sister. Hearing her recount her final year of college where she had woke up one day ready to throw everything she had worked towards away and drop out of school woke me out of my pity party. She recounted how my parents had to mobilize my uncles and some few family pastors to convince her to stay put. To push throw the last days.
I realized something that day; we all had fears regarding our futures. We all had reasons why we wake up every day and do our utmost best. Some want to leave some things behind. So want to catch up to something. Some to take care of the people that had always had our backs whenever we needed and others to be a stronghold for others. The need to do well comes with a certain degree of fear and that fear can either cripple you or push you to be a survivor.
Fear exists in all of us. It is not something to be ashamed of or deny. It is how you deal with your fear that defines the type of person you are.