It is that time again in the school year where things such as classes and other extracurriculars can either pick back up even faster than before or take a backseat. It is too early to tell if it is the latter, but regardless, this semester will be different than previous ones. For me, this is the semester before senior year, and it did not hit me until this very moment. 

If we were to be completely honest, I believe I am still a freshman mentally wise, and the main reason for that is COVID-19. I was the first class of “Zoom University,” as you all know from my previous articles, and I had grown accustomed to staying in my dorm making viral TikToks. Then, the dreaded day arrived: the first day of sophomore year. 

Now, I told my anxiety that since COVID-19 regulations were becoming less strict, everyone would be on the campus walking to and from class. I prayed and hoped that I made that clear, but that did not stop Ms. Anxiety from giving me a mini-attack that resulted in me finding the closest chair to sit down in. Once we got that out of the way, I was fine…or so I thought.

Classes outside of the ones required for my degree became gibberish to me. This past semester, as well as the one before, had me to the point where even picking up my laptop to do my work made me physically sick, and I was not able to be the best student I can be. Many negative emotions, especially self-doubt, held me back as the inevitable future of graduation approached.

I bet you have questions: how are you going to graduate if you keep holding yourself back? Are you just trying to make excuses for procrastinating? Are you sure you are not just lazy? 

Let me tell you a secret: when you meet someone with two mental disorders such as anxiety and depression, these questions and a little more negativity on the side already circle around in their mind like wasps. 

The best way to explain this dilemma is that I have a fear of both success and failure. It is the overwhelming feeling of getting everything you wanted, crossing a milestone, and all of the good things happening to you. However, there is a seemingly stronger force telling you to not even try so you do not fail. Alongside those is the fear of change, and all said fears are very real and detrimental. 

According to the University of the People, “Humans find it hard to move on when something known comes to an end. The fear of failure also comes into play to create a fear of change. If we don’t know how something will turn out, we may rather not try because the outcome could be bad.”

On the other hand, failure and bad outcomes prompt you to learn and/or revitalize your purpose. The late Chadwick Boseman said, “Purpose is an essential element of you. It is the reason you are on the planet at this particular time in history. Your very existence is wrapped up in the things you are here to fulfill. Whatever you choose for a career path, remember the struggles along the way are only meant to shape you for your purpose.”

For the past five full semesters, it has felt as if I dipped my toes into my purpose, but I never found the courage yet to dive in without a doubt. One of my goals for this semester is to take a leap of faith and believe in myself because if I do not believe in myself, who else will? I am the one in charge of my life and how it pans out, whether I live in fear or live fearlessly.