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Opinion

Fear of failure may prevent life-changing opportunities

November 21, 2013

It does not seem like too long ago that I was graduating high school and moving to college.

I remember vividly being a wide-eyed new student at UW-River Falls. I remember getting lost on the campus that now seems small, thinking Riverside Commons was a gourmet buffet and pronouncing “Hathorn” wrong. Yes, I even wore a UWRF lanyard around my neck everywhere I went.

Now that I am a senior, I have been reflecting on the past three and half years at UWRF. The phrase, “You will not regret the things you do, but will only regret the things you do not do,” has been said time and time again. However, I have been realizing that this statement applies to my entire college career and life in general.

I realize now that the only way to learn and grow as a person is to make mistakes. Fear of the unknown and failure are feelings that plague many for their entire lives. While it is hard to ignore these feelings, it is better to fail than not to try at all.

It does not matter now that I was one of the funny-looking freshmen with a lanyard around my neck. The other times that I have looked like a dork also do not matter.

The things that matter in the end are the chances that one decides to take or not to take.

While four years of school may seem like a long time, it is shorter than one may think. Yes, four years is a considerable amount of time, and college can be stressful. However, when a student wants to study abroad, complete internships, join organizations and make new friends, there is not much time to spare.

It is important not to take the college years for granted, but instead take advantage of as many opportunities as possible, whether it is in the form of volunteer work, involvement in student organizations or meeting people with different perspectives.

While I have learned a lot outside the classroom, I wish I took the chance to experience even more opportunities.

There have been times when I have thought, “this does not go along with my major,” or “that is not what I am into.” However, it turned out that to be something that I would have loved to do.

Even though an opportunity may not go along with what the current career you are pursuing, it does not mean that you will not end up loving it.

My message to all UWRF students is to not be afraid of failure or looking funny. Take chances. Push yourself further than you ever thought you could go. Go for the job or internship that seems out of reach. Travel. Talk to the cute boy or girl that you were afraid to talk to.

The next time you are afraid to try something new, think “what is really stopping me from pursuing this opportunity?”

Nicole Hovatter is a student at UW-River Falls.