You don’t have to be fearless – just don’t be a quitter

Giovanni Paolo Tagliafierro, Sports Editor

I used to make pizza, a lot of pizza. My family owns a little pizzeria and deli right outside of the city of Saratoga Springs, New York, where I grew up. When my parents first purchased the place about five years ago, it was a little daunting knowing I was going to be making food and taking orders and getting yelled at by customers.  


News flash: I didn’t want to mess up. I didn’t want to see the look on my dad’s face when I burnt another pie, but time goes on – whether you’re ready or not. I started to get more comfortable, I started to try more things, and I actually started to get really good, not only at making pizza, but at the general day-to-day tasks in the shop.  


Even though this story is starting to sound like some kind of Neapolitan children’s book, this reflection has a purpose, trust me. I was really comfortable there, and by the time I was a senior in high school, I was too comfortable there.  


I had no intentions of a college education when I was entering my final year of high school. I knew everything that I had to do on any given day at my parent’s place. I knew exactly how to do it, and I knew how to delegate jobs to others to make everything go smoothly. Even though the work was physically draining, there is safety and security when everything is known, and nothing is new.  


You don’t grow when you’re comfortable, and that was something my parents realized for me well before I did. I had no idea what I wanted to pursue, or what I would even do with a college education. I wasn’t worried that I would lose sight of what I wanted in college; I was worried because I had no idea what I wanted in the first place. Even if I was unsure about where I wanted to go, I knew that I needed to go somewhere where I could grow. You don’t grow when you’re comfortable. 


That was over three years ago. As I am writing this now, I am in the first week of my first internship in my senior year of college. Once again, I am terrified. I am scared of messing up, scared that I’m not doing what I’m supposed to be doing and, in terms of my future career, scared about becoming defeated far too early.  


It’s okay to be scared. It’s okay to be nervous. You should always try new things, and you’re supposed to be a little terrified when you’re doing something new, it’s natural. Take comfort in your knowledge and experience, but never become content with it, because I learned that my fear of the unknown has become my biggest motivator.