Why you should not let fear stop you

Victoria Sanseverino, Chief Copy Editor

It’s a Wednesday just after 9 p.m. and the fire alarm has gone off in the North Avenue Residence Hall for the umpteenth time. As I throw myself back onto my bed after having been forced out into the cold, I uncharacteristically decide I am going to be productive and continue my required reading for my internship class: “Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg. I’m tired from a day of interning and my eyes are roaming over the page, seeing words but not fully processing them, when the following from a speech Sandberg gave in 2011 catches my eye, “So please ask yourself: What would I do if I weren’t afraid? And then go do it.” I snapped out of my stupor and reread the sentence, turning it over and over again in my mind. What would I do if I weren’t afraid?

Just like the audience Sandberg had addressed with this speech in 2011, I am a woman on the cusp of graduating college, and I am afraid of so many things. I am terrified of not finding a job. I am terrified of not having a place to live. I am terrified of the idea that I will never find what I am looking for in life; the list is literally a mile long. Deep down somewhere I know these thoughts are irrational, but somehow these fears of failure are so incredibly overpowering. But as Sandberg’s question stared up at me from the page, I felt this overwhelming surge of power that I hadn’t felt in a long time. She was asking me to think differently. What would I do if I weren’t afraid? I wouldn’t worry about finding a job, I’d just go out and get one. I’d walk into any and every room and immediately command it. I’d chase after everything I wanted with not a single regret. And why shouldn’t I? Why shouldn’t any of us?

As entry into the “real world” gets ever closer, I’d like to ask my fellow seniors, in particular the women representing the class of 2020, to consider Sundberg’s question in the hopes you draw from it the same insight and inspiration that I have. Right now, as you read this sentence, think about what you would do if you weren’t afraid. Now go do it.