There’s something to be said about how hard we try to achieve things in life. Every day, we’re developing new goals and accomplishing them at the same time. Its a constant cycle. We challenge ourselves and step outside of our comfort zone; we take risks.
I took a risk, I made a goal, about two months ago. I said that I would apply to be the 2013 Commencement Speaker at UMass Amherst. At that time, I wrote about how my impending study abroad trip was actually the driving force behind that goal. I wrote that I wanted this. That I wanted to be the shy freshman turned seasoned traveler and college graduate addressing my peers in a way that I never deemed imaginable as a first year student.
In “Why Study Abroad Convinced Me to be Commencement Speaker,” I wrote this:
My first thought was to save the email because I might want to apply to be the Student Speaker. My second thought was that I might not have the confidence or the gusto to take that leap of faith. But then I realized how far I’ve come since Freshman year. I joined Sigma Phi Epsilon’s Alpha chapter in Massachusetts; I enrolled in numerous Dale Carnegie Training courses, most notably the Dale course and High Impact Presentations; and I elected to study abroad in Italy for my eighth and final semester at UMass.
But I didn’t get what I wanted. I didn’t get to be Commencement Speaker. That’s ok, though because I won’t ever regret applying. I won’t live with a feeling of regret because I didn’t take a risk. I risked my pride, my happiness and my self-confidence by applying.
Three years ago I never would have applied and even if I had, I wouldn’t be taking the news so well. Sure I’m sad and I would have killed for the opportunity, but it is what it is.
I’m more confident than ever because I know that next time I take such a giant step out of my comfort zone it’ll be with a clear head and a willing mind. This experience taught me not to be afraid of a challenge or afraid of failure. Taking risks is part of life. I’ll continue to take risks even though I may not always get what I want because I won’t get better if I don’t.
This is me cooperating with the inevitable. This is me admitting defeat but not accepting failure as a reason to stop taking risks. It’s like Howie Day wrote in his song. “Even the best fall down sometimes.”
I fell down, but I got back up more ready than before for the next challenge.