Fear is temporary: a senior’s advice on making the most of high school

Srinidhi Seshadri, Web Editor

August 17, 2015. My very first day of high school. I had just moved from India and was new to the area. I wondered if I would make friends, and I feared my introverted nature would prevent me from doing so. But, I wasn’t going to let that stop me from fitting in. Walking into my freshman P.E. class, I was surrounded by groups of my peers who already knew each other. I decided to push myself out of my comfort zone and talk to a girl standing near me.

That day marked the beginning of my commitment to conquering my fears. Since then, I’ve tried my best to prevent my worries of what could go wrong, from holding me back.

Many of my fears about not fitting in stemmed from deep insecurity paired with my naturally shy personality. I had always found it difficult to initiate conversations with people I didn’t know, and being new to the community only heightened my timidity. Soon, I discovered that I wasn’t the only freshman who was “new,” and there were others who had not come from Miller Middle School. I tried my best to open myself up to my peers and suppress any lingering fears about not fitting in, and soon, I had found myself a group of friends to hang out with every day.

While I used my freshman year to adjust myself to the new culture that surrounded me, my fear of others’ judgment prevented me from trying new things. Rallies and Homecoming excited me, but the fear of not knowing what to do prevented me from being more involved. As a result, I did not make the effort to engage myself with a large part of Lynbrook culture. It was only towards the end of the year that I realized how many opportunities I had around me that could help me grow as a person. It helped me understand how important it was for me to step outside my comfort zone.

That year, I applied to be a part of the Epic and was convinced by my friend to join Speech and Debate (LSD), both decisions that completely changed my high school life. Giving speeches for LSD forced me outside of my comfort zone and pushed me into the spotlight, where I often felt uncomfortable. Despite this, both opportunities gave me the chance to face my fears of interacting with people I didn’t know.

I soon realized that facing my fears head-on boosted my self-confidence and developed my ability to clearly voice my opinions. My growing self-confidence led to self-acceptance: I no longer feared that my background would prevent me from fitting in, allowing me to embrace the culture I came from. I acknowledged my own efforts along the way— even through things as small as just participating in class, which was often an achievement for me. Tackling these fears and insecurities led to personal growth that has helped me on my journey toward adulthood.

I did not overcome my fears overnight; rather, it is a daily battle that continues even today. What I’ve learned over the past 4 years of high school is to keep pushing myself to step outside my comfort zone and celebrate the small victories. Don’t let the fear of ‘what could be’ affect what you do. Strive to tackle your fears and be the best version of yourself.