What students say about rejection, overcoming fear and their ‘word of the year’
My fears kept me from doing many things I wanted to do. I missed social events, school, etc. I have very bad social anxiety and I’m very afraid of people judging me. This made it very difficult for me to ask for help because I feel stupid when I do, and because of this I had many missed assignments just because I was too nervous to ask for help. ‘aid. After reading this article I realized that a lot of people feel the same way and don’t let your fears take over because in the long run you will look back and regret the opportunities you missed.
— McKenzie, Loveland, Colorado
Fear keeps people from living. It traps us and convinces us that we are not up to the task, that we are too weak to fight. But Ms. Gorman’s advice reminds us that the only possible way to truly overcome our fears is to own them and face them head-on. While it really is a struggle to muster the courage to own our fear, in the end, if we go all the way, the reward and the sense of accomplishment are worth it. Ms. Gorman’s advice reflects this idea, so in an effort to overcome my fear of public speaking, I will own her.
— Pug, Glenbard West High School, Glen Ellyn
I struggle with ADHD and anxiety, both of these diagnoses sometimes try to scare me from doing even the smallest of things. The anxious voice in my head is trying to talk me out of going somewhere or doing something with the “What if?” questions: “What if you fail? » What if you get injured? “What if it doesn’t go as planned? Something that I learned, so I don’t pass things on that I would probably regret, is to silence those voices because if I didn’t, I would be like the speaker, Amanda Gorman, who has almost stopped delivering his poem during Biden’s inauguration because of the “what if.” She realized that if she missed this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity because she was afraid of the possible outcomes, she might regret it forever.
— Olivia, Block 4, Hoggard High School
Tips for getting through scary times
Whenever my paranoid thoughts invade my mind, I mentally tell myself out loud, “Stop talking. Everything will be fine,” repeatedly. It works well when there’s something I can distract myself with (like a crowd), but when there are times when I’m alone, it doesn’t work as well. I do my best to think positively and look at the bright sides. “My parents will be proud of me. I will be proud of myself. It will be good for me.
— Yang, JR Masterman Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Giving a presentation in front of the class or preparing for a presentation makes me anxious; therefore, I use several techniques that help me stay relaxed so that those nervous feelings don’t get in the way of my presentation. Like Mrs. Gorman, I recite words of confidence and encouragement. It is an effective strategy because it allows me to realize that I am ready for what awaits me. Also, I remember that the presentation will last for a short period of time. When finished, the pressure will no longer be a burden. Another effective tool I use when talking to large groups of people is to focus on a point in the crowd. This prevents me from reading files directly and forces me to face the public I am addressing. These approaches helped relieve my anxiety and allowed me to present more comfortably in front of my classes.
— Javier, Maury High School, Norfolk VA
Learn to manage fear or anxiety
I was around 12 years old. I remember driving to the Disney parks and seeing the biggest roller coaster of my life, and saying I would never ride it. Well, I was wrong. My mother had different plans for me. As the ride approached I was waiting for my family to do their thing, I even went so far as to wait near a churro stand as they were in line. But then my mom called me to at least stand in line with them, so I was ready to go, and she asked me to go at least to the front of the line, then to wait at least on the side as they went on the ride, then by magical persuasion, I sat in the seat of my first roller coaster. I admit it was fun and I’ve never stapled my feet so hard to anything, but it was nice to let go of my fears and experience something I never would have predicted, without dying.
— Beautiful, Atrisco Heritage Academy
If I am confronted with anxious thoughts and doubts at a certain moment, I say to myself, “What am I doing? and “Does it really matter?” If the answer is yes, then I try not to think about it because it would just lead to a buildup of stress or I try to relax before making a decision. I personally believe that a decision made with emotions is a very hasty and illogical decision. After all that’s done, I regroup and start thinking of a solution and if I think it won’t work, I’ll think some more. So I ask myself, “What could be worse? Then I go ahead with the decision. If I am overwhelmed with fear and severe anxious thoughts, then I take an obviously different approach. Even though it seems far-fetched, I tend to have an easier time dealing with fear when I just tell myself it’s just my head.
— David, Glenbard West High School