Recognizing Fear

Not so funny, guise

alshepmcr via Creative Commons/Courtesy

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I, like many college students, have become all too familiar with this routine. A couple days before a midterm, I become intolerant of my tiny apartment and have this deep need to change study locations, so I begin the mundane task of packing things for an unexciting day trip into the depths of Dwinelle. My backpack begins to fill with the necessities required, such as study materials, a nutritious lunch and chargers for every technological apparatus that I own. However, this common routine of mine was interrupted a few days ago as I was gathering together essential materials to study anatomy.

My recent awareness of crimes in Berkeley caused me to pause as I was considering what to take with me.

As I was deciding what time to return to my apartment, I realized that I would be walking back in the dark. Considering that I would be carrying my laptop instead of tucking it away in my bag, I began to assess the situation. I ultimately figured that carrying my laptop was not worth the risk of attracting unwanted attention. Here’s why.

The strong-arm robbery on Channing Way makes me realize that even the busiest streets have the potential to be threatening later at night. The recent arrest at People’s Park reaffirms the fact that it really is as unsafe as people say it is, and the assault at Grizzly Peak shows that people really do not need a motive to do harm others.

I am unsure of whether deciding to leave my laptop behind prevented a possible robbery, but I am glad that I took the wariness that I was feeling, thought ahead and made a logical decision.  Unsurprisingly, fear is a critical factor in many choices we are faced with. It makes sense that a fear of failing a class leads to dropping a course; a fear of being able to commit results in passing up an internship. Fear allows us to stop and think about the situation at hand. It forces deliberation and can prevent future misgivings.

When taken too far, though, fear is debilitating. While choices made are substantiated by legitimate worries, those choices can be “wrong” if we allow the fear of failure to deter us from taking that class that has the potential to be the highlight of the semester’s course load, and it can prompt us to pass up an internship that has the power to open up many doors in the future.

The next time we find the night slipping by while studying in the library, hopefully the fear of danger will push us to decide the appropriate time and the most secure way to get home. However, when faced with the fear of rejection, the unknown, disappointment and failure, hopefully we recognize those fears and then simply push them aside as we face our own realities. Although some fears are a result of encountering life-threatening situations while others are not, it is important to recognize anxiety as an underlying fear and address the situation at hand appropriately.

Monica Mikhail contemplates the truth of the matter in her Thursday blog. Contact Monica Mikhail at [email protected].