“There is nothing to fear but fear itself. There is nothing to fear but fear itself…” I chanted to myself as I lay down hopelessly on my mom’s bed the night before my big Teach For America interview. Now, I don’t know why exactly I thought Franklin D. Roosevelt’s words would be so soothing to my ears at this point in time, but considering I had tried everything else at that point including crying, yes, crying – I had no other options. I desperately rattled off all the ways I could somehow skip tomorrow’s interview, just so I wouldn’t have to go through what I thought would be potentially embarrassing or humiliating. I thought about food poisoning, fainting, vomiting, breaking a leg, and even faking my own death!
Well okay… maybe not that last option, but still, you get the point.
I finally just turned to my mom and asked, “What if I don’t go”? Now we both knew as we stared each other in the eyes that that wasn’t going to happen, but she still humored me and said, “Okay!” I remember at first sighing in relief that she didn’t yell at me or call me ridiculous for suggesting something so drastic, but as soon as she saw the relief on my face she flipped the switch on me. “Only if you want to be a loser!” she said jokingly. Hearing her say that made me laugh so hard that I didn’t even know what was funnier, that fact that I knew she was right (on some level), or the fact that she even used the word “loser” to begin with. Nonetheless, thinking about that moment the next morning calmed my nerves surprisingly. What was a simple semi, yet semi cruel joke, in the strangest of all ways made me really consider the alternative. What would skipping the interview say about myself? What good was I really doing anyone if I didn’t at least try? And so, the next morning I went in, still nervous as ever, with a couple tears in my eyes in fact, but ready to give it a shot.
Unfortunately, I wish I could tell you all that this story has a happy ending, but not exactly. It was just about two days ago when I received my results from the interview and found out I was not given the opportunity. I was sad at first, sadder than I actually thought I would be accepted. I thought about all of these insecure feelings that I had about myself in high school and freshmen year of college. Was I not smart enough? Was I not involved enough? Did I say or do something wrong? I was a little uneasy thinking about it. But I did what everyone else would do in my situation: I ate half a pint of Ben & Jerry’s – Half Baked, in case anyone would like to know- , and watched The Bachelor. Ha, okay, maybe not everyone would do that…but that’s been my personal go-to coping method that I started college.
The next day however, basking in my “ defeat “a little bit more, I decided to do something to treat myself. So I went to the mall, got my nails and eyebrows done. I even got a couple of cute sweaters from Forever 21 (they are having a major sale by the way!). Then I went home, cooked myself dinner, and deep conditioned my hair for the rest of the week. Self-loving all my troubles away, as I’d like to look at it.
Now, fully refreshed, looking back at my Teach For America experience, I don’t feel sad or insecure about it anymore. I know I’m smart, and I know I gave 100% of myself in that interview. There will be other opportunities out there for me, it’s just a matter of finding the right one. But if there’s anything that I’ve taken away from this experience, is that even though the possibility of rejection might hurt, there can never really be any shame in trying.
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