Fear of the Unknown

I drove home to Williamsburg yesterday afternoon from a whirlwind weekend. Friday, I headed up to Richmond, but not before stopping in Hanover to make a quick visit with my almost-brother-in-law (26 days and counting, ya’ll) and play some bocce out on the farm. But, after that beautiful match of bocce, I headed into the city to start my weekend with one of my best friends from undergrad at William & Mary, one of the two girls who lived next door to me freshman year (unfortunately the other girl is now far away in Kentucky)—Danny Greene. She’s in the Residential Richmond Teacher program getting her Master’s in Education at VCU, and it’s kind of crazy to think that the three girls who lived together sophomore year in our little house are all in education now—Danny teaching 7th grade history, Liz teaching high school English through Teach for America, and me starting my student teaching with 2nd grade. Regardless, it was fantastic to see her and start the weekend—and we headed out to see a friend of hers play in his bluegrass folk band at Hardywood Brewery in Richmond. We had a chance to see the brewery, to taste a delicious beer (the Hardywood Virginia Blackberry), listen to some bluegrass, and take in everything.

The next morning, it was time to head off to College Park, Maryland—where we were headed to see William & Mary play the Maryland Terrapins. Unfortunately, William & Mary lost (7-6 in the last 10 minutes), but I still got to reunite with friends in my graduating class, watch some great football, and Danny and I were able to impress the predominantly male Maryland fan base that yes, William & Mary girls can have football knowledge. We grabbed dinner with Liz’s little brother and then headed to spend the night with another William & Mary friend, and then were on our way Sunday a.m. to head back to Richmond. Busy weekend, right?

As I was driving the ever-so-familiar path from Richmond to Williamsburg, I got a phone call from my dad, and I caught up with him for about 20 minutes. We talked about all of the exciting and overwhelming things that are happening this week—my first full week of classes, background checks & TB tests to get done for my teaching placement, and my first time meeting my cooperating teacher on Friday. I found out at the School of Education on Friday that I’ll be student teaching and doing practica observations throughout the next year in 2nd grade at Magruder Elementary School in York County Public Schools. And although I can’t wait, I am literally terrified. I expressed this fear to my dad, and his response was perfect. He said,

“Fear of the unknown is a good thing. It is often what pushes us to stay on our toes and do our best work.”

Preach it, Papa Ponder. After talking with my daddy, I just had to remind myself—people have done this program before. People have balanced four methods courses with 80 practica hours. People have graduated with all of their required tests completed. People have done it. I can do it. It’s just simply getting over that fear of the unknown—the fact that I’ll be doing so many things on my own over the next year. I’ll be teaching my first lesson. I’ll be creating a science circus. I’ll be networking and finding a job. I’ll be interviewing for the first time for teaching positions. It’s all becoming real. And it’s terrifying. But the only way to get over that fear is to immerse myself in it until it becomes the norm.

This fear of the unknown is similar to what I know many freshman, transfer students, and other people at the College are feeling now after a crazy first half-week of classes, Convocation, and the true start of the semester. But just keep telling yourself that that anxious feeling in the pit of your stomach will soon subside, that you’re about to have a fantastic semester, and that things will be okay. Because if my time at William & Mary is any indication of how this semester will be, it’ll be the ride of your life. A ride that you just simply can’t force yourself to get off of.


Categories: Academics, Campus Life, Careers, Student Blogs

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