For as long as I can remember, fear has always been a huge part of me. When I am in a state of distress, I can feel this particular emotion seep through me and smother out the more pleasant sensations that this life has to offer. I feel that I care too much about how others view me as an individual, and let their opinions rule the way that I act and dress in front of others, inevitably suppressing my inner qualities and character traits in favor of the ones that the public deem to be “appropriate”. Over time, I have found that one fear can lead to the development of another, if left unchecked. For example, I have always had an irrational fear of spiders (called arachnophobia), but instead of dealing with the problem, I decided to just avoid it at all costs, which has lead to a decrease in outdoor activities for me. Although there is always this small, persistent voice urging me to confront this phobia, I just attempt to ignore it.
This summer, an interesting phenomenon overcame me while I looked over the required summer reading list. Looking through the books, I felt a deep sense of uncertainty, simply because I had never challenged myself in the manner that these books challenged me, particularly Frankenstein and Macbeth. One doubt led to another and soon I questioned myself and wondered, Can I handle AP English?
I was scared.
I felt that taking this course was the wrong choice for me. I felt that I would be holding back the class if I attended. I felt that I would not be able to reach the standards that this class demanded. All these thoughts and emotions swirled through my head. And above all, there was an overriding sense of fear that accompanied all these emotions, What if I’m not good enough? Eventually I realized that whining about my situation would do absolutely nothing for my situation. I steeled myself for what I thought would be hours upon hours of mindless reading: this is where my love for literature really took off. I loved the books that I initially mistook to be a cruel punishment and wanted more. In the final days of summer vacation, it finally occurred to me that I had overcome a major hurdle in the type of literature that I now enjoy reading, from candy books to novels that improve and expand my reading and writing abilities.
On the first day of classes, I walked in feeling apprehensive and quite uncertain on how much this class would appeal to me, mainly due to the presence of the grade elevens and grade twelves in the same room. Looking back, I can appreciate the decision that I made.