Starting my senior year of college has brought a new challenge; starting our college newspaper publication. Now, the challenge is not starting the paper itself; I have a strong group of peers and advisers that are going in on this with me. The challenge is telling myself that I can do this; convincing myself that I am capable of making this a success.
Why is that so hard? As we get older, the room for failure seems to get bigger and more consequential. If you didn’t make the the basketball team in high school, that was just it, you didn’t make the basketball team. In college, if you don’t do well on a paper you get a bad mark and a bad mark lowers your GPA and your lowered GPA hinders your job opportunities. Same can be said of life outside of college. If I fail at making this newspaper, or online publication I should call it, a success, that will follow me in numerous ways. Professors and advisers will know and lose their trust in my abilities which then limits networking opportunities which then could hinder potential jobs. My fellow students will know and no longer consider me as a strong peer. The pressure is heavier and I find myself having a hard time breathing in the thickness of possibility. The consequences for our actions climb to higher stakes as we get older and things are more serious.
But doesn’t this also mean that there is bigger room for success too? If the stakes for failure get higher, then the stakes for success should too. If I make this publication a success, then that will follow me on just as serious of terms as the failure would, but with a different shadow. I would get great exposure, gain trust from colleagues and professors, show the professional world my talents and get great experience.
As we get older, life gets more and more scary and bravery gets harder to find as the consequences for actions get more powerful. The things you want most are not handed to you anymore and to quote Jessica Biel in the movie Summer Catch (starring Freddy Prince Junior. Yum.), “if you want big rewards, you gotta take big risks.” Fear can be a crippling thing and the “what if” can be traumatizing.
If there is just as much room for success as there is for failure, why does failure seem to be in the spotlight?