When I was seventeen, I first set foot inside the gates of a small Irish arts college in the middle of Carlow town to begin my journey as a student. With the keys to my freshly rented student flat in my pocket I felt ready to step out into the world. On review, I wasn’t prepared at all… but I was ready for a new challenge.
Now, as I come close to the end of that 12-year journey, I find a familiar feeling of both dread and excitement building inside of me once again. If those two emotions sound contradictory; you only need to learn to embrace your dread instead of pushing it away and you’ll find the excitement underneath.
The Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard believed dread was not something to fear. He believed that dread comes to us when we stand on the edge of some undecided future and to feel it means that we care about how that future goes. So, dread reveals our hopes and desires for our futures as much as our fears.
What lies beneath dread, then, is the excitement of a new challenge. It reveals knowledge that all I want to achieve lies hidden beyond a variety of obstacles. Ones which I must navigate carefully if I want to succeed. This is a moment to be embraced; not one to be pushed away. In truth, it’s exciting.
When I walked through the door of that building 12-odd years ago, I was terrified. My experience in school prepared me for a lot of things, but it didn’t prepare me for college, or the freedom associated with it. I was terrified and it was often overwhelming, but I pushed through it all. I wasn’t sure why, but I had to.
Now as I prepare to walk out the door of the RUG in the coming weeks,l I am sometimes filled with dread about those new obstacles which I must overcome. I find myself plunged into an entirely new world of job hunting. One of job applications, interviews, CVs, cover letters, acceptances and rejections. It’s been a thoroughly dreadful experience and terribly exciting all at once.
Now it’s not applications to shops, pubs, manual labour and all the things I’ve done to pay the bills throughout the years. Now I’m leaning forward in a future and an entirely new set of obstacles have appeared before me.
How dreadfully exciting it all is.