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What does brave mean to you?

The dictionary definition says: ready to face and endure danger or pain; showing courage.

Maybe when you think of bravery you think of a guy with huge muscles who runs into fiery buildings and saves children. Maybe you think of people who are willing to be shot for admitting they practice a certain religion. Or maybe it’s the people in uniform who guarantee this country’s freedom. 

But what about your friends, your teachers, your co-workers, your siblings, or your parents?

What about you? Do you think you’re brave?

I believe bravery comes in many different forms so that’s why I’m challenging you to find yours.

Everyone has parts of themselves that are brave but also parts of themselves that are not so brave.

My roommate and I were discussing it one night my sophomore year as I was heading off to attend an informal sorority Rush event. She asked me if I knew anyone who was going. “No,” I told her.

“Do you know how many people will be there?”


“Do you know what you’re going to do once you get there?”

“Not a clue.”

“How are you okay with this!?” She exclaimed. I told her that I guess I was just brave in that way. That I can walk into new situations like that and not be afraid to make new friends.

That’s why I could go on study abroad trips to Barcelona and London with a huge group of strangers, and why I went to a college no one else in my high school was going to, and why I went to the oh so amazing Passion Conference with over 20,000 people on my own.

I like throwing myself into new situations expecting the best instead of the worst. I could tell she was feeling self-conscious because she knew she wasn’t brave in that way. She was surprised when I told her that I felt like having a boyfriend was brave of her. She had been dating this guy for 2 years at the time. I told her how it was brave of her to be completely vulnerable with a person like that and give her whole heart away and trust them not to break it. I wasn’t in a place to do that yet.

I see bravery all around me. I see my father who can travel around the world and give speeches to hundreds of people at a time. But I bet you’d never guess he dreads small talk. I think bravery is like one of my best friends, who went to a frat party that she knew her rapist would be attending because she refused to let him dictate when and where she could be happy.

We live in a society that believes bravery is doing something grand, daring and sometimes dangerous. Society’s definition of bravery always involves some kind of sacrifice. What if bravery was just sacrificing your fear for a moment? What if bravery was doing something that separates you from your comfort zone and makes you proud of yourself? I believe we are all capable of that kind of bravery. Do you?

Danielle Wilkinson is an Atlanta native and currently a senior at Purdue University studying Mass Communication. She is the co-correspondent and Editor-in-Chief of Her Campus Purdue. She has written for several online and print publications in the past including The Purdue Exponent, The Tab, Society 19, Study Breaks Magazine and Voy Study Abroad. She loves traveling, shopping and everything entertainment, especially movies and TV, but 90s rom coms will always be her favorite. She hopes to move to California one day to pursue a career in marketing. In her free time, she loves YouTube, watching movies with her friends, working on her novel, drinking tea and reading books.
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