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Better a Regret Than a What If: Why You Should Just Do It

As someone with anxiety, I fully understand the fear of going outside of your comfort zone. Too many times I’ve turned opportunities down and held myself back because I was scared that I’d fail, be too awkward, or be unwanted. However, over the last couple of years, I’ve grown tired of missing out on the things that interest me. It’s so agonizing to sit back and watch everyone else do the things that you so desperately want to do. Through therapy and self-help books, I’ve started to take back my life, and I’ve been loving it ever since. To really prove it to you, I’m going to share a few personal examples. 

The internship

In December of last year, I accepted an internship position with a residential home for children with disabilities. Before being offered the role, my bosses made sure to brief me on all of the potential challenges of the job. I was informed that some days were going to be really hard. There may be times that I would be hit, kicked, cursed at, and shoved. There was also a guarantee that I would have to clean up bodily fluids of all sorts and help with changing, giving showers, and more. After hearing all of this, I was a little put off. I wondered if I could handle it, and if I’d be able to succeed or if my first day would also be my last. But I was determined to have an internship for the upcoming summer, and I’ve always loved working with kids, so I decided to just do it.

The first week consisted of different training workshops and paperwork. There was nothing too exciting until Thursday of that week. On our fourth day, we got to shadow at the facility to see what a normal day on the job would look like. The moment I arrived, I was obsessed. I knew right then and there that this was where I was supposed to be. I even went as far as quitting my other job so I could spend more time there! Although the job wasn’t easy, I am so grateful that I went for it. A job that I almost turned down turned into an amazing summer filled with so many lessons and memories that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. In addition to my personal growth, I also gained job experience and a list of great references which will be beneficial to my career!

The haircut

Something to know about me is when I was in my first year of high school, I randomly decided to chop off all of my hair one night with a pair of kitchen scissors. To my surprise, and I’m sure not to yours, it was terrible. Not only did I not know how to cut it in a straight line, but I also didn’t think about the fact that wet hair shrinks when it’s dry. So poor 14-year-old me was rocking the same haircut as Johnny Depp in Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory. Due to this tragedy, my hair became a security blanket and I refused to cut it for a long time. However, deep down, I have been dying to have short hair and bangs. After mulling it over for months, I finally took the first step and got curtain bangs. I absolutely loved them! Fast forward to last semester, and I was fighting every urge to cut my hair. I was so scared that I would look bad and that everyone who saw my hair would agree. I played around with different apps and attempted to visualize what I’d look like, until one day, I just called my stylist and booked the appointment. Shaking in my seat, I watched my hair fall to the ground. Then, she moved to the bangs, and I quite literally almost stopped her, but I didn’t. At the end of the day, it was just hair. It will grow back, and all will be okay. The worst outcome is that I strategically wear hats and headbands for a couple of weeks. But, fortunately, that wasn’t the case. I came out of that salon a new person and smiling from ear to ear. It’s now been six months and I don’t know when I’ll have long hair again, but I can tell you that it won’t be soon.  

While I could give a plethora of additional examples, I think the biggest piece of evidence is simply that the regret is far greater when you don’t do something than when you do and don’t succeed. Life is too short to sit back and miss out on the things that make it worth living. To live is to try and fail. To win and to lose. To cry and to smile. To love and to hurt. To live is to feel all there is to feel. Don’t miss out on life just because you’re afraid to be a little uncomfortable.

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Danica Shores

U Mass Amherst '24

Danica Shores is from the small town of Sandwich, Massachusetts located on Cape Cod. She has grown up with with a loving mother, 3 siblings, many cats, two turtles, and a bird. Her interests include yoga, self care, poetry, and taking long walks. Currently Danica is studying as a psychology major at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. While she is not quite sure where she sees herself in the future she looks forward to helping others of all kinds.