Fear and Faith

“I Came in Unsure of Everything” -whether to major in chemical engineering or banking and finance or physics. Just like thousands of “good” students,I managed to achieve top grades in sophomore,junior and senior years of high school. PACKED WITH ENTHUSIASM, I was able get through the rigorous academics and co-curricular in grueling school days. Winning the debates, hosting a stage show, representing a random country in MUN-model united nations- was a norm. It seems like I attained the automaticity in those stuff-able to ace them  without occupying the mind with the low-level details required ,while getting straight A’s in all the classes.

Here I  was standing in the most lucrative and state of art building of UNITED ARAB EMIRATES UNIVERSITY (UAEU)-With dreams and aspirations which most freshmen bring along them.

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But, I never knew the bad things that I would face as the semester rolled. Mornings oozed to evenings and days passed by in matter of blinks, I never realized the value of time management, until a week was left for finals.

I managed to cover the significant chunk of syllabus in short period of time, and ended up with perfect GPA of 4.

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This did not satisfied me at all,because VIRTUALLY NO LEARNING happened. What all happened was IMPLEMENTING OF exam techniques that I  learned in  high school.

This was followed by 3 months summer break, in which neither did I travel nor signed up for any course in college.By the end of summers,my brain was though was rested at the same time was RUSTED . The first semester and summer break experience ultimately led to lower self esteem.In addition  , I wasn’t with right people who could boost my self confidence.So I took up an initiative of boosting my self esteem and confidence levels  by doing what ever it takes to reach a level where no outside factors can break me down.

The lower self esteem kept me from performing well in my classes.I didn’t stay with thing for a long time,jumping from one idea to another,one project to another .When you convince yourself that you cannot do something or you are not good enough to perform well,you end up doing random time wasting activities like surfing internet mindlessly or SLEEP !!!!!!

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I was bored to death when I sat in front of books,or in class.What was it that bragged me down from topper in school full of enthusiasm to learn to looser kinda careless person ?THE ANSWER IS LOST OF FAITH .Although I was able to adapt to novel environment of university , I wasn’t having or building enough faith in myself.I felt lost in the population of 13000 students,goals and targets seemed more distant ,and doing simple algebra was proving to be hard.This shows the DEVASTATING EFFECTS OF LOSS OF BELIEF IN ONE SELF.

WE ALL FEEL DOWN at some point of our lives. Some people start complaining the GOD,”WHY IS IT HAPPENING TO ME , I AM JUST TRYING TO STUDY TO BECOME A PERSON I DREAM TO BECOME, why is it happening to me?

By now it was all clear, I stopped believing in myself

Here I present some tools that would lay some foundation for boosting  up confidence :

Consider the sportsperson; ask yourself who will win the race, the runner who believes in him- or herself or the one that is loping along thinking that they can’t possibly win? When looking at sport it is obvious that the mind can have a strong impact on how the body will perform – I argue that this is also true for academic study. Low self-esteem has force in education, not least because it can lead to stress – and the release of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenalin  which reduce short-term memory and bring about the tunnel vision and focus necessary for safety – but which is counter-productive in education. For example, if a building is burning, you do not want to stop and wonder from whence the fire originated and whether or not there is an arsonist at work – you just need to flee the building. However, in academic study the ‘from whence’ and ‘I wonder if’ questions are essential.

A GREAT EXPERIMENT :

Ask your friend to extend his arm while you should slightly press it downwards. Tell him that he must think negative thoughts such as ‘I am a failure’ and ‘I am weak’ as he resist you pushing down his arm. Typically the arm is very easy to push down. Now try again, but this time he must think, ‘I am powerful’ and ‘I am strong’. Typically the second time it really is more difficult to push down his arm.

Why do we even fear ?

Normally the fear is self imposed,it does not exist,we created it.There are biological and psychological  factors that determine why we fear.It can be argued that the fear response is the body’s way of telling us that something is not for us, that there are too many risks involved – after all, it is rather silly to bungee jump. But if people avoided everything that they feared they would undertake nothing at all. Remember, to become a student is actually to embrace change, and change does involve risk – risk to one’s sense of self, to one’s identity – as well as fear of failure, of looking, sounding and feeling like a fool. While nobody actually enjoys these feelings, in an educational context if you avoid what you fear as a student, then you definitely will not succeed. It can help if we try to understand how low self-esteem and fear originate or operate in our society.

Some psychologists believe that fear, anxiety and even depression are a legacy of evolution. When an animal is on unfamiliar territory it is in danger of its life, hence a fear response is a survival mechanism. Unfortunately, as human beings we also have consciousness and consequently an awareness of our own fear that can inhibit us in ways that would never be true of an animal. Others argue that fear and low self- esteem are taught to us by our primary caregivers – ‘mind how you go’, ‘be careful’, ‘don’t do that, it’s dangerous’. When people say these things to us they are often just expressing their fears (‘I don’t want anything bad to happen to you’) but what we hear and internalise is that they do not have faith in us, that they think we are inadequate.

The solution

What all I did was re framing my fear.  The only thing to fear is fear itself. Fear is unavoidable – what we can change is our response to fear. Here are some new ways to look at fear – they helped me, hope they help you too.

Fear is good: Fear is a wonderful indicator that we are doing new things, moving into new areas and undertaking new challenges. In this way fear is a good thing, it means that we are still growing, we are still alive. Arguably, if we are not experiencing some element of fear it means that we are stagnating – we are dying inside. Try to see fear as an indicator of growth and welcome it – celebrate the fact that life still holds opportunity for you.

Fear affects everyone: initially I used to think that everyone else is OK,when ever I asked a fellow student what are you doing today evening ,the reply used to be study physics or solve calculus problems.This led me to think that I was the only one in dungeon and that I am  the only one feeling frightened and looking foolish. Obviously this is not true, everyone feels fear when embracing the new. Some- times just realizing that everyone else is also frightened can take the stigma out of our fear. Instead of a fear response proving once and for all that we are either inadequate or a coward we can relax in the realization that it just means that we are as human as everybody else.

The only way to get rid of the fear of something is to do it – quickly: Most people know this clich´e to be true. The only way to overcome a fear is to do that which we fear – and the quicker the better. Students can spend months worrying about that presentation – and then it is over in five minutes. The months of worry have just served to make the task harder. Preparing slides for English class seemed so daunting task that i kept on procrastinating. Remember as I mentioned in the beginning that I have been participating in model united nation events and have been a critical debater, despite all that preparing  simple presentations seemed impossible why ? – FEAR .

It’s easier to face fear than to live with fear: It really is easier to deal with fear rather than to live with it. Every time we allow fear to prevent us from undertaking something it is as if we are conspiring against ourselves to make the world a worse place. So if engaging in something that you fear, tell yourself you have actually chosen the easier option.

It takes practice: I am a hard believer in concept of PRACTICE, since the time I have read an article that states deliberate practice is one of the virtue of top influential people(I recommend you read the article too). Re framing fear in the ways detailed above may not come naturally to you. However, you will find that with practice you will be able to face fear differently, and this will help you embrace the challenges of being a student.

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6 thoughts on “Fear and Faith

  1. Impressive writing Bro Omeir, Your words highlighted the common problems and some of us, especially me face in our education life, the problem of FEAR. Appreciated. (y)

  2. This artical must be read from all students who wants to continue their studying without facing difficulty like negative ideas and thoughts.. Well done omar.

  3. Excellent article Omeir. Your use of English has also improved vastly. I agree with fear being self-imposed. I’d also like to leave a quote before departing:

    All limits are self-imposed. – Icarus

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