The Experience of Being Nervous

Hailezghi - Brookline, Massachusetts
Entered on May 1, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30

After overcoming so many obstacles in my life, I have learned that only by experiencing being nervous can you appreciate being relaxed or comfortable.

When I started school in the United States, on my first day I was extremely nervous. My school was located in the Jamaica Plain area of Boston. The school hours were long for me. Given that I started school at 7AM and left at 2PM, I really disliked it because it was so much longer than my school day in Eritrea. I also didn’t speak enough English at the time to really communicate with different students, and I had trouble understanding my teachers, especially in English class. My writing was so terrible that even my English teacher couldn’t understand it. I always felt jealous when I saw other students who had good grades in English.

I remember one day I had a history project about Christopher Columbus. All my classmates understood the project and finished by the due date. However, I didn’t start it because I had to search for information on the Internet and it was hard for me. In Eritrea, which is located in the eastern part of Africa, you have to pay money to use a computer. Therefore, I had never used a computer before. When I went to ask my teacher for help, I got nervous because of the language. I was afraid because I was always making mistakes. I did not have any friends and I felt like a girl who had lost her mom.

One day I went into the cafeteria to eat my lunch. Everybody was relaxing and eating with their friends, but I was alone. Then, feeling sad, I asked myself, “Why did I come to the United States?” In my country they didn’t give hard projects; school was easier because it was in my native language. I had many friends at school; most of them were the same age as me. They also were helpful to each other and to me. We studied, ate and relaxed together. In Eritrea, I never felt worried, because I was always surrounded by my friends.

After I had been in school for almost one year and could speak enough English, I started to feel relaxed. I started to ask my teachers for help. I stopped being so nervous and now I am much happier. I realize that if I had not been nervous in the beginning, I would not have become much happier now. Consequently, that is why I believe that only by having experiences of being nervous can you appreciate being relaxed.

This means that by worrying about an obstacle first before I start to do new things, I am really showing my desire to work hard to reach something. After that, when I reach it, I can really enjoy the feeling of being relaxed. Some people want to achieve their goals without passing through any obstruction. That means, for example, that a student wants to get high grades without showing any effort; but that is impossible. In all ways you have to sacrifice yourself. It is ok if it takes you a long time to pass through a crisis because although “the fight” is long, its end is success.

Now, when I encounter life problems that make me agonize, I tell myself not to renounce them because this nervous feeling will lead me to happiness in the end. Last week I just had my first college interview. I was very scared because I did not know what questions they were going to ask me. However, because I was prepared, I did well in my interview. When I say, “Only by experiencing being nervous can you appreciate being relaxed or comfortable,” I do not mean you always have to worry. However, feeling anxious at the beginning is not only normal but also useful so you can face the coming problem. And with time, subsequently, happiness will come later all by itself.