From overcoming to managing fears: my reflections
Generally, we associate fear with negativity. What if? I say fear has received bad press, not everything about fear is negative and there are, in fact, several advantages. You might not believe me. You might think I'm crazy. That's ok. Because majority would feel the same. So, I'd like to describe my perspective on fear and how I’m manage it when it comes to interaction in educational sessions.
Fear is a part of our emotions. Everyone has their own fears. I too have several fears. As the topic of discussion is learning about fear in education, I will focus on my fears related to learning.
I, like many other students, too am afraid of interacting with others and struggle to express my views on educational platforms. Hence, attending and participating in educational sessions (in-person and virtual) was and is still a challenge. However, with conscious effort, I have changed my perception towards fear. Believe me it certainly wasn't a cakewalk.
For example, from the moment I see an advert about an "interactive" workshop or webinar questions/thoughts (OMG! it’s an interactive session, Do not register, It’s going to be challenging etc) start popping up in mind and makes it a challenge to register. When I muster up courage and register, a different set of questions/thoughts (what have you done? Cancel the registration. Find an excuse for not attending. exit the group etc.) join the party and make me overthink.
Although I'm in a constant battle with these thoughts, I acknowledge them and not give into them. I feel proud when I join the session because joining the session for me is a success as I had to get through several challenging thoughts/questions. As I start to get comfortable in the session, more intense questions start to appear:
- What if I speak something wrong?
- What if the people judge me if I say this?
- What if my grammar isn't correct? It seems like all the people over here are well versed with
- spoken English and public speaking!!
- Am I fluent enough to express?
So, after a long battle with my mind for years, I started to revisit and analyse all these questions. At one point of time, I realized that dwelling on these questions and surrendering to them is only making things worse.
What affect can fear have on you?
- When you entertain the negative questions, they will:
- make you feel vulnerable and weak
- stop you from being yourself
- impose a lot of restrictions and make you a prisoner of "Fear"
- demotivate and subdue your confidence.
Reflecting on my fears helped me discern between the helpful and unhelpful fears. I realized that having the clarity on the fears is important. While there are many fears that hinder your learning capacity, there are fears that help you to learn effectively.
How am I managing my fears?
When I join an educational session, I do the following:
- Do not underestimate or consider myself inferior to others.
- Listen carefully and take notes as they are helping me to respond to the questions
- Stay positive. Acknowledging my fears and not entertaining them is helping me to stay in a positive mind-set and listen effectively. I'm striving for progress not for perfection.
Finally, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to Glocal Academy for designing safe and welcoming learning spaces. They have not only injected confidence in me but also helped me realize that everyone (irrespective of their personality and fears) can engage in a dialogue.
Final Year Medical Student
Andhra Pradesh, India