I’m scared of new things

Scared of college, scared to see my boyfriend… 

Can our elder help a letter-writer get over her fears and give college, and her relationship, a chance?


Original Letter

I am not sure what I want to do with my life. I quit my job a few months ago because I was sure I wanted to go to college but now I’m scared to figure out how to do school again. And a part of me wants to get some sort of job. I am also having some problems in my relationship. Because of the pandemic I was afraid to see him but because I didn’t trust him even though I knew he was safe and even told by the doctor that he was safe. Now I don’t know where to start on fixing my life. I get scared of talking to new people and doing new things because I don’t know the outcome.


Paul-Dad replies

I see that you’re unsure of your education, your job, and your romantic relationship. I don’t mean to belittle your very sincere fears and discomfort, but 99 percent of people your age have the same fears and uncertainties. You are standing at a crossroad between youth and adulthood, challenges of working, and an array of fears involving the long labor involved in college. It’s an exhilarating, but at times, a terrifying time. Your anxiety and fears are not out of the ordinary and are not a cause for you to fear that you’re not up to the challenge. 

I’d generally advise attending college. It’s great for growth, learning, future networking, romance, social skills and adventure. Plus, it can be fun. I would especially advise college for someone who has interest and aptitude for STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) related studies. Those tend to be avenues for better jobs with a decent chance of stability and income. Not to say that non-STEM studies are not worthwhile and important, but consider what jobs are available, and what future likelihood of employment awaits in whatever degree that you seek. You can easily find troves of data in this regard on the internet. 

As far as a job, if you need to work in order to attend college and live comfortably, certainly pursue it. You don’t have to love, or even like your job, but it should at least be bearable. Fun, exciting, and rewarding jobs are pretty much a myth, especially for entry type work. Make the most of it and enjoy the pay. If you are in a position that allows you to attend college without working, that’s a tempting proposition. Ideally, you could spend the extra time studying for top grades. 

I’m having a hard time understanding your reluctance to see your boyfriend when he’s been proven to be disease free. If you still care for him, please get together with him and give the relationship a chance. Listen to your heart, and if your reluctance to see him is more connected with your feeling that he’s not right for you at this time, do the right thing and let him know that you’d like to move on while juggling burdensome issues involving your education and work. Be gentle, kind, and honest.  

You’ll get through this. It won’t be easy or quick, but as the years and decades pass, you’ll realize what a special and exhilarating time this was. Don’t be afraid to make some mistakes. Mistakes are how we learn and move forward. An old saying: “Get knocked down 7 times, Get back up 8.” Have faith and confidence. I know you will do well.  

Article #: 465263

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