Column- Bitsy Mammel


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When I was little I wanted to be a teacher. Now I don’t think I have any more will in me to spend even another year in school. Then I thought I wanted to be a journalist, but right now I’m happy to keep that experience in high school. While I enjoyed them, my years on The Focus staff couldn’t possibly compare to other journalism experiences.
I used to think that I wanted to get out of the United States and live in Europe. I thought about playing on the varsity soccer team. I used to hate horror movies (I still don’t love them, but they’re slowly coming around to me thanks to Jordan Peele). I think about the person that I used to be, and it baffles me how different I am now
It would be easy for me to say that I think it’s so cool that I’ve changed so much over the past few years, but to be honest, change in any way scares the hell out of me. Last month I turned 18, a birthday usually highly anticipated and celebrated as someone says good-bye to their childhood and starts to embrace adulthood. Although I’m excited to vote and say no to cigarettes and gambling, it troubles me to know that my life is about to change. I won’t be able to act as a kid; I’m about to be very broke.
As the changes of getting older start happening, it’s hard to completely be excited for adulthood and college life when they bring a lot of change and sadness.
My fear of change is rooted in my fears of the unknown paired with my fear of lacking control. Remember when I said I used to hate horror movies? I’m known for looking up the plots so I don’t have to worry about jump scares or about a character that I know is going to die. Many of my actions are to give me a sense of control in this life filled with unpredictability, where we’re so often not in control.
As I’ve gotten older I’ve come to understand this fear more and more, and I really try to not let it affect me, as hard as it is not to. Thinking things out with reason helps me; I mean, we know how far some facts and logic go, right? For example, while I’m waiting in the airport I think about how many flights happen in one day, and how few flights in every couple years crash or have problems. When I think about college, I stop myself from thinking that I could make no friends and find no clubs that fit me. I remind myself that I’m pretty good at meeting new people, and that I’m going to a college big enough that I’ll find a group of people that fits me.
Another exercise that I use to relax is to just tell myself to chill out. I let myself enjoy the present, and I try not to take things too seriously (if I can remember to). Yes, adulthood intimidates me when I feel like I still feel the same as I did when I was in second grade, but does anyone actually know what they’re doing in this world? I’ve found that to some degree we’re all just smiling and waving and pretending that we know what’s going on, but really we’re just as scrambled as the next person.
No one’s asking or expecting me to become a fully functioning contributor to society as soon as I graduate high school. I can live my life day by day, hour by hour, even minute by minute if I have to. Breaking my life down in this way has helped me not become quickly overwhelmed when I think about my current and future responsibilities. I’m nervous about testing in May, but I don’t have to take all of them tomorrow, or even the same week, so I can relax.
I will never like change, but it’s impossible to avoid. I’m working on facing my fears (which is easy when your fear is inevitable), and as I’ve gotten better, I’ve realized that usually everything is better than I’d expect. Except Jordan Peele’s Us.