After I got home from an FFA event earlier this summer, my family decided to take our boat out onto the lake. My brother, Ben, had just bought a kneeboard, and he could not wait to try it out. Ben is good at kneeboarding, and he was not just able to stay up, but he could also do 360° spins, jump over wakes, and stay on in even the roughest waters. As I sat in the boat and watched Ben soar on the water, I just kept thinking about how incredibly fun it looked.
“Katie, do you want to try?” Ben asked as he pulled himself out of the water.
This is when my mind suddenly started to worry. Of course I thought it looked fun, but it also looked hard. And scary. I told myself that it wouldn’t even be much fun and decided to maybe try later.
As the day wore on, I yearned to want to take on the adventure of kneeboarding, and I finally built up enough courage and tried it. To my dismay, I failed. I couldn’t even pull myself up onto the board much less stay up on it. I swam back to the boat beyond frustrated and ready to quit. Ben, however, had another agenda. He let me regroup myself, gave me a few pointers, and sent me back out. I laid on the board unconfident, nervous, and scared. Suddenly, the boat flew away, and before you know it, I was up on the board.
Life is full of scary things. When I think of of things that instill fear in me, my mind drifts to horror movies, haunted houses, and those frightening monsters people call wasps. These are things that send chills up my spine and occasionally cause me to cover my eyes. These are not the only things that scare me in life though. Life is full of experiences and adventures, and sometimes, these parts of life can be scary, too.
For these scary moments in life though, we do not want our eyes closed. You see, as soon as we close our eyes, we close doors. I’ve learned that it’s okay to be scared of something, but we have to be able to put that fear away. We need to be able to grab ahold of adventure and enjoy life. If we let fear take over, we will never experience some of the greatest adventures of our life. This is hard for me. I struggle every day with this thought. I fear getting hurt, I fear not being able to make friends, and I fear failure. This can stop me from doing a lot of things, and that’s why I remind myself daily to jump in and grab ahold of the kneeboard.
This Friday, I’m about to jump in again. I will soon make Brookings, SD my home as I head to South Dakota State University to become a jackrabbit. Just like the kneeboard, the prospect of going to college is so exciting, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t scared. Moving away from my family and friends and becoming independent is not going to be easy. I’ve learned though that if it scares you, you really should try it. So in two days, I will be taking on my next adventure, and I want you to come with me.
When I say this, I don’t mean truly come to Brookings (although, I’d love it if I was surrounded by thousands of FFA members). I want you to come with me in spirit. As the new school year approaches, our lives will be filled with new opportunities and adventures. Whether it’s trying a new CDE, applying to be an officer, or starting your first job for your SAE, it will scare us. But, that won’t stop us. Just like when I went kneeboarding for the first time, we may fail at first but that is okay. Failure is part of life, and the greatest part of failure is that we can overcome it.
Just this past week, I got to go kneeboarding again. As I soared behind the boat, I practiced mastering 360° spins and jumping over wakes. You see, I felt on top of the world. I’ve learned that usually the things that seem the scariest are the best things in life. They give us a feeling of adventure, accomplishment, and happiness. When we feel this, we learn to love the scary things.
Stationed by the Plow,