Graduate Student Guidance – Just Go For It

Tony Espinal | Assistant Opinion Editor


As I sat in my chair at the campus Starbucks, my heart and mind began to race.

I had strolled in with a false sense of bravado that melted away. Below this mask of confidence was a terrified man trying to work up the nerve to speak to a young woman.

“What am I going to say?” I thought. “What if she looks at me like I’m a total idiot? What if she says yes? I am not nearly as prepared as I thought I was.”

How could this be so hard?

A few years ago, Iraqi insurgents tried to shoot down my aircraft and I didn’t even blink. Yet, here I sit too terrified to get up and ask this woman a simple question.

Pulling together what little courage I had left, I finally stood up.

As I made my way over to her, my head was spinning, but it was time to take the plunge.

“Excuse me, miss,” I said, feeling like an idiot. “My name is Tony and I write for The Butler Collegian. I’m writing an article about transitioning students and I was wondering if you were a junior or a senior?”

I was hoping to get her perspective on students who are about to graduate from Butler. She very politely said no and went back to reading her book.

I, on the other hand, still felt like vomiting. Worse than that, I was going to have to repeat the whole process again.

This experience has got me thinking about the concept of “just going for it.”

It’s the start of a new semester, and for some of us it will be our last. Then it’s off to post grad life, whatever that may be.

But it’s during this time that we need to focus on what we truly want, and if required, take that dreaded leap of faith.

Fear is a very powerful emotion. It can keep us from taking the chances necessary to move forward.

When I was an undergrad, I had visions of greatness. I was going to move to Los Angeles and begin a prominent career in filmmaking.

Then graduation came and fear overtook me.

I had no experience and very little money. So I stayed in Indiana and took the first job offered to me.

I didn’t actually want the job; I just wanted the security of a paycheck.

In fact, I hated that job.

I was miserable and, not to sound arrogant, felt that I didn’t go to college to do sales.

Yet, I wouldn’t leave.

Next thing I knew, I had been there for two-and-a-half years.

Finally, with no back-up plan or job lined up, I felt compelled to leave, so I took the leap.

Recently, I read a Forbes article that caught my attention. All we need to do, it argued, is make our own luck.

The article mentioned a woman who wanted to live in Los Angeles upon graduation. She couldn’t find a job in her field, so she just took a clerical position. After establishing herself, she went on to be a top player in her field. She could have easily chosen an easier or safer route, but she took a risk and it paid off.

Sometimes taking that leap means starting over.

A job may take you to a city you have no interest in. You may take a job and find out you hate it.

Don’t worry. You are not stuck.

These things happen to some college graduates.

Mark Gilman of The Huffington Post wrote that a graduate who finds his or her calling right out the door is few and far between.

It is during these struggles that we will discover what we are truly meant to do.

Miles Timothy, 24, spoke to The Guardian about overcoming his fear to start his new venture. He knew the state of the economy and the attitude that, if you have a job, you should stick it out. But that didn’t stop him.

“I don’t subscribe to that view,” he said. “I think it limits you, and you’ve got to keep track of where you want to get to.”

I took the leap, and it’s paying off.

For the first time in a long time I feel like I’m headed in the right direction. I have some very promising opportunities lined up.

However, I would never have been able to reach this point had I let my fears win.

So when you begin your journey in the real world, fight your fears.

If you want to move to New York City, do it, even if you need to work three part-time jobs to make it happen.

Never give up on what you want, and if you ever reach a point where you have to take the leap–just go for it.