Be courageous to try new things

I’m sad to say that today will be the last time I write this column.

Since last September, I have sat down many times in front of a laptop to translate the messy array of thoughts in my brain into a 500 word column for the  Capital News.

I’m sad to say that today will be the last time I do this.

With my new schedule since graduating high school and moving on to university, there simply aren’t enough hours in a day to do all the things I want to do.

I genuinely wish I could continue with this opportunity. It has been a privilege to have others read my writing and to be trusted with expressing my crazy ideas in a relatively cohesive way.

As I finish writing this final column, I can’t help but wonder what other opportunities will come my way—not because I believe myself to be extraordinarily talented, but because of how this opportunity came about: I just asked.

On Sept. 2, 2011, the first letter to the editor I had ever written was published in the Capital News.

The positive response I received afterwards was certainly encouraging, but I did not imagine my involvement with any newspaper going much further than that.

However, my parents, who often encourage me to get involved with different things, suggested that I approach the newspaper and offer to write a column geared towards others my age.

My initial response was a serious disbelief that the answer to my proposition would be a “yes.” But my parents reminded me that receiving a “no” would be the worst that could happen, and life would go on.

As you can see now, the worst did not happen, and I have thoroughly enjoyed writing this column.

This experience has made me wonder what other opportunities we could each attain if we simply asked.

Conversely, I wonder how many opportunities have passed us by because we did not believe them to be possible, or we did not have the courage to try.

Before this becomes the typical “follow your dreams” speech, I must clarify that I don’t believe anyone can be anything they want to be.

I learned from physical education class and general clumsiness that I would not make it as a professional soccer player. I only passed science classes because I was able to memorize and reword the textbook’s explanation during tests, so being a nuclear physicist is unlikely to be in my future.

However, I do believe that many of us are more skilled and able to accomplish things in certain areas than we realize.

And even if you don’t feel confident in your own abilities, somebody else might see your potential.

You just have to ask. The answer will not always be “yes,” but the disadvantages of receiving a “no” are far outweighed by the possibilities and benefits of the alternative.

I have to keep this in mind as I pursue my 12-year-old dream of being a writer, which will certainly continue after this column.

Thank you to everyone who has enjoyed reading my columns and given me feedback, and to (Capital News managing editor) Barry Gerding for saying yes.