One thing I’ve learnt over the past year is to take opportunities as they come. No matter big or small, accept to do things when you’re offered. Obviously, this doesn’t include everything, but when an opportunity pops up and you’re feeling shy and unsure of yourself, this is probably the best time to raise your hand and volunteer, or sign up for this crazy thing. I’m of the opinion that doing that is so much better than not doing and never failing, yet living in regret over it.
Last year, I signed up for Track & Field and remained on the team and went on the trip to compete in another country even though I was the person least in shape on the whole team and I was a horrible runner. A few weeks before the meet, the coach told me a position just opened and I could run the 100 metres if I wanted to. I did want to, even though I sucked. My main event was the shot-put throw, and I was confident enough in myself to do that. I ended up scoring 6th out of 9 on girls’ shot-put, with 6.22 metres as my longest throw. The run, however, was terrible.
I ran in last at 22 seconds when the three other girls running with me finished at less than 16 seconds. For anyone who’s ever tried competitive running, especially sprinting, you’d know how bad those six seconds felt. They were like an eternity. It’s the worst thing to see everyone pass you by the second the race starts, and to continue watching them finish the race way off in front of you. You can’t see the crowd around you; you don’t want to see the crowd around you because you’re terrified of comprehending their expressions. In the end, I got a heartfelt (although incredibly cheesy) cheer-up speech from one the kids’ mom who’d come with us on the trip. She told me that it doesn’t matter what I’d scored and what the others scored, what matters is that I did it.
And she was right. Although I still thought it was a typical kind of speech, I’m pretty proud of my achievement. I joined a sport, stuck with the three-month training programme staying after school for two hours thrice a week, and I competed in something I was terrible at.
Recently I took the AP Language and Composition exam which I’m surely not gaining anything higher than a 3/5 on. I doubted myself, and I was nervous, and I probably should’ve practiced way more than I did, but I sat down and wrote three different essays in two hours, plus a multiple choice in another hour. I get my scores in July and I can’t wait.
When I look back on the things I did and didn’t do, I regret all the things I didn’t have the guts to do. I know it’s cliche, but it’s true. “It’s better to have tried and failed than to live life wondering what would’ve happened if I had tried.” Even though I didn’t succeed in the things I’d done and I probably ended up embarrassing myself in the process, I’m proud of my achievements (or rather, non-achievements) and I can rest easy knowing I regret none of it.