By Michelle Lampariello
Last year, I gave up on making my dorm feel like home. Cinder block walls on the 10th floor of a crowded, sweltering tower can only feel so welcoming. This year, perhaps inspired by spending the summer interning with interior designers, I decided to make an effort to decorate my room in a way that would actually make it feel like home.
After I tasked my family with making sure my bulletin boards were evenly spaced on the wall, I spent the morning of move-in day carefully pinning up pictures of smiling faces from beach trips, concerts and memories of a time without deadlines and homework. I also decided to mix up the pictures of friends and family with some of my favorite quotes. Right above my pillow, I pinned my favorite phrase: “better an oops than a what if.”
Taking a leap of faith sounds exciting until you consider what it is that you need to leap over.
As much as taking a chance can lead to something great, there is also the potential to be burned by negative consequences. I try my best to not let the fear of being hurt by a decision I make inhibit my ability to take a risk. But I’m human — and that makes it almost impossible to not be afraid to take a chance.
I keep the quote on my bulletin board to remind myself that sometimes the worst consequence that can come from deciding to take a chance is to not take the chance itself. But as much as I try to follow the quote’s advice, I still sometimes find myself being held back by wondering what other people will think or the embarrassment of making a mistake.
But it’s these mistakes, these “oops” moments, that help us grow. I would not be who I am today without the mistakes I have made. Submitting my first article to The Signal riddled with errors taught me how to follow a certain style and be receptive to edits. Tripping in the 5-inch heels I decided to wear to my prom taught me to embrace my stature and stop trying so hard to look like everyone else.
Was I afraid to make these mistakes? Of course. I read over my first submission to The Signal more times than I re-watched “Snow White” as a child… which is an excessive, borderline obsessive, amount. I painstakingly scrutinized my prom dress and accessories so much that I became a slave to analyzing everyone else’s choices to make sure that I would blend in when we took pictures.
No matter how hard I tried to prevent myself from making these mistakes, I still made them. My article had errors. I tripped on the uneven pavement outside of my friend’s house. But, I wouldn’t change the way either of these events happened. If I had let fear get to me, and let these moments stay as a “what if,” I would not be writing this today.
“Oops” moments are just about the most unpleasant feeling on the planet. They’re full of embarrassment, regret and wanting to pretend they never happened. Although the feeling of making a mistake may be painful, it’s worth it. Fear is one of the worst reasons to miss out on doing something great. That’s why at the end of every day, I remind myself that “oops” moments may not be fun, but they are certainly better than missing out on taking a chance.