For as long as I can remember, I’ve always approached every aspect of my life with caution.
Whether it was just looking both ways before crossing the street or buckling my seat belt every time I got into a car, I listened to every safety lesson taught by my parents and teachers, absorbed every word and applied them to my every day life to ensure my protection from the avoidable tragedies that seemed as though they happened each day.
However, there must have been a point in my life, though I can’t specifically recall it, that my normal everyday caution escalated into something different, and that has led me to this realization: I live in fear.
It’s as simple as that. I go through each day of my life terrified that it will be my last, and it’s a huge hindrance that I wish I could be rid of.
When a stranger walks into the same store as me with their hands in the pocket of their hoodie, I wince, terrified that they’re going to pull out a gun at any moment.
When waiting for a train or subway, I stand as far back as possible, sometimes even waiting at the bottom of the staircase to the platform until it gets there, so there’s no chance that someone can push me onto the tracks.
When choosing a seat in class, I make sure I sit somewhere in the middle so that if a gunman were to walk in through the door, I’m not in their direct eye-sight, and if they were to shoot through the window, I’m not located near there as well.
I’m a self-diagnosed hypochondriac. Every stomachache is appendicitis, every headache is a brain tumor and every new freckle needs to be checked out immediately.
Big crowds make me nervous, any sort of loud commotion makes me jump and don’t get me started on airplanes.
My friends and family who are aware of this believe my way of thinking is irrational, and they are absolutely correct, but that’s just how my brain chooses to operate.
However, when you really think about it, I’m not that crazy at all.
For as long as I can remember, every time I have turned on the news, there has always been another shooting, murder, rape or freak accident happening to an unsuspecting individual. When I was younger, I would leave the room when my parents turned on the news, as if to shield my innocent eyes from the injustices happening in the world everyday.
With the influx of mass shootings in the United States today, my fears only seem to escalate and my tendencies seem increasingly justified.
I never want to be a victim, so I take every precaution to ensure that won’t happen.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s exhausting to constantly be thinking like this. To always be aware of my surroundings and think of every possible way something can go wrong in a given situation is exhausting.
Since coming to college almost two years ago, however, I believe I’ve gotten slightly better with dealing with these thoughts.
Upon entering college, I’ve come to realize that the news, ironically enough, is now the very profession I want to pursue going forward in my life.
Through being so attentive to the news during my time at Lehigh, both in the newsroom and as a journalism student, I’ve found that I was able to build somewhat of a thicker skin in regard to certain stories. In doing so, a new sense of self assurance has formed as well.
I realize now that there is so much in life that you can’t control, no matter how many precautions you may take. Although I still believe it’s extremely important to always be cautious, especially as a college student, I also understand that you can’t let caution take over your whole life, as it inhibits you from enjoying it to the fullest.
Rachel Krevans, ’21, is the deputy lifestyle editor for The Brown and White. She can be reached at [email protected]