Waiting is the Worst

Megan Grantham, Campus Editor

Over winter break, I was catching up on some fun reading, which included the fourth installment of the Harry Potter series: “The Goblet of Fire.” In this book, Harry participates in competitions related to the Goblet of Fire, which are difficult and require intense preparation on Harry’s part. 

 After competing in one particularly grueling competition, in which Harry successfully fought dragons, Harry “thought back to how he’d felt while dodging the Horntail, and compared it to the long wait before he’d walked out to face it … there was no comparison; the wait had been immeasurably worse.” 

I couldn’t believe how well J.K. Rowling summarized my feelings about so many big events I had been nervous about, events that turned out okay, but my nerves almost made doing the thing not worth it. 

For example, at my high school graduation, I sang a solo at the ceremony. Although I practiced with the student accompanying me on the piano countless times, the nerves in the pit of my stomach simply would not go away. The entire weekend leading up to the Sunday afternoon graduation, I was so nervous I could barely eat. I had performed in front of crowds, but singing an entire solo by myself in front of nearly 1,000 people? It seemed too daunting to accomplish, and I kept rehearsing the ways it could go wrong in my head. 

As is always the case in such situations, the day of graduation came and went. I performed the song and had fun doing it. In this instance, I felt exactly as Harry did after his task. There was no comparison between the anticipation of performing and the performance itself. The waiting was immeasurably worse. 

I could have just accepted my nerves and discomfort and backed out of singing, or simply never volunteered to sing at all. That would have been easy, and I still would have had a happy graduation day, but I would never have had that extremely satisfactory payoff of actually singing at the ceremony and feeling great about it afterward.

I think this situation can be applied to many types of scenarios, at least for myself. It’s comfortable to never volunteer to present, sing, try out for that group, audition for the musical or take that tough class. But staying in your comfort zone means you never know what you could be capable of. 

The waiting stinks, and your nerves build up and tell you to back out of whatever your about to do. But rehearsing yourself failing does nobody any favors, least of all you. 

Taking the test never seems to be as bad as those moments right before the professor hands it out. Performing in the play isn’t as hard as waiting on stage right before the curtain goes up. Answering the interview questions isn’t as bad as preparing for the many things you could be asked. 

 Don’t get me wrong, I am the master at avoiding things that make me nervous. But reading the passage from Harry Potter was a nice reminder to lean into discomfort and do things that scare me. That’s how some of the greatest things can happen.