When Life Scares You

Jill Ferris

“Jill, I need to tell you something,” my mom said on Tuesday when I picked up my phone. With my busy schedule, our phone calls often take place in the irregular blocks of time strewn about my day.

“You remember Mindy Eubanks, right?””Yeah.””Well, she died last week.”Bam.

It turns out that Mindy’s story, which has unfolded in the national media, began with the apparent kidnapping of her two-year-old son Trenton on August 27 from his bed in Leesburg, Florida. Almost two weeks later, as the investigation continued, Mindy took her own life for reasons still unknown to her family, friends and the authorities. An Amber Alert has been released for Trenton and John Walsh and America’s Most Wanted picked up the story. The FBI and Florida police continue to look for Trenton Duckett.

Mindy had sat next to me in ninth grade English class. Hearing the news of her death was hard; it was even harder because to my friends here, Mindy’s story is a simply a sensational news saga. She is not a part of our world in Hamilton, and while my “Colgate bubble” had been burst by tragic news from the outside, life went on for everyone else.

A wise person once told me, “Do something each day that scares you.” Some days are harder than others to push out of that comfort zone. It can be really easy at Colgate to get caught up in a routine: from a daily routine to frequenting the same places to spending time with the same faces. We become comfortable in our world where the biggest issues are waiting in lines for the mailroom or Jug, getting through seemingly impossible mountains of homework and the unpredictability of Central New York weather.

Still, I think it is important to mix things up. There is evidence to show that people learn better in situations that are healthily stressful, but even more than this, such situations help you rehearse your response under pressure. Trying something scary – whether eating alone in Frank or speaking up in class – helps to shake up the bubble we live in. Burst your own bubble before it is burst on you.