Aggies Commit: Taking Risks & Embracing Change

Posted on Monday, Apr 04, 2016

As a student at Texas A&M University, I am committing to a lifetime of learning through taking risks and embracing new opportunities. Growing up, I frequently allowed my perfectionist tendencies to dictate every aspect of my life and refused to place myself in any position where rejection or failure were possible outcomes.  Unfortunately, this fear of failure carried over into my first few years at A&M, when despite my interest in giving back to the Aggie community and finding my niche on campus, I decided to hide within my comfort zone and avoid risk-taking and change when I was presented with wonderful opportunities. Looking back, I deeply regret my timidity and wish I hadn't given into my fears, because I can see now that I used to be my own worst enemy. . . although I pretended to benevolently shield myself from disappointment, I was actually guaranteeing my own failure and sabotaging any hope of success. 

            In light of this realization, I have pushed myself to take risks and grow in confidence during my remaining time at Texas A&M, applying to numerous organizations, internships, and extremely competitive scholarship programs.  This spring, I was even honored with the opportunity to fulfill a longtime dream of mine and intern with an E.U. Organization in Brussels, Belgium through A&M's Public Policy Internship Program (PPIP). Living alone for three months and working full-time in a foreign country would have been something I considered far too intimidating and risky just a few months ago, yet through conscious efforts to suppress my fears and embrace change, I have surprised myself by truly thriving during the time I've been abroad.

            Sometimes I have been successful when stepping outside of my comfort zone and others did not go as well, but I still consider each of these experiences to be valuable, since they have taught me that traditional definitions of success and failure don't always take into account opportunities for personal growth. In my opinion, a person's response to rejection is a more accurate indicator of whether they have succeeded or failed in taking a risk;  if you refuse to allow a “no” to destroy your confidence and sense of worth as an individual, you have achieved a priceless personal victory.
 

Margaret McIntyre '17
B.A. Political Science
Le Centre International de Formation Europeenne (CIFE), Brussels,Belgium