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To Overcome is to Grow

Stress and anxiety were not uncommon themes throughout my life. Even as a young child, my hands would shake and my thoughts would race every time I was pressured to succeed. When handing in my assignments I would immediately think to myself: "Why am I done so early? Did I rush through this? Maybe I didn't understand the work. Was that the best that I could do?" I never performed poorly, but my uneasiness about the work I had done almost always impeded my ability to feel pride in it.

I went through my elementary school and middle school years this way. Eventually, I began thinking that it would be easier to do only the bare minimum so that I did not have to deal with the stress. I would simply do my homework in class and do my tests quickly. However, I knew I could do better; I have incredible potential. It was time for a change.

In order to conquer my fear, I enrolled in a program at the same place I had taken bass lessons, Front Porch Music. Garage Band 101 is a program that allows kids of all ages to join together in a band to practice and perform covers of popular songs. Once a year, the bands would play at the Valparaiso Popcorn Fest. Of course, that is the session I decided to sign up for. We practiced once a week for nine weeks until, finally, the day had come to show people what we had learned.

The feeling of anxiety courses through my veins. The pressure is bearing down on me like a two ton boulder. My hands are trembling; sweat is gathering upon my forehead. I look towards the crowd and see friends, family, and strangers; all just a sea of faces waiting in anticipation for the first note. I sling my bass around my neck and take the first step on to the stage. The crowd begins to cheer and my emotions begin to run wild.


A new emotion was taking over. Excitement took the place of anxiety and nervousness and the first note rang out. The voice of my bass teacher was reverberating in my thoughts: "It's your time to shine, Matt. Make it yours." I was completely ready prove to people what I could do. More importantly, I was ready to prove to myself that I could do anything I set my mind to.





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