As the leaves turn bright orange and Halloween time ghouls approach, it is important that we address a rather terrifying subject.

Fear. Halloween or not, it is something that haunts us all in our day to day lives.

It inhibits us from accomplishing many things. It is wanting to join a club, but fearing the disapproval of your friends. It is expressing the minority argument in class, or engaging with the person who sits alone at the library table.

Ultimately, fear is something that stops us from being exactly who we are meant to be. Often times, we are afraid to let what lies inside of us shine through.

This season, I encourage you to cast off those fears. Expose the world to who you truly are. Learn that regardless of what you do, others will always find a way to disapprove. For this reason, there is simply no use in attempting to please them.

No matter your fear, go seize it. Grasp it in your hands and then send it on its way. You only get one life on this planet, leave your fears behind and enjoy the time that you have here to the absolute fullest.

~Maddie Howard

Someone once told me that we are not afraid of heights, we are afraid of falling. This year, I have come to realize how true this insight is.

For me, fear holds court with uncertainty, with the sensation of not knowing what is coming next. Right now, the future lies in a state of limbo. Acceptance letters are far off, it is (theoretically) too soon to develop senioritis, and the realization that I am off on my own next year is hitting me like a ton of bricks.

I have always been a bit of a planner. I like to know what is coming next, and the fact that my future is a gigantic question mark is unsettling– paralyzing even, if we’re being honest. So how do I cope when there is absolutely nothing I can do?

The only thing I can do is keep going, to shake off the terror and move along. And it works, or at least it has so far. There is no point in fearing what I can’t control. I’ll never be fearless, but at least I can be brave.

~Erin Delany

74% of the U.S population fears public speaking, 68% fears death, and 10% fears heights. These statistics prove that everyone fears at least one thing. But the most common association of fear is how limiting it appears to be.

I fear an assortment of random things like clowns, needles, sharks and failure. Fear itself is a universally known concept clouded by dread and constant worry. But fears do not exist to frighten us but rather to conquer. To challenge and to embrace. They are obstacles, yes, but all obstacles can be surpassed.

Fear only provides limitations if you allow it to. Giving into fear gives those very fears power over you and awakens vulnerability. Whatever your personal fears may be, it can take only a couple of seconds of courage to overcome them.

Whether those seconds are few and far between, they can lead to immense bravery; delivering that speech with confidence, realizing that death is just a concern that distracts you from actually living, and  taking that higher step that is past your comfort zone.

I will make it my goal to not let clowns terrify me at haunted houses this year, to not pull away when getting shots, to understand that Jaws is just a movie and I won’t be attacked by a shark anytime soon, and to not fret about failure at this age when I have no reason to.

That being said I encourage everyone else to eliminate a fear or at least attempt to, because there is no reward to living in or with fear.

~Kelsey Lentz