Free of Fear

By Carlyn Worthy ’12

Wednesday, May 9, 2012. It’s the night before Maroon and Gold, the annual gala hosted by the university to celebrate the graduating senior class. My dress is hanging in the closet next to my cap and gown. I’ve finished my final exams and returned my books. My thoughts have shifted from research methods to my upcoming service trip in Jamaica. Everything is falling in to place. I’ve envisioned this week for years.

When I first arrived to Loyola in 2008, I was 17 years old. I was bright-eyed, bushy tailed, and ready to take over the world. My heart was free from fear. I felt liberated from the constraints of high school and was prepared to become a whole new person. I had visions of joining SGA, becoming editor-in-chief of the school newspaper, joining a sorority, and involving myself in anything else that crossed my path. I was on the fast track to chasing dreams before the sound of a gun’s fire.

At 17, I knew I would be a newer, improved version of myself by the time I reached 21. At 17, I would have told you by the time I turned 21 I would be moments away from beginning a lucrative career in broadcast journalism. At 21, I would be preparing to relocate to New York City so I could take the industry by storm. Now that I am 21, I realize that I couldn’t have been any more wrong.

My experience at Loyola was nothing like the whimsical collegiate life I saw in my mind’s eye. I can honestly say nothing has gone according to plan since orientation. Instead of becoming everything I envisioned, I learned instead everything I was not. Trial and error have served as the pillars of my life during my years at Loyola. I considered multiple majors, had stints in different organizations, made friends, lost friends, and faced some painful truths that resulted in unprecedented growth and happiness. It was a road that wasn’t easily navigated, but nonetheless a road that was designed just for me and one that I needed to travel.

Loyola taught me how to use my faith and discernment to resolve difficult circumstances. Loyola taught me the profound importance of being a woman with and for others. Loyola taught me how to view the world with a critical, yet compassionate lens and how to use my gifts to make positive changes for those around me as well as those that I have yet to meet. Most importantly, Loyola taught me that education does not simply begin and end with a book. I enjoy books very much, but learning outside of the classroom is equally imperative to our growth and understanding of the world we inhabit.

I never did become editor-in-chief at the school newspaper. I never ran for a position in SGA, and I never joined a sorority. At the time that I made these goals my primary concern was to ensure that I left my mark at Loyola. I honestly believe it would be foolish to consider these missed opportunities because everything that happened instead made me into the person that I am today. One of the most important things I learned during my time at Loyola was not to become too attached to my plans. Sometimes, when you ask God for something, His reply will be, “That’s a good idea, but I have something better for you.” This reply is manifested through life events. What we deem a loss may be one of the best things that will ever happen to you. As the expression goes: man plans, God laughs. I’ve learned that it’s okay if you laugh, too.

At 21, I now hope to serve my community with my degree by providing communications strategies for non-profit organizations. This is my vision and my vision only. Unlike my 17 year old self, I refuse to shackle myself to my visions. Am I determined? Yes. Am I incorrigible? Absolutely not. For the first time in my life I can say the uncertainty harboring in my life brings me nothing but peace. A healthy balance of faith, perseverance, and an open mind are optimal in the pursuit of happiness and success.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I have to do work that doesn’t just affect me. My work must be for the betterment of myself and others. As long as this is a constant in my life, I’ll be content with where my path takes me.

Loyola has changed me profoundly over the past four years. However, I can say without a shadow of a doubt that one thing remains unchanged: my heart is irrevocably free of fear.

Carlyn Worthy ’12 (communication) worked as the publications intern for the Office of Marketing and Communications during the spring 2012 semester.

View the complete summer 2012 issue of LOYNO.

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