Taking off the training wheels

By Kendall Tich

“Training wheels?” my dad asked. “Not this time!” I replied, feeling confident I was ready to ride my bike the grown up way. I vividly remember hopping on my little red bike, buckling my pink helmet on and screaming, “ok, let go!” as my dad pushed me across the grass on two wheels. It was a feeling of complete limitlessness.

Although I didn’t realize it at the time, since in my youth I often only took experiences for their face values, I have come to learn that some of the best lessons come in the form of saying to yourself, “ok, let go.” Letting yourself go is the only way to figure out where your two feet might take you; or in my case, my two wheels.

As I grew out of the bike riding years, I found myself in a world of the unknown, in which I was constantly attempting to control and plan the future for fear of letting life take me in some unexpected direction.
With the overwhelming amount of responsibility that begins to build up around us, especially as college students, it is often impossible not to consider every aspect of our lives in terms of our futures. There are many times when I want to be in complete control of everything I do in terms of school, friendships and relationships.

I have arrived at the conclusion that sometimes you can’t control everything.

While there are things we can control as college students, such as how hard we study, how much reading we do or how long we spend writing an essay, there are many occurrences that are beyond our control.
Have you ever studied for hours, or even days for a test just to get it back with a big 63 percent scribbled in red across the front page? While I can fortunately say this does not happen to me all the time, it has certainly happened before, leaving me feeling as though my hard work did not pay off.

It takes me a lot of complaining before I realize that each time I receive a bad grade, as long as I had studied as hard as I could, that little red number is beyond my control; the only thing I am able to control in this case is the amount of preparation I put into the test.

Sometimes, it’s important to take a step back from the school stress and acknowledge that not all grades we get back will be 100 percent scores. This does not make or break us as students but rather it reinforces the fact that some circumstances are simply out of our control.

Aside from academics, another area I’ve noticed that I, as well as my peers, try to have complete control over is relationships. We look for the kinds of connections we see in movies and read about in books, and by doing so, we are hardwiring our brains to believe that we can change our own relationships to those that we view as ideal and right in our society.

In a romantic relationship, we expect to meet “the one,” fall helplessly in love and marry them, with a couple sunset beach walks and romantic dinner and movie dates in between. If our romantic relationships in college don’t go according to this plan, we often see ourselves as inadequate or not good enough, assuming that our own personalities are causing our relationships to deviate from the plan.

It is important to recognize though, that relationships failing or moving in a different direction than what we had originally planned or expected does not mean we are not good enough to be in the relationship.

Instead, it simply means that we cannot control every interaction we have with others or the relationships we form along the way. Sometimes, taking a step back from a relationship and letting yourself just go with the flow of it all can end up leading to even greater happiness.

There will always be times when we feel swamped with tests, papers and drama with friends or significant others. Even in the midst of all the stressors that come with being college students, it is important to occasionally realize that we aren’t always in control of everything.

Sometimes, life has a funny way of switching things up on us, putting us through hardships or leading us into complete happiness. Whatever the case, take the training wheels off your bike and let life take you cruising down the grass to a world full of opportunities and chances.