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Flying solo and pigeons

While Year 11 students were at exams this week, Imogen and Lexie in Year 10 showed they were ‘Fear-less’ by taking to the stage at Assembly. 

Here's what Imogen had to say:

“So, what does ‘Fear less’ mean to me? Let's step back in time real quick. Recently, I attended an outdoor program, which included a 24-hour solo out in the bush, completely alone for an entire day. Only yourself to talk to, no watches, limited food, and a piece of tarp and a few pegs for a tent. Ladies, brace yourselves…no phone! No wifi! No last-minute wiki on how to survive the night on my own.

I painstakingly began constructed my tent. I laboured furiously as the sun set, tent pegs were fastened, sticks connected to rope and my orange piece of tarp was lifted centimetre by centimetre off the ground. This was what would keep me alive on this night. I paused. I wiped my brow and took three steps back to admire my creation. At that moment I knew, with 100% certainty, I would never be a civil engineer.

What would I tell my father, an infantry soldier who tells me he's had more nights under plastic than I have had hot dinners?

Fear started to creep in, just as the thunder clouds rolled in too. This was going to be a long, and scary night.

When the rain and thunder started, I thought it might only last a few minutes, but as puddles of water ate up more and more space in my tarp, I retreated to the driest corner of my pathetic little tent. I sat huddled in my soaking sleeping bag under my failing tent, watching lightning strike every few minutes in a state of complete and utter fear.

A million thoughts raced through my head: What if I get hypothermia? What if I get attacked by a drop bear?

I'm sure we've all had these doubts at some point, the millions of 'what ifs'. In that moment, when fear becomes the bully, is when we access our toolbox.

So that night, while sitting soaking in Namadgi National Park, I accessed my tool box. I knew I had the tools to get through the night: positive thinking, developing a plan and controlling the ‘controllables’. I just had to use them. Through this, I was able to fear-less.

Everyone faces fear, little fears and big fears. I think for many situations we all hold the tools in our toolboxes to fear-less. Even if we need a little help from others along the way, we all can survive a rainy night. Thank you.

Imogen Wells2

Imogen (Year 10)

And this is what Lexie had to say:

“My name is Lexie, and I’m being ‘Fear-less’ by just getting up on this stage. To be perfectly honest, when writing this speech I had trouble coming up with anecdotes of when I’ve been ‘Fear-less’. Because, in reality, I’m a very fearful person, and I’m sure the same is true for a lot of you.

So, I thought about where being ‘Fear-less’ comes from. Is it nature or nurture that brings about fearlessness? Are we born with it, or is it something that we learn throughout our lives? For example, as the first child in my family, my parents were full of fear. Checking that I was breathing when I slept, being extra careful when carrying me, worrying about everything that could possibly happen to me. With my younger sister, however...well, let’s just say it’s not my fault she fell off the changing table. Because of the different approaches to the beginnings of our lives, I believe that my sister is more fearless than myself. So, is being fearless something we learn then?

There are some things that we are afraid of for seemingly no reason. In my case, I am absolutely terrified of pigeons. And when I say terrified, I mean terrified. I’ve never been attacked by one, I’ve never been on the receiving end of its excretory activities, I’m just scared of them, and I don’t know why. So, because of this, lunch at school is traumatic. On the other hand, there are also things that we have no fear of. I’m not scared of spiders, snakes, planes, needles, or taking big leaps. I have dreams of moving countries and travelling the world without a second thought or a single hesitation. (But yes, I’m still afraid of pigeons). 

So is fearlessness something we are born with, if we can be afraid of little things but not of seemingly huge things?

It’s up to you to decide whether you are fearless by nature or have learned the quality. But the important thing is that no matter where it comes from, we are all fearless. Sometimes, there are things in our lives that we can’t control, challenges that we have no choice but to face. And choosing to face these obstacles head on, instead of denying ourselves the opportunity to grow and move on with our lives, is what truly makes us fearless.

Lexie Farr2

Lexie (Year 10)