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Blog: Volcanos, tsunamis and bears

This week, it was Sophie’s turn to give her spin on the Prefect initiative ‘Fear-less’ and she told a tale about conquering her fears in Japan.

“So, I wanted to start off by sharing a story from about 3 or 4 years ago. My family and I were living in Singapore and we went to Japan to do this really amazing, beautiful hike for about 5 days through the mountains, staying in little villages along the way. I’m going to be honest, I was a little nervous in general about going to Japan as I have a fear of natural disasters.

So, I knew from the news - and I’m going to admit I searched it up on Google - that Japan is prone to earthquakes and tsunamis. I also found out that Mount Fuji, which was near where we were going, is an active volcano so that made me freak out a little.

BUT, little did I know that Japan is home to bears and we were hiking through a bear-prone area. These Japanese bears, according to Google, have sharp claws and teeth, and can run at up to 40 kilometers per hour. You could say that I was just a tad nervous! So, my mum brought this really small bell, which was supposedly meant to scare them aware. Yeah, not too sure about that one but the sentiment was good. Also, along the way, there were these massive bells which I use to ring a couple more times that necessary, just to make sure that the bears got the message and didn’t come anywhere near me. My brother would come up behind me and scare me and a couple times he said, “Look there’s a bear Soph!” So, it’s safe to say, that throughout the walk, my eyes were scanning around just looking for a bear.

Well, here I am today and no, I didn’t see a bear! And no, Mount Fuji didn’t erupt! And there was no earthquake or tsunami! The thing about fears is that they’re often irrational and they are very personal. What might scare me might not necessarily scare you, but it feels real to me.

What my story demonstrates is that sometimes you can’t control what happens, but you can control how you manage it.

Now, I’m starting Year 12 and I must admit, I am quite scared. I can’t control what is going to be on the Advanced Maths test on Thursday, but I can try to manage how I feel about it.

For me, when I am scared or nervous I:

• Admit that I’m scared and talk to people I trust
• Listen to my ‘Just Smile’ playlist
• Go for a walk, most of the time listening to that playlist
• Use the ‘7 Rule’, which is when I say to myself, ‘What’s it going to be like in 7 minutes, 7 hours, 7 days, 7 weeks, 7 months and 7 years?’ 

The bottom line is that it’s okay to have fears, we all have them, and we are all scared of different things. My mum is scared of driving through tunnels, my cousin is scared of the dark and a lot of people fear rejection or judgement. Try to find your own way to manage whatever it is you fear, even if it’s just in the smallest of ways to make you fear them a little less. Don’t be afraid to share and admit your fears to other people, because like me, they will have irrational fears too. We all do. It’s human nature.

Thank you!


Sophie (Year 12)
Prefect 2019/2020