Bravery is in the eye of the beholder. No two people are alike, therefore no two definitions of bravery are alike. The commonly accepted definition includes “having courage”. For some it is having the courage to be a knight in shining armor and slaying the evil dragon; for others, it is the courage to go out into the world and face their fear of talking to strangers or even the mysterious action of growing up.

As I am beginning my journey out into the great unknown of the real world, I'm realizing how much harder it is to be brave in actuality than in theory. Bold dreams in the safety of college transform when they are submerged into the shark tank of reality. As a fresh faced college grad who truly believes my liberal arts education has provided me with the skills I need in order to achieve my successful future that is expected of me, I have been working my fingers to the bone typing cover letters and resumes, applying vigorously to any job that even has an inkling of the clout that I am convinced I deserve in a career. A few months ago, the world, and my dream jobs, were attainable in my mind. I had worked hard through college, and took every opportunity to learn new skills that would set me apart. Multiple areas of study, multiple jobs, hands on experience of being a board member and intern, studying abroad, and producing my own video travel blog. In my free time during my senior year, I alternated between napping and researching jobs that I would die to have. My inbox quickly filled with automated replies: “Dear Ms. Schnurr, We are sorry to inform you…”

“It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” - J.R.R. Tolkien

I kept searching and applying, kept having my dreams crushed and being rejected. During that time, I graduated with good grades, the best experiences and friends I could have dreamt for, and the eagerness to prove myself. These past few months I have been focused on bravery: the bravery to apply for the job; the bravery to go in person to apply; the bravery to answer the phone and talk to a stranger; the bravery to believe I can do the job and not let the company down; the bravery to try.

The reality of the present is you must be brave to lead a truly fulfilling life. Living life to the fullest means taking risks, not relying on what is easy to keep you happy. In an ever changing world, being complacent means settling, which will send you into a spiral of similar actions where nothing new will ever be created. When I look back at my life I want to remember the times I thrived through adversity, not the times I just made it through by being safe.

J.R.R. Tolkien said it best: “It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” But now, I’m ready to take that step out into the great big world, and to be swept off. As long as it is keeps me moving forward.

My newest challenge is to be brave in a whole new way; by believing in myself and my abilities, and not taking the easy road. I want a life worth being remembered, and I am willing to strive to make every day better than the day before.

So see the world, take the thrilling new job, or reach out to someone new; what’s important will always be there for you and the rest will fall into place. Don’t be afraid to take your next step. Be brave and believe in yourself. Be brave and live.


Janet Schnurr is a graduate of Hanover College, who recently moved to Mobile, Alabama where she is looking to pursue a career in broadcasting, marketing or event planning. She keeps a blog, The Thrifty Drifter, along with her video series that can be found on her YouTube channel. She dreams of one day of writing, producing and hosting her own television series.


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