Lions and Tigers and Airplanes, Oh My!

by Nelly Mendoza-Mendoza | 11/2/16 1:11am

Charlie Levy ’19 fears living with a purpose or wasting his time, not death. Haley Taylor ’19 echoed Levy, noting that the body is just a vessel for our soul. When Levy asked Taylor if she would go mountain biking with him or jump out of a plane, however, she said, “I am not afraid to die, but I am not ready to die.”

At Dartmouth, students frequently grapple with fears, sometimes without even realizing it.

Joaquin Peirano’17, Jaime Dominguez’17 and Mariano Russohad a hard time identifying their fears. They pointed out that fear is not a topic they frequently think about.

Peirano, who has been hit by a car and enjoys dangerous sports, may appear fearless, yet he recognized that everyone is afraid of something.

On the other hand, Wyatt Smith ’19 noted that he developed a fear of flying after a turbulent 16-hour flight three years ago.

“It wasn’t an immediate thing,” Smith said. “I grew up overseas, so flying wasn’t a big deal, but I got on one flight, and I was just scared. It might have just been a bad experience. Two years ago, I wouldn’t go on vacation because I didn’t want to fly.”

Smith’s friends back home were surprised by his fear in light of his adventurous personality; he was never afraid of heights and even worked as a firefighter for a summer.

Since the incident, Smith has negotiated his fear of flying so that mainly overseas flights are the only ones that pose problems for him.

Smith said that his fear partly comes from the lack of control he feels when flying, but that walking around, meeting stewards on the flight and seeing how calm they are helps him cope.

Grace Replogle ’19 said that she became afraid of water after an experience in which she was chased while running through the ocean.

“It was low-key traumatizing,” Replogle said. “I haven’t enjoyed the water since.”

Replogle added that she does not fear all water, only large bodies of water, which has delayed her from completing the swim test graduation requirement.

Brenna Gourgeot ’18 expressed an emotional fear of betrayal, which arose from a negative experience with a past relationship.

“If it comes to this idea that he never loved me that’s something that I cannot cope with,” Gourgeot said. “That fear stops me from trying to forgive him or be his friend.”

Though she fears she will find that she was never loved, it isn’t the betrayal that bothers her the most.

“That’s one thing in my life that I am very scared of. It’s finding out that he doesn’t love me and that he is not in love with me the same way that I am with him and that he wasn’t just an idiot, he just didn’t love me,” Gourget said.

Emotional fears such as Gourgeot’s can stop us from taking risks and letting others into our lives because we lack control over others’ emotions and thoughts.

For example, an emotional fear of rejection can stop us from sending a “flitz.” Emotional fears can express themselves in many little ways in our life even if we don’t actively think about the object of our fear.

Ultimately, lack of control drives many of our fears. Dominguez, while brainstorming his fears, noted that many people fear being alone at old age having never found valuable relationships.